By John McGreevy, TJJD Communications

PowerSource best smlTJJD hosted nearly 100 treatment professionals from TJJD campuses and Juvenile Probation Departments across Texas for two days of trainings in Power Source, a sought-after treatment modality. These training sessions were held on Wednesday, May 31 and Friday, June 2 at the Barbara Jordan State Office Building in Austin.

Power Source was created to empower at-risk youth with the social and emotional skills they need for healthier development.

Overall, the program is designed to help youth learn effective strategies such as emotion regulation, changing negative core beliefs about themselves, healing from histories of trauma, and discovering alternative coping strategies to substance use.

It helps them develop resilience and acquire the social and emotional skills associated with success in school, the workplace, and the world at large

Evan Norton, Sr. Director of Integrated Treatment and Intervention Services, and Lacey Evans, Deputy Director of Integrated Treatment, were instrumental in organizing the sessions.

“I have a personal goal to increase the availability of meaningful trainings to the field of clinicians that work within juvenile justice,” Norton said. “It’s an underserved group of people. I want to be able to host conferences in the future where we bring in experts that work with these kids for collaborative discussions and training.”

Dr. Jess Linick, an expert in Power Source and director of youth services for the Lionheart Foundation, delivered the trainings on the group-based program.

“Our program is an evidence-based program that’s listed on the DOJ repository on what works in juvenile justice,” Linick said.

PowerSource presenter sml“At its core, Power Source is a program to support youth in developing the skills they need to lead healthy and productive lives,” Linick continued. “We teach skills and we also teach that the way you look at yourself really matters. We’re trying to instill a sense of healthy identity. It’s a social and an emotional learning skills curriculum.”

The presentation's structure allowed for dialogue and questions and answers while covering ways to help youth, with Norton getting a good cardio workout darting across the conference room with a wireless microphone so everyone could hear the questions and comments.

Linick encouraged the participants to engage in brief interactions with those seated near them and they shared effective approaches to best deal with dysregulated youth. Even with as much active participation as the session incorporated, a day-long event presented a lot to absorb, so frequent stretch breaks were built into the day, as well as the raffling off of posters, educational material, and most highly-coveted – TJJD coffee mugs. All of this made for a more productive, but comfortable experience for everyone.

Linick had done some work with TJJD before. “We’d been trained by Dr. Linick in 2020, right before COVID hit,” said Norton. The pandemic naturally put a pause on any work to be done and by the time things got back to normal, there were many newer hires to introduce to Power Source.

PowerSource EvanNortonPresenter sml“We’re big fans of her work and we’ve been really impressed by the kids’ engagement in Power Source. We’ve hired so many clinicians since 2020. With so many new members of our rehabilitative programming team we wanted to make sure these people have the best training possible.”

“It was incredible to see the collaboration between county probation departments, and we had nine departments represented at the training, right alongside our TJJD secure mental health professional staff,” Norton said. “That’s never happened. The opportunity for collaboration across the continuum of care was outstanding. It was wonderful to see clinicians working at both the county level and the state level engaging and working on these complex views that make up our one system.”

“The first day was for providers that have not previously had a formal Power Source training. The second day was a smaller group focused on responsivity needs, support with application of interventions, and addressing responsivity needs in a group setting,” Evans said.

“Everyone really liked it, from what I’ve heard,” Norton said. “People really enjoyed the content and they found Dr. Linick to be very engaging.”

Linick also felt the sessions were well-received and she was quick to praise the people who participated. “I was impressed by the questions the people asked,” she said. “I’m always impressed by the level of clinical training that people have at TJJD. That’s made a priority that clinicians have a lot of different possibilities for intervention with youth on an individual level and for the different things that youth or their families might need. I think that was very evident.”

Photos: top-bottom - Dr. Linick and Dr. Evan Norton address the group; Dr. Linick; Drs. Norton and Linick.