Skip to main content

Attention Youth Service Agency (YSA) Partners

OSPSI is currently involved in the following projects/initiatives:

The Office of Standards for Prevention and System Improvement (OSPSI) serves as the administrative office of community-based youth service agencies and the juvenile justice and delinquency prevention unit.  OSPSI utilizes data to guide and shift the operations within the juvenile justice system to ensure responsiveness to the needs of Oklahoma youth, their family systems, and local communities.

  • We believe all Oklahomans, regardless of age, race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation deserve access to public services, and all services must be evidence-based, best practice-informed, and grounded in scientific research.
  • We believe taxpayer dollars must be managed and monitored to ensure all Oklahomans have the opportunity to benefit from the services and resources those dollars provide.
  • We believe Oklahomans are safer when they are able to contribute to the betterment of their communities.
  • We believe in supporting the families of the youth we serve. By partnering with them to meet the needs of the children in their care, we are supporting a stronger Oklahoma.
  • We believe juvenile justice system staff are allies, and the youth we serve must be empowered to have a voice and impact on all system improvement strategies.
  • We believe in supporting our frontline staff and community partners to ensure the youth in our care have the opportunity to be restored back to the communities where they struggled to belong.
  • We believe in bringing staff, families, youth, communities, and stakeholders together to identify local challenges, and address those challenges with real solutions that can bring real change.
  • We believe in supporting our staff with resources to ensure they have what they need to successfully engage, support, and empower youth to accept responsibility, respond to accountability, and demonstrate leadership in their journey through the restorative justice process.
  • We believe the monitoring and oversight of the facilities that children and youth reside in on a temporary basis are necessary and critical to ensure the safety and well-being of children and staff.

Each YSA Cluster is eligible to apply for $30,000 for Innovation and Critical Needs Funding. Funds must be spent by June 30, 2023. To access the application (One application per cluster), go to

A question and answer virtual meeting was held July 20, 2022. To view the meeting, click here.

Effective Practices for Positive Interactions with Oklahoma Youth Project: This project expanded the Connecticut Model: Effective Police Interactions with Youth to widen the audience to include all child-serving professionals. In addition, the training addresses why youth do what they do, the unique needs of diverse youth, understanding bias and how biases can affect the decisions we make, and practical strategies for how to communicate more effectively with young people. In the next year, Oklahoma will collaborate with law enforcement to train officers in facilitating the EPIY model across the state.

Community Action with Targeted Solutions (CATS): The Office of Standards for Prevention and System Improvement provides state funds to local catchment areas for the provision of prevention and diversion services to at-risk youth on an annual basis. To ensure the application of these funds is data-driven and community-informed, this model is being rolled out as part of the application process for all designated youth service agencies. Training from the American Institute for Research (AIR), Center for Coordinated Assistance to the States (CCAS), will be provided to all youth service agencies (YSAs) and to (Juvenile Services Unit (JSU) leadership later this week. CCAS in partnership with OJA has developed a toolkit to assist with the development of the CATS model. For more information, contact Amanda McClain.

        CATS Project Goals:
          - Collaborate with Community Members
          - Explore Data
          - Prioritize Needs
          - Develop Plan with Targeted Solutions
          - Execute and Evaluate Plan
          - Strengthen Community

Youth Emerging Leaders (YEL): A subcommittee of the State Advisory Group (SAG) on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Members are under the age of 28 at the time of membership, and must have experience or special interest in the juvenile justice system. Adults over 28 are “allies” to the youth who lead this committee. Youth members serve as members or ad-hoc members of the SAG. YEL members lead efforts to engage system-involved youth in discussions on how to improve the Oklahoma juvenile justice system. Members of this committee have spoken on state and national platforms about issues relevant to today’s youth. If you have a young person that you work with who would like to have a safe place to be heard and make change, contact David McCullough or Ulises Villalobos for additional information.

Additional projects managed by the department include: the Juvenile Relapse Avoidance Project (J-RAP), discretionary grant opportunities, Juvenile Graduated Sanctions (coming soon!), Title II Formula grants, and the oversight and monitoring the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act as reauthorized by President Trump in 2018.

CBYS works to ensure that quality counseling, outreach, intervention, diversion, and emergency shelter services are available to any youth across the state. This unit contracts with 37 designated Youth Service agencies to provide, with no requirement to pay or be insured, programs that intervene with at-risk youth and families which strengthen their relationships, life skills, and overall functioning so that they may be diverted from future juvenile justice involvement.  Thousands of youth each year benefit from these services, leading to decreased rates of youth crime and smaller juvenile justice caseloads. The five (5) major service areas provided include:

  1. Children's Emergency Resource Centers (CERCs)
  2. First Time Offender Program (FTOP)
  3. Outreach and counseling
  4. Community at Risk Services (CARS) and Re-Entry
  5. Botvin Life Skills*

*Through a partnership with the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, youth service agencies now have the capability to automate and streamline pre and post test results of students who participate in the Botvin Life Skills training. The online prevention reporting system supports the tracking and reporting of longitudinal outcomes of this evidence-based curriculum. For more information on the Botvin curriculum, click on the following link:

The OJJDP Unit ensures OJA remains in compliance with the federal laws regarding the treatment of youth in the juvenile justice system according to the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act. They monitor, manage, and direct the State’s Plan to maintain compliance with the 4 Core Requirements of the JJDP Act:

  • Deinstitutionalization of Status Offenders;
  • Jail Removal;
  • Sight and Sound Separation;
  • Disproportionate Minority Contact

In addition, the OJJDP Unit manages, monitors, and directs federal Delinquency Prevention grants and Juvenile Graduated Sanction grants based upon a Restorative Justice model.

OJA receives Medicaid funds from the Title XIX Social Security Act and the Federal Funding Unit is responsible for providing training, technical support and monitoring field and residential case records surrounding the collection of these funds in two program areas: 1) Targeted Case Management (TCM) and 2) Residential Behavioral Management Services (RBMS). TCM funds are provided to administer targeted case management services to eligible clients in accordance with the Oklahoma Health Care Authority’s rules and requirements. OJA’s objective in this area is to provide medical assistance and related services to juveniles under supervision and their families. RBMS has rules requiring minimal therapeutic treatment for juveniles placed in community residential programs including psychological, behavioral, emotional and social needs that require more intensive care than can be provided in a family or foster home setting.

Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities/DMC:

Nearly 500 OJA staff, contract providers (group homes, detention centers, youth service agencies, etc.), juvenile bureau staff (Oklahoma, Tulsa, and Comanche Counties), judges, attorneys, jail administrators/staff and law enforcement have participated  from August to date. We are on track to reach our goal of 1,300 employees and partners trained by June of 2021. SAG sponsorship of this project is having a major impact! An OJA supervisor recently reached out to me and shared that this training is the best training he has had in the thirty years he has worked for the agency. He went on to talk about his own implicit bias and how he would like to take the class again because it really made him stop and evaluate why he is making the decisions he makes. We talked at length about supporting our current and new workers with opportunities to dive deeper into empathy building, the impact of trauma, and understanding our own triggers. It has been exciting to hear the responses from our field staff. We have had numerous reports from those who have attended that this training was exceptional. It is my hope that once the open meetings law passes, we will have a special training day for SAG members that will also be used to carry us into our three year planning. The curriculum and training developed through your sponsorship has brought opportunities for OJA staff and partners to talk about the current strengths and weaknesses of our juvenile justice system. It is my hope that this information combined with quantitative data, will be used for our ongoing efforts to improve the system. For me personally, I have been recharged by the number of staff  excited about this training and the direction our agency is going. It is a breath of fresh air and so many people who started their career with hope to be a change maker, have been recharged and are on a mission to be a part of the change!

As you will recall, the City of Ada and the Chickasaw Nation Lighthorse Police Department partnered with OJA to receive the training to train the expanded Effective Police Interactions with Youth training to rural police departments. Officers were trained and a team has been established. Implementation has slowed down but the JJDP team and the Ada Police Department are committed to ensuring this project moves forward. I hope to have a positive update on this part of the project when we meet for our SAG meeting.

Tribal Youth Programs-Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma-PROJECT EAGLE

We are currently in the process of reviewing the outcomes for Project Eagle and will provide an update at the SAG meeting. The success looks promising and we look forward to sharing more at our next SAG meeting. Ponca Tribe continues to work hard to serve the youth and families with excellent services designed to strengthen and empower them for success.

Compliance core protections (Separation of Juveniles from Adult Inmates/Trustees, Removal of Juvenile from Adult Jails and Lockups, and Deinstitutionalization of Status Offenders):

Our Compliance team led by Programs Manager, David McCullough, worked hard this year with OJA leadership and Oklahoma facilities. His team includes Systems Improvement Specialist, Ulises Villalobos and Sheila Foster, Separation/R-ED Specialist. Successes include:

1)      Reducing the percentage of adolescent girls who were securely detained for at risk behaviors, improved state response to girls in the juvenile justice system by providing community-based care instead of secure detention for girls identified as being at risk for sexual exploitation, thus preventing the abuse-to-prison pipeline trend for those youth; 

2)      Improved efficiency in identifying and alerting all stakeholders when a youth is in danger of being securely detained for a status offense by incorporating the alert process into the juvenile online tracking database (JOLTS); 

3)      Completed 2019 with no violations of Sight and Sound Separation;

4)      Drafted new rules and standards for adoption that will place Oklahoma in compliance with the 2018 Juvenile Justice Reform Act and remove youth under 18 from adult jails and lockups;

5)      Achieved Oklahoma’s lowest-ever rate of delinquents detained in adult jails; and

6)      Provided technical assistance and training to 67 law enforcement entities regarding appropriate policies and procedures for handling and processing of juvenile offenders.

Oklahoma is now in full compliance with all four core requirements. We are proud of our staff, SAG members, and partners, who have worked to produce lasting change for our youth and families. Thank you to all of you who work tirelessly to make Oklahoma a better place for our young Oklahomans and their families.

2020 - 2017 State Advisory Group Agendas