Screen Shot 2013-05-10 at 12.27.33 PMLast month John Bailie, IIRP’s Director of Continuing Education, was invited to speak at a conference in the state of Delaware, U.S.A., called “Partnering for Educational Success: Helping Youth in Care.” The overall focus was to explore how people could begin to better serve youth in their respective counties by working together across schools, the juvenile justice system and social work.

Sponsors of the conference included the Family Court of Delaware, the Delaware Department of Education, the Department of Children, Youth and Their Families, and the Office of the Child Advocate, with opening remarks by the chief judge, and the secretaries of education and the department of children. Attendees included representatives of the family court, schools and social services, as well as judges and legal advocates.

Bailie presented about how restorative practices in schools can be one way to help youth at risk, while simultaneously supporting all students in a local area. He made the case that restorative practices can provide an overarching framework for bringing workers in the different sectors together to work consistently with youth to have the biggest impact.

Accompanying Bailie was Mike Calderone, principal at Harding Middle School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He talked about his firsthand experience implementing restorative practices in an urban setting. People were interested to hear about how restorative practices have made his school more orderly and less violent, reduced behavior infractions, and helped the kids most at risk become more connected with staff and the school in general.

Bailie said, “The response was really good. People really appreciated hearing real stories from Mike Calderone. A lot of people were surprised to hear how much momentum there is for restorative practices around the country. There was a universal feeling that Delaware should take a look at this.”

Bailie said the event provided further support for the need for restorative zones, IIRP’s approach to working with youth throughout a community through the different systems that interact with youth. “People are looking for consistency. The fact that they were all there in the same place, talking about the same problems and issues, was a good thing.”

For more information about school-based restorative zones, click here.

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