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Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Host: Scott LaMar

Real Life Real Issues Juvenile Justice: Working with Families

Written by Rich Copeland - Producer, WITF's Smart Talk | May 25, 2017 4:00 AM
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On the Thursday, May 25th edition of WITF's Smart Talk: 

In the third of our four-part series, WITF's Smart Talk looks at the relationships between the professionals involved with the juvenile justice system and the families of youth offenders.  One of the biggest indicators of successful rehabilitation of adjudicated youth is the participation of the offenders' families.

A state committee issued a 2009 report that found "In several instances, family focus group participants felt as if juvenile justice staff blamed them for their child's problems."  In an effort to connect families with juvenile justice staff in cooperation, the Family Involvement Committee of the Pennsylvania Council of Chief Juvenile Probation Officers initiated a dialogue to address the issues that complicate the efforts to re-acclimate a youth offender into their community.

Wendy Luckenbill is the chair of the Family Involvement Committee.  She has helped carve policy regarding the ways in which the justice system can work successfully with families to aid adjudicated youths, much of it based on 2010's Juvenile Justice System Enhancement Strategy - a codification of those policies.

Luckenbill appears on Thursday's Smart Talk to discuss the importance of these relationships and how the players in the justice system learn to work with parents that are less than cooperative.

Mercer County's Chief Juvenile Probation Officer, Mark Benedetto will also speak from the perspective of the court officer charged with guiding the youth through the post-adjudication process; Mr. Benedetto has front-line experience and will highlight the importance of family involvement in successfully minimizing recidivism.

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