Missouri Families 4 Families Honors 22nd Judicial Circuit’s Juvenile Division with Shining Light Award

The 22nd Judicial Circuit Court’s Juvenile Division was honored on Saturday, April 16 with the Shining Light Award from Missouri Families 4 Families for its Team Support Approach (TSA) and the positive impact it is having in improving the outcomes of justice involved youth in the City of St. Louis.

“The kids we serve work extremely hard and sometimes don’t receive the recognition they deserve,” said Amanda Sodomka, Chief Juvenile Officer for the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court. “That’s what makes this recognition so affirming. Thank you to Missouri Families 4 Families for shining a light on the many success stories of our youth, their families, their support networks, and communities.”

Under the TSA, key people are brought together to discuss youths’ strengths and needs, identify and provide resources, and make strength-based plans that will provide for the youth’s safety, repair harm to the victim(s) or community, and accountability through strengthening competency skills while ensuring community safety.

The goal of the TSA is to involve families and their support systems, community members, along with caregivers, service providers and agency staff in all decisions regarding planning options and to ensure a timely network of support for youth and the adults who care for them.

When possible, the family and community’s strengths are used to form a treatment plan that enable youth to safely remain home with appropriate services. When this is not possible, plans are made that reflect the least restrictive placement possible for each youth that will keep the child and community safe as well as preserve and nurture the child’s familial and community connections.

“It’s really all about teamwork. With the TSA, our Juvenile Division strives to achieve the principles that youth and families need strong, consistent, and nurturing communities in order to provide opportunities for them to do better, feel included in the decision-making process, and be set up for success in the future,” Sodomka added.

Established by parents from St. Louis, Springfield, and Jefferson City in 2006, Missouri Families 4 Families is a statewide nonprofit run by families. At least half of the parents/caregivers involved have children/youth with social, emotional, and/or behavioral needs. The staff are also parents/caregivers/grandparents with similar experiences.

According to the group, the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court’s Juvenile Division was selected for this year’s Shining Light Award because of its dedication to bridging the gap between families and the Court and providing positive support and services to those it serves.

You can watch the awards ceremony on the Missouri Families 4 Families Facebook page here.