Community of Practice

The CoP consists of three county-level teams. Each team includes representatives from a variety of different domains: legal, educational, foster care, vocational/employment, independent living/community-based services, and mental health, as well as a social worker.

Select members of each team receive additional training in key principles of effective reentry work, including strength-based approaches and person-centered planning. These “Reentry Ambassadors” serve as critical resources on their county teams. Reentry Ambassadors include field practitioners as well as individuals with lived experience of system involvement. Together these CoP members with professional expertise, along with youth and family members who are “experts by experience” support the teams in implementing recommended best/promising practices at the local level.

Warren County Community of Practice

Contact: Amy Secor, Warren County Probation Department

Warren County’s community of practice (CoP) is composed of a broad range of individual and organizational stakeholders including youth, parents, the Warren County Sheriff’s Department, Warren County Employment and Training, Warren County Public Defender's Office, Warren County Probation Department, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Southern Adirondacks, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Mediation Matters, Warren County Department of Social Services, Office of Community Services for Warren and Washington Counties, Northern Rivers, Peter Young Housing Industries and Treatment, Inc. Baywood, WAIT House, Community Work and Independence, and Glens Falls School District.

CoP members work together to cultivate meaningful conversations with individuals with lived experience of systems involvement, and use restorative, trauma-informed practices across partnering systems, to improve outcomes for youth and young adults involved in the criminal justice system. The CoP engages in its work through four subgroups: Stakeholder Agencies, Professional Reentry Ambassadors, the Parent Ambassador Coalition, and Youth Ambassadors. Major activities to date have included, training in restorative justice and community building, purposeful reentry planning for youth, incarcerated young adults, and youth in placement, and encouragement and empowerment of parent participation in the CoP.

The Warren County CoP is passionate, respectful and determined. Equal value is given to every voice and every voice is valued.

The Power of Restorative Justice

Jason Mclaughlin describes how participation in the Y-ReCONNECTS CoP and implementation of restorative justice practices has changed him, his staff, and the young people they serve.

Restorative Justice: Resources for Putting Principles into Practice (PPT)

Warren County Resource Map

Amy Secor describes Warren County’s new resource map for youth and adults seeking housing, transportation, treatment and other services.

Washington County Community of Practice

Contact: Shaun Etu, Washington County Youth Bureau Alternative Sentencing

Washington County first got involved in the Y-ReCONNECTS initiative as a member of the community of practice in neighboring Warren County and then as a “mentee” county continuing to partner with Warren while also implementing its own systems change efforts. These efforts have been undertaken with a commitment to enabling all participants to have an active role in their own reentry planning, which aligns with system of care core values and the values of the Y-ReCONNECTS initiative.

Programming has focused on reentry services and positive youth development opportunities. The programs prioritize youth ages 7-24 with developmental disabilities and are also available to at-risk youth regardless of diagnosis. Key efforts have included working with the Washington County Correctional Facility to develop transition plans for sentenced youth and serving as a resource drop-in site for these youth when they reenter the community. Work is also underway, in collaboration with the NY State Parole Office, to establish a process to identify Washington County youth with special needs before release and refer them for transition planning. Finally, in partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters, the county is establishing a program to offer its highest risk youth support through positive mentoring relationships.

Tioga County Community of Practice

Contact: Lisa Weston-Bialy, Cornell Cooperative Extension Tioga County

Tioga County’s community of practice (CoP), known as Youth Opportunity Now Tioga (Y-ON Tioga), is composed of a variety of individual and organizational stakeholders including youth, parents, community members, the Tioga Department of Social Services, Tioga County Probation, CASA-Trinity, Rural Health Network, SUNY Broome Community College, Tompkins Cortland Community College, Drug Court, WIOA Youth Employment, Tioga County Economic Development, Catholic Charities, 4-H Youth Development, and area school districts.

Y-ON Tioga members work together to assist at-risk youth with disabilities to grow through education, employment, and community connections. Using individualized, strength-based approaches, the CoP aims to empower justice-involved youth to set and reach goals with guidance and encouragement from caring individuals, service providers, and the larger community. The CoP aims to increase collaboration and availability of resources, provide more supports for in-school youth in preparation for transitioning to life after high school, and partnering with employers and community members to create more vocational opportunities for young people. Y-ON Tioga’s work is driven by a vision to help youth with disabilities realize their full potential in becoming involved citizens.

A community of practice