Juvenile Department LIFTT Program

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Sponsored by: Juvenile Department

Juvenile Department LIFTT program provides at-risk youth with tools for success

The Washington County Juvenile Department is working collaboratively with the Tigard-Tualatin School District to administer a pilot program aimed at providing at-risk youth with supportive services and tools for success in school.

The program, entitled Leadership, Integrity for Today and Tomorrow (LIFTT), is a targeted prevention effort for youth at Tualatin High School who may be struggling with poor attendance, academic failure and/or behavior issues. Initiated during the 2017-18 school year, LIFTT provides "wrap-around" services that address identified risk and protective factors for each student. A team of dedicated staff, including program coordinator and Juvenile Counselor Jon Biles, all work to provide support, specialized training and pro-social activities to help youth feel more connected to school and motivated to actively participate in their education. A summer program was also offered to help keep students on-track during unstructured time off. The summer program included "Steps to Accountability" classes (which help young people to focus on positive behavior, decision-making and goal setting), as well as an opportunity to enjoy physical fitness training at Wilsonville CrossFit, twice per week. Both activities were well-attended and are continuing in the current school year.

"In order to build support for students returning to school, we are designing re-engagement strategies of community mobilization, relationship building, pro-social development, and the generation of educational opportunities in non-traditional ways," said Tualatin High School Principal, Michael Dellerba. "Our partnership with Washington County has been absolutely essential to these efforts, and our program is starting to make measurable gains thanks to the tireless commitment of Juvenile Counselor, Jon Biles." Additional resources have also been allocated this year which allow the youth more access to teaching support and course offerings that include structured mentoring, assistance in math, drug and alcohol interventions, opportunities for community service and incentive-based rewards for improvements.

Data tracking and feedback from students and their families have raised issues related to credit recovery, alternative education, culturally responsive teaching practices and the impact of adverse childhood experiences on learning—all of which are all being taken into consideration through ongoing efforts to evaluate the program. The LIFTT program team also continues to seek additional community partnerships to strengthen their ability to serve the youth. According to Biles, "This resource has been amazing as a lot of the students have developed a positive relationship with the program. They seek the attention and support as they are dealing with overwhelming pressures within their lives. I've been able to develop trusting relationships with these students and their families as they work to make positive changes. This is a great resource to help students of high risk learn skills before they make poor choices and/or commit crimes. I've enjoyed seeing the transformation of kids feeling disconnected from the community and school to feeling a sense of belonging and a sense of hope."

The Washington County Juvenile Department protects the public by reducing delinquency and restores victims and the community by holding youth accountable. They work to create opportunities for change through swift and decisive use of effective practices, building on the strengths of youth and families.

Media Contact:

Lynne Schroeder, Director, Washington County Juvenile Department