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Report of the Judiciary

 

News from the Psychological Services Division

 

 

The Psychological Services Division provides a wide array of services to the Lake County Courts, Adult Probation Services, and Juvenile Probation Services. These services include conducting psychological evaluations, providing counseling to probationers and their families, consulting with probation staff, and coordinating referrals to and monitoring service contracts with community social service providers. More about the individual functions of the Division may be found here.

 

DIVISION HIGHLIGHTS FOR 2013

 

GRANT BASED, DRUG COURT STAFF PSYCHOLOGIST

In 2012 Adult Probation together with the Division of Psychological Services was awarded a two-year enhancement grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance Adult Drug Court Discretionary Grant Program. The grant funding was utilized to create a staff psychologist position whose function is to provide clinical services dedicated to Specialty Court clients. As an integral member of the Specialty Court team, the staff psychologist will be responsible for conducting all assessments, therapeutic treatment, consultation, and treatment planning for those clients primarily involved in the Drug Court Program. In January of 2013, Shanta Kanukollu, Ph.D., joined the 19th Judicial Circuit’s Division of Psychological Services as the staff psychologist dedicated to the Specialty Courts. Since this time, Dr. Kanukollu has facilitated individual and group therapy, crisis intervention/evaluations and psychological assessments for high-risk clients in the Specialty Courts with emphasis in the Drug Court program. Over the past 8 months, Dr. Kanukollu has worked with 26 individuals for 1-hour, weekly therapy sessions, 12 individuals for crisis evaluations upon referral from fellow staff members and 16 psychological evaluations. Dr. Kanukollu has also started a group called Seeking Safety which is an evidence-based, present-focused intervention that addresses substance abuse and trauma or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The Seeking Safety groups are held at the Adult Probation Department and are currently co-ed and held weekly for 90 minutes over 8 weeks. Participants are recruited from all Specialty Court programs (Drug Court, Mental Health Court and Veteran’s Court) and are screened for trauma-related symptoms and a history of substance abuse. Topics in this group include Asking for Help, Detaching from Emotional Pain, Compassion, Taking Good Care of Yourself and Recovery Thinking. Dr. Kanukollu has completed two rounds of Seeking Safety since joining our team and is scheduled to start the next round in early September with the intention of continuing this program about every two months. Participants who completed Seeking Safety demonstrated a significant decrease in their trauma-related symptoms. They also reported being pleased with the program with one participant asking for continued Seeking Safety sessions. In addition to individual and group therapy, Dr. Kanukollu has been conducting all psychological evaluations for the Drug Court program. These evaluations gather information about the intellectual functioning, family history, trauma history, legal concerns and substance abuse patterns of clients that are being considered for this Specialty Court. Most recently, Dr. Kanukollu has started to supervise a psychological intern from Rosalind Franklin University who will be seeing clients for individual therapy and co-facilitating the Seeking Safety group for her 1 year pre-doctoral internship. Other services that Dr. Kanukollu may provide in the future include group therapy programs that teach clients about emotional regulation and support groups for domestic violence.

 

NEW ASSISTANT DIRECTOR OF FACE-IT RESIDENTIAL TREATMENT PROGRAM

Dr. Holly Hinton, licensed clinical psychologist, assumed the position of Assistant Director of the FACE-IT program. Dr. Hinton’s substantial experience with residential youth makes her an excellent choice to lead the clinical services that are provided to the residents in the FACE-IT Program.

 

CREATING A CENTRALIZED DATABASE FOR CLIENT INFORMATION

Storing and retrieving referral information that Psychological Services receives on clients has been integrated into Caseload Explorer. We are currently in the building stages of using Caseload Explorer to document and keep track of referrals, evaluations, agency reports, and other articles for reference. This process will streamline the retrieval of information for staff, creating one centralized location for a client’s records. Storing referral information in Caseload Explorer also allows us to gather data used when requesting annual funding amounts. Information gathered can be sorted by agency to ensure all areas of client needs are being met (i.e. redeploy services, domestic violence services, recovery services, etc.).

 

WOMEN FIRST

The Lake County Women FIRST Program was developed by the Psychological Services Division in order to respond to the unique needs and issues presented by women who are on probation in Lake County.  Appropriately addressing specific responsivity factors (e.g., motivation, emotional state, parenting concerns, mental health, etc.) can achieve lowered resistance to the conditions of probation supervision and increased responsivity to community-based corrections programming. The Women FIRST Program was designed to provide a more gender-responsive approach to the service and supervision of women offenders and to address those unique needs that might present impediments to complying with probation and subsequently to leading law-abiding lives. The program was designed to prepare and motivate participants, through empowering them to improve their mental health, familial and intimate relationships, self-sufficiency, and effective parenting, for referral and further involvement in community-based corrections programs and treatments.  Moreover, it was hoped that better functioning participants would ultimately require less supervision and, therefore, fewer services in the future. 

 

Gender-specific probation programs generally adopt specialized case management models. These techniques are designed to empower women to change their lives and to prepare and motivate them to participate in more intensive treatments. Evaluations of these specialized approaches, however, have found no overall differences in recidivism between participants and women supervised on regular probation. The Lake County Women FIRST program differed in several ways from these other evaluated programs:

 

  •       Instead of probation officers providing psycho-educational group counseling, the Women FIRST program was devised and provided by professional therapists and by a probation officer trained and experienced in the Moving On program, another gender specific program.  
  •       Instead of having a set number of sessions, the Lake County program was designed to be modular.  This allows the women to enter and leave the program at any point.  This is considered a particularly important aspect of the program.  Previous gender specific programs have found attendance a particularly confounding problem due to the complexity of the lives of women probationers.  Programs which require weekly and bi-weekly attendance from women in the community often lose a large percentage of their participants before the end of the programs.  The flexibility for participants to start and stop the group multiple times within a year’s period and to still benefit from participation is a significant positive aspect of the program design. 

 

It is widely accepted that women are motivated by their connections with others and develop their identity, self-worth and sense of empowerment through relationships with others. Because of this the group setting is especially powerful for women. During the course of the first 24 months, 102 women were referred to the program.  Because of the design of the group, women could be referred at any time during the year.  They were not required to attend consecutive sessions, but did have to attend 11 sessions to earn Public Service hours.

 

Outcome data from the first two years of the program yielded favorable results. For example, statistics indicate that women who dropped out or otherwise stopped attending the Women First Program prior to completing 9 sessions were more likely to also violate a condition of probation.  Likewise, women who complete 9 or more sessions of the Women FIRST Program are also more likely to complete their probation term successfully than participants in the other time frames. Click to view the full report.

 

Initially conceived as a program to support the time constraints of Adult Probation officers, the program has demonstrated that it plays a key role in reducing ongoing violations by women participating in the program, increasing compliance with public service hours ordered by the courts, and improving the rate of successful completions of probation. 

 

 

DIVISION HIGHLIGHTS FOR 2012

 

FACE-IT RESIDENTIAL TREATMENT PROGRAM

FACE-IT Program Therapist, Ms. Melanie Umphress, implemented a 22-week curriculum-based substance abuse treatment program entitled Recovery Skills Group to supplement the services received by OMNI Youth Services. Outcome data for the program is being tracked using the University of Rhode Island Change Assessment Scale (URICA). The URICA is a self-report measure that includes four subscales that measure the Stages of Change: Precontemplation, Contemplation, Action and Maintenance. Responses are given on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from (1=strong agreement to 5=strongly disagreement. The subscales can be combined arithmetically (C + A + M – PC) to yield a second order continuous score that can be used to assess readiness to change at entrance to treatment and at the completion of treatment.

 

FACE-IT Program therapists received 15 DV referrals in 2012. They worked with 13 DV clients within the Juvenile Domestic Violence Perpetrator Treatment Group. Five of the clients completed the program successfully, three re-offended, one was residentially placed, others remained active in the group.

One-hundred eighty-six detention residents were seen for a total of 297 therapeutic contacts in 2012.

 

 

FEE FOR SERVICES

As of January 1, 2012, the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit determined certain services offered through Psychological Services, Adult Probation, and Juvenile Probation will now require clients to pay a nominal fee for attending these classes and assessments. The purpose of collecting these fees is to offset the expenses associated with providing these services as well as hold the client accountable for attending and successfully completing the program.

The Senior Clerk position was created in November, 2011, to act as a collection agent for the fees for services initiative. To ensure all Probation Officers, both Juvenile and Adult, understand their role in collecting these fees, a protocol for Juvenile and Adult Probation has been adapted and submitted to the Court.

 

 

Senior Clerk Psychological Services

The primary function of a Senior Clerk for Psychological Services is to maintain control over the any monies collected for services offered through the Psychological Services Division as well as Adult and Juvenile Probation. Duties include fee collection, tracking payment and non-payment information, maintaining correspondence with clients and probation officers, establishing and maintaining good relationships with paying clients, depositing collected funds, and creating any additional correspondence such as billing statements, payment letters and class brochures.

The Senior Clerk is an employee of the Psychological Services department; however, he/she works closely with members of the Juvenile and Adult Probation staff. Additional duties may include assisting clinical staff and other personnel from the Psychological Services Department with administrative duties such as filing, data-entry, case-note transcription, making copies, creating PowerPoint, Access, Excel, and Word projects, troubleshooting Microsoft Office program issues, and other assigned tasks.

 

 

IN-SERVICE SUICIDE PREVENTION TRAINING FOR PROBATION OFFICERS

In Fall, 2012, the Psychological Services staff developed in-service training for adult probation officers on suicide awareness and prevention. The presentation, developed by Dr. Anthony Latham, Psy.D, Dr. Holly Hinton, Psy.D, Kathryn Grzanich, LCPC, and Shaakira Ford, LCSW, focused on global as well as local statistics, recognizing contributing factors, and how to respond to a client in crisis. The presentation was well-received and will remain an integral part of officer training and awareness.

 

 

DIVISION HIGHLIGHTS FOR 2011

 

FACE-IT RESIDENTIAL TREATMENT PROGRAM 

FACE-IT Program therapists received 29 DV evaluation referrals in 2011.  They worked with 19 DV clients within the Juvenile Domestic Violence Perpetrator Treatment Group.  Eight of the clients completed the program successfully, four re-offended, two were residentially placed, and others remained active within the group. 

 

In addition to providing DV Treatment, Psychological Services Psychologists, Therapists, and Interns also provide therapeutic services to Detention residents on an as needed basis.  Many of the contacts are for short-term crisis management; however, some referrals are for more long-term individual therapy sessions; others are seen or family therapy services prior to a detention resident’s return to their family following familial conflict and/or Domestic Battery referrals.  One-hundred eighty-six detention residents were seen for a total of 430 therapeutic contacts in 2011.

 

 

 

DIVISION HIGHLIGHTS FOR 2010

 

FACE-IT PROGRAM 

 

Juvenile Domestic Violence Program:

 

The Juvenile Domestic Violence Offender Treatment Group was established within the year 2010 with the first group commencing on June 7, 2010.  The group is held weekly for juvenile probationers within Lake County who have committed a Domestic Battery or Domestic Violence related offense. The population being served includes Lake County adolescent males who are between the ages of 13-17, have a domestic violence charge and are either referred or mandated to participate in treatment.  The group operates as an open-ended group, indicating that participants can join and exit the group throughout the year.  Group participants will be required to complete a minimum of 26 weeks of treatment. 

 

Additionally, this in-house program includes an assessment component.  The Domestic Violence Inventory (DVI) – Juvenile Version along with a number of assessment tools comprised the test battery for the domestic violence evaluation.  Evaluations are done to assess level of risk for committing further domestic violence/criminal acts and to develop recommendations for treatment.

 

Over the course of nine months, the program has served 21 youth, completing 20 evaluations and treating 10 youth through the group.  This initiative has drastically reduced our expenditure of outsource services thus allowing the families to receive services who otherwise may not have access to treatment.    

   

Psychology Internship Program:

The psychology internship program continues to provide psychological assessments, psychotherapy, and consultation to youth and families of Lake County in the community, in the Detention Center, and the FACE-IT Residential program. Over the 2009 fiscal year, 42 psychological assessments have been completed compared to 2010 where 39 were completed. And as of March 8th 2011, seven psychological assessments have been completed.

  

Outpatient Services:

Historically, the FACE-IT Residential program only treated youth and families placed in the program.  However, since the summer of 2010, the clinical team has engaged in providing services on an outpatient basis for youth and families on probation but not involved in the FACE-IT program.  To date, this initiative has serviced 2 families and 3 individuals.  Additionally, youth who have matriculated out of the residential program are seen in an outpatient capacity for three to four months.  Also, career assessment services are rendered to the Juvenile Probation Pre-employment group.  

 

Read Me a Story Program:

Hulse Detention Center/FACE-IT Residential Program

 

The Read Me a Story Program, initiated in 2010, is coordinated by the community resource liaison within the Division of Psychological Services in conjunction with the Detention and FACE-IT program located at the Depke Juvenile Justice Center.

 

The Read Me a Story Program provides detained youth a unique and meaningful way to develop a love of reading and maintain a sibling/child connection while they are detained. The underlying philosophy of the program is to break the cycle of incarceration and low literacy. Through the program youth discover the personal value and personal connections for both the sibling/child and themselves in developing and promoting literacy skills. Since its inception 41 youth have participated in the program and they have read 60 books to 54 siblings and 6 to children of teen parents. 

 

Nicasa Grant for Adolescent Youth Intensive Outpatient Treatment:

In September of 2010, a newly funded federal grant was obtained by Nicasa to provide intensive outpatient drug and alcohol treatment to adolescent youth in Lake County. The community resource liaison from the Division of Psychological Services coordinates referral and feedback information regarding juvenile probation clients that are eligible for treatment. Nicasa was officially open for intakes into the program in January of 2011. The treatment will be initially provided at the Round lake location with intent to expand to the Waukegan area.

 

Youth Intensive Outpatient Treatment serves youth, ages 12-17, having significant drug alcohol issues or in need of continuum of care after discharge from a residential treatment program.  The treatment model used for this program is called A-CRA (Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach) /ACC (Assertive Continuing Care Protocol), which has been shown in the scientific research to have positive outcomes.

 

Group Therapy Opportunities:

Women FIRST is a new group developed in December of 2010 and implemented in January of 2011. Women FIRST is designed to assist female probationers with their unique needs and issues. Program volunteers ensure that the probationer is following through with their referrals. The group meets biweekly and provides probationers with information including personal goal setting, stress and anger management, parenting skills, relationship tips, and ways to increase their self-esteem. Every session begins with working on problem solving and goals followed by resource information and occasional guest speakers.

 

Psychological Assessments Utilizing Group Testing:

The Division of Psychological Services conducts an average of 600 psychological evaluations per year generated by referrals received from the Court as well as the Division of Adult Probation. Clinicians that conduct these evaluations spend an average of four hours per individual providing the clinical interview, psychological testing, scoring, and interpretation of test data. In order to reduce the cost of these psychological assessments in terms of both person hours and expediting the turn around time of completed evaluations, group testing was initiated. Group testing utilizes one clinician to conduct the psychological testing, scoring, and interpretation of test data thus significantly reducing the number of person hours required if conducted individually.  In 2010, the Division of Psychological Services group testing program was optimized to include computer-based assessment to further improve efficiency and reduce the cost of psychological assessments while continuing to offer the highest quality of diagnostic and treatment services to its clients.

 

 
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News from the Psychological Services Division