Professional Fields

Juvenile Justice

Our Center for Strength-based Strategies actually started by facilitating  Strength-based approaches into the Juvenile Justice field. [A little known fact: the first name for our Center was the “Center for Strengths in Juvenile Justice.”] Our name changed due to the increasing need to bring this approach into all work with mandated clients.  

The significant work of our Center has been to transition the Strengths & Assets Approach to the remdial work that occurs with mandated, court-ordered youth. We seek a field where compliance is demanded. At the same time, we offer training and technical assistance that offer strategies and techniques for seeking behavior change and growth as well.  With youth that are court-ordered, we can’t always negotiate “if” they comply but we can always negotiate “how” or “why” they comply.

We train courts & agency staff that cooperation is not a client characteristic. Rather, it is a (shared) condition that arises from the interactions between a youth and professional helper. Staff behaviors are influential as they can raise (or lower!) client cooperation. A Strengths approach can increase motivation and cooperation as well as build youth and family engagement. Staff groups and agencies need new tools to reach this level of practice.

We believe the most overlooked resource in the juvenile justice system is the strengths and resources of our youth and families.  Due to their developmental issues and need for impact and competency, it increases the need of utilizing a Strengths and Assets practice with challenging adolescents

 The Strengths Appraoch is not "fluffy." It actually increases the responsibility and accountablity of juvenile youth and thier families by holding them accoutable for the solution. It calls staff to move mandated youth from passive recipients of programming to that of activate particpants. Our Center champions direct practice! We offer tools for beginning the necessary "first steps" and the initiation of new behavior change (rather than the traditional efforts at seeking passive admittance for the problem).

Our first articles were written for juvenile justice and we have a wide array of training and resources available to juvenile courts and the various community programs that run adjunct to courts—all who work with challenging youth.


Resources for your review

(Forthcoming) Walters, Clark, Gingerich & Meltzer, “Motivating Offenders To Change: A Guide to Incorporating Motivational Strategies into Community Corrections” Practice Monograph – National Institute of Corrections

(In Press – June 2006) Clark, Walters, Gingerich, & Meltzer, “Motivational Interviewing for Probation Officers: Tipping the Balance Toward Change” Federal Probation Journal (United States Courts). [part two]

(Winter 2006) “Entering the Business of Behavior Change: Motivational Interviewing for Probation Staff” Perspectives. Journal of the American Probation & Parole Association. Vol. 30 (1). 38-45. [part one]
Click here to download the full article

(June 2001) “Influencing Positive Behavior Change: Increasing the Therapeutic Approach of Juvenile Courts” Federal Probation Quarterly, 65(1), 18-27.
Click here to download the full article

(June 1988) "Strength-Based Practice: The ABC's of Working With Adolescents Who Don't Want To Work With You" Federal Probation Quarterly, (62)1, 46-53. 
Click here to download the full article

(March 1996) "Brief Solution-Focused Work: A Strength-Based Method for Juvenile Justice Practice." Juvenile and Family Court Journal, 47(l), 57-65.
Click here to download the full article

(1996) “Solution-Focused Interviewing:  A Strength-Based Method For Juvenile Justice” Journal for Juvenile Justice and Detention Services, 11(1), 33-40.
Click here to download the full article

(1995) “The Problem with Problem Solving: A Critical Review” Journal for Juvenile Justice and Detention Services, 10(1), 30-35.
Click here to download the full article


Where We've Been in Juvenile Justice

Selected (partial) listing of previous clients of the Center for Strength-Based Strategies. Keynote addresses highlighted in bold type.

Florida Alcohol & Drug Abuse Association / Florida Juvenile Justice Association 2006 Annual Conference, Workshop – "Strength-based Practices for Addictions" 
Tampa, Florida 

Travis County Juvenile Probation Department, 2 day training: Strength-based Practice with Juveniles and 1 day "Train-the-Trainer" Session
Austin, Texas 

Rappahannock Region Juvenile Justice Council – Drug Free Communities Support Grant, Half-day workshop: "Turning High-Risk to High-Yield with Strength-based Practice"
Fredericksburg, Virginia 

Butler County Commissioners Forum on Families and Children, Butler County Family and Children First Council, "Strengths Training for Staff Working With Challenging Youth" 
Hamilton, Ohio 

Search Institute – National Asset-Building Conference, 2 workshop presentations: "Substance Abuse and Adolescent Development" and "The Research on Motivation and Human Behavior Change"
Dallas, Texas

State of North Dakota, Office of State Court Administrator – Juvenile Court & Juvenile Drug Court Seminar "Strength-based Practice"
Fargo, ND 

Marion County Juvenile Court, 2 day "Advanced Strength-based Practice"
Salem, Oregon

Southwest Key, Inc. (youth treatment & residential programs) 2-day training in Strength-based Practice and 1 day Train-the-trainer
Conroe, Texas 

Berrien County Juvenile Detention Center (Barry County Trial Court-Family Division) 2 day training "Strength-based Practice with Juvenile Youth"
Berrien Springs, Michigan 

Robert Woods Johnson Foundation – "Reclaiming Futures" National Program site (Montgomery County, Ohio Common Pleas Court, Juvenile Division – (1) Strength-Based Training, and Strength-based Assessment and (2) Motivational Interviewing—Beginning (3) Train-the-Trainer in Strength-Based Practice
Dayton, Ohio 

Supreme Court of Ohio, Juvenile & Court Services Division, Juvenile Inter-Court Conference, two workshops, "Sanctions that Make Sense" and "Strength-based Programming." 
Columbus, Ohio 

Michigan Judicial Institute, workshop presentation: "Motivational Interviewing: A Strength-Based Model for Probation Officers"
Lansing, Michigan 

The Children's Partnership – Systems of Care Wraparound Summit for Children and Families, keynote address: "Strength-Based Strategies" 
Austin, Texas 

Search Institute – National Asset-Building Conference, 2 workshop presentations: "Substance Abuse and Adolescent Development" and "Mini-Plenary – Juvenile Justice" 
Minneapolis, Minnesota 

Fort Wayne Annual Conference on Youth, keynote address: "Strength-Based Practice: Turning High-Risk to High-Yield"
Fort Wayne, Indiana 

US Department of Health, Office of Minority Health and Central State University of Ohio – Family and Community Violence Prevention Program, 2 day workshop: the Strength-based Approach
Wilberforce, Ohio 

Lane County Juvenile Court, Juvenile Drug Court and Community Corrections, two sessions, Strengths training
Eugene, Oregon

Columbia County Commission on Children and Families, Series of three trainings: Strength-based Strategies and Motivational Interviewing 
St. Helens, Oregon 

Clackamas County Juvenile Court, 2 day training: Strength-based Case Management
Oregon City, Oregon 

Robert Woods Johnson Foundation – "Reclaiming Futures" National Program site (Multnomah County, Oregon - Department of Juvenile Justice) – Series of three - 2 day Strengths training , Strength-based Assessment & Motivational Interviewing 
Portland, Oregon 

Superior Court of the State of Arizona, Yuma County Juvenile Justice Center, 2 day training: Strength-based Strategies 
Yuma, Arizona 

Travis County Juvenile Probation Department, 2 day training: Motivational Interviewing 
Austin, Texas 

Associated Marine Institutes – 2003 AMI Leadership Symposium, Workshop: Motivational Interviewing with Adolescents
Clearwater, Florida 

Passaic County Juvenile Court, 2 day training: Motivational Interviewing
Paterson, New Jersey 

Youth Services of Freemont County, 2 day training: Strengths Training for Youth and Family Staff 
Lander, Wyoming 

Buchanan County Juvenile Office – 5th Judicial Circuit Court – 3 day training: Strength-Based Practice with Offenders 
St. Joseph, Missouri 

County of Los Angeles County – Probation Department – Juvenile Residential Treatment Services Bureau – 2 days Strengths training
Oxnard, California 
Downey, California 
Lynwood, California 
Lynwood, California 

Bonneville County, Idaho - Bonneville County Juvenile Probation, two day workshop: "Strength-based Practice"
Idaho Falls, Idaho 

State of Wyoming, Governor's Substance Abuse and Violent Crimes Advisory Board and the Wyoming State Advisory Council on Juvenile Justice, Plenary address: "Strength-Based Practices for Substance Abuse Populations" 
Laramie, Wyoming

Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections, Community Services Division, two day workshop: "Strength-based Practice"
Twin Falls, Idaho 

Ada County, Idaho - Ada County Juvenile Court Services, two day workshop: "Strength-based Practice" Boise, Idaho 

Washington County Community Partnership – 4th Annual Summit, Keynote Address: High Risk to High-Yield-Raising Motivation with Strength-based Strategies
Hagerstown, Maryland 

Washington State Misdemeanant Corrections Association Annual Conference, "Strength-Based Practice to Raise Motivation"
Yakima, Washington 

Mid-Atlantic Addiction Technology Transfer Center – Regional Adolescent Conference(Panel Speaker) 
Richmond, Virginia 

State of Oregon - Corrections Summit on Offender Alcohol and Drug Treatment Services, "Substance Abuse Treatment in the Juvenile Justice Population"
Salem, Oregon

Florida Alcohol & Drug Abuse Association and Florida Juvenile Justice Association, Youth in Turmoil: Adolescent Treatment Conference
Tampa, Florida 

City of Newport News, Virginia - Department of Juvenile Justice, two day workshop, "Strength-based Practice for Juvenile Probation"
Newport News, Virginia 

Nebraska Juvenile Justice Association, Spring Conference 2002 – Keynote Address, "High Risk to High Yield: Raising Motivation with Strength-Based Strategies" 
Grand Island, Nebraska 

Virginia Juvenile Justice Association – Annual Conference – Keynote Address, "Strength-based Strategies"
Charlottesville, Virginia 

County of San Francisco, Community Mental Health - Child, Youth and Family Services, full day workshop, "Strength-based Practice for Adolescents in the Juvenile Court"
San Francisco, California 

Judicial Response to Alcohol and Other Drugs – Louis McHardy National College of Juvenile and Family Justice, National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. Strength-based Approaches.
Reno, Nevada 

Judicial Council of California – 2001 Juvenile Law & Procedures Institute
Costa Mesa, California 

Search Institute – National Asset-Building Conference
Minneapolis, Minnesota 

Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), Mid-Atlantic Addiction Technology Transfer Center, Maryland Alcohol and Drug Abuse Administration, Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice -Mid-Atlantic Conference on Substance Abuse Treatment and Prevention for Adolescents
Charlottesville, Virginia 

Volusia County, Florida - Department of Juvenile Justice, full day workshop: "Strength-based Practice for Juvenile Justice"
Daytona Beach, Florida