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Dr. Stephanie Covington Discusses Gender Bias in Juvenile Justice Models

Monday, July 18, 2016
DYRS Recognizes the Importance of Programming Tailored for Girls and Keeping Them Closer to Home

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – International expert in gender-responsive and trauma-informed services, Dr. Stephanie S. Covington, visited the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS) today to facilitate the start of a week-long training for staff on programming that supports the agency’s upcoming, monumental launch of “Journey.” “Journey” is a gender-responsive 10-bed unit at New Beginnings Youth Development Center (NBYDC) that will meet the treatment needs of girls committed to the agency while keeping them closer to the District.

“In the United States today, you have more guns then you have people. In our work today, we’re going to be discussing the tremendous impact this violence has on girls, and other issues specific to girls,” said Dr. Covington. “Girls overall experiences are vastly different than boys. The wisdom of the moment is that girls should be close to home, and close to their families. When someone is out of state, it makes transition and re-entry that much more difficult.”

The opening of “Journey” is momentous for the District in improving local placement options and services for young women committed to DYRS. Historically, the District of Columbia disproportionately sent girls to out-of-state residential facilities due to a lack of local placements.

“DYRS realized the importance of providing girls with programming that is tailored to their specific needs. “Journey” focuses on the psycho-social development and individualized needs of adolescent girls all within a restorative justice framework,” said DYRS Director Clinton Lacey. “We are thrilled that Dr. Covington and her team are working with our staff to ensure a successful implementation of her therapeutic model.”

The Trauma Informed Effective Reinforcement (TIER) model implemented by Dr. Covington incorporates relationship building, Trauma Systems Therapy, self-esteem and self-awareness building, balanced and restorative justice principles, focus groups, substance abuse treatment education, and participation in vocational programming. The “Voices” program within the TIER model is the therapeutic intervention that promotes girls developing their own identities and not losing their voices during the struggles of adolescence. Along with the incorporation of staff dialogue and feedback, the comprehensive result is a unique, empowering and motivational model exclusive to the needs of girls in the District of Columbia.

The opening of “Journey” reinforces DYRS’ mission to keep youth committed to the agency close to home and their families, while also allowing the agency to continue becoming national leaders in gender-specific juvenile justice programming.