Dr. Charlene Berquist, professor of communication and director of the Center for Dispute Resolution (CDR) at Missouri State, has been awarded a $51,671 Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention grant by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Missouri Department of Public Safety. The award will fund a third year of the “Network for Girls” program, whose goal is to reduce the likelihood that participating girls will reoffend.
This is the second grant the Network for Girls has received this year. In January, CDR was awarded $51,675, combined with the latest grant to total $103,346 for the year.
This program was first funded in September 2010. In a news release Berquist states, “In the past 2 years we have seen so many positive results for families and youth thanks to this program, including increases in self-efficacy and improved coping skills for program youth as well as reduced recidivism rates. Additionally, we’ve expanded our pool of amazing volunteers who are working with program families. We are looking forward to a third year of growth and opportunity for this innovative program.”
Girls and young women (under the age of 17) who are facing behavioral issues (including juvenile offending, status offenses, truancy, relationship issues, and others) are referred to the Networks for Girls program by the Greene County Juvenile Office. The program utilizes two processes to help address the girls’ needs and provide support and education: Family Group Conferencing (FGC) and the Girls Circle model.
The CDR has recently completed an evaluation of the Girls Circle component of this program, which found that Girls Circle increases self-efficacy and improves coping skills in the young women who participate and that girls in the program are less likely to recidivate. CDR has also completed the training of 20 new program volunteers who will be helping to facilitate family group conferences for program families.