Vera’s family engagement work focuses on three phases: assess, reform, and evaluate. In Sedgwick County, Vera will assess the DOC’s efforts to involve families by conducting surveys of youth, families, and staff and reviewing all of the current policies and practices. This process will help the county prioritize current family-focused work and identify opportunities for improvement.

The assessment report will include a series of recommendations and an action plan to help the county meet their goals. Vera will also train DOC staff on family-mapping tools and the Juvenile Relational Inquiry Tool—designed to help staff put their values regarding family engagement into action. Vera staff will coach the DOC team throughout the process of reform—pairing expertise on national best practices with on-the-ground support. As the project comes to a close, and the reforms begin to take root, Vera will work with the county to evaluate progress and develop a strategic plan for long-term sustainability.