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About Cortney Downs

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So far Cortney Downs has created 7 blog entries.

The Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Act and New Opportunities for Girls

The reauthorized federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) offers new protections and opportunities to meet the unique needs of some of the most vulnerable kids, especially girls. With expanded federal funding opportunities, Kentucky’s state advisory group, the Juvenile Justice Advisory Board (JJAB), can submit a plan detailing new state programs, projects, and activities to be implemented over a 3-year period within the youth justice system. Proposals can now include “programs that address the [...]

By |2019-09-26T17:26:23-05:00September 26th, 2019|Blog, Youth Justice|

The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act and What it Means for Kentucky Kids

The federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) was first authorized by Congress in 1974 to establish universal standards for how kids are treated in the youth justice system. With a strong emphasis on supporting prevention-focused programs, rehabilitation, and reintegration while still holding kids accountable for their behaviors, the JJDPA quickly became recognized as one of the most significant laws for kids involved in the justice system. On December 11, 2018, after passing through [...]

By |2019-09-12T11:57:47-05:00September 12th, 2019|Blog, Youth Justice|

Practicing Self-Care, Especially When You Love Your Job

Image from the New Social Worker® Social workers (and other helping professionals) often work in demanding contexts and help people process difficult situations. We’re expected to be keenly aware of the negative impact this work can have on our well-being and capacity for burnout. However, during my first years in the field, my understanding of self-care was synonymous with (and limited to) taking a bubble bath or getting a massage after a bad [...]

It’s Time to Talk: Promoting Healthy Dating Relationships Among Teens

I met Nicole* in the emergency room at a children’s hospital when she was 17-years-old. She had been assaulted by her 18-year-old boyfriend and would possibly need surgery to repair the broken bones in her arm. This was not the first time he had assaulted her, but it was the most severe. Some of Nicole’s friends and family knew that they argued a lot or thought they spent too much time together, but no one [...]

By |2019-02-20T13:16:31-05:00February 20th, 2019|Blog, Child Welfare & Safety, Health|

Celebrating Positive Trends in How Kentucky Responds to Youth Who Get in Trouble

Over the past ten years, Kentucky has made significant strides in how we respond to youth who commit status offenses. In 2008, behaviors like running away, skipping school, and acting out were routinely criminalized, with 1,951 youth being detained for status offenses, likely making the behaviors worse instead of addressing the root cause.  As Secretary John Tilley of the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet said in 2014, it’s “very negative and damaging for these children [...]

By |2019-02-04T15:19:33-05:00February 4th, 2019|Blog, Child Welfare & Safety, Youth Justice|

Fostering Youth Transitions

In November, the Annie E. Casey Foundation released Fostering Youth Transitions, an issue brief detailing data on the experiences of transition age youth, or youth in foster care who are close to or in the process of transitioning out of the child welfare system. The transition from adolescence to adulthood is a pivotal developmental stage as young people learn the skills needed to be healthy and productive adults, and that transition can be complicated for [...]

By |2019-09-05T12:57:57-05:00December 6th, 2018|Blog, Child Welfare & Safety, Kids Count|

Lessening the Effects of Trauma on Children

Traumatic experiences can happen to any of us, whether it’s growing up in an abusive or dysfunctional home or surviving a natural disaster. And, while everyone who has experienced trauma wants to move beyond it, the part of our brain tasked with ensuring our survival can complicate the process, even when we don’t remember the event. In highly stressful or potentially life-threatening situations, our brains activate a fight or flight response. Without even realizing it, [...]

By |2018-08-21T08:35:58-05:00August 20th, 2018|Blog, Child Welfare & Safety, Health|