KENNEWICK – Jacqueline van Wormer, a former WSU graduate is being honored as a Champion for Change in juvenile justice reform for her work in Benton and Franklin Counties to improve the lives of court-involved kids, their families, and communities.
 
She is being recognized at a luncheon of juvenile justice reformers from across the country at the Third Annual Models for Change national conference in Washington, D.C. this week.
 
Van Wormer is a PhD candidate in the Criminal Justice Program at WSU, where she received her M.A. in Criminal Justice with emphasis in Public Administration in 1992 and her B.A. in Criminal Justice in 1990.
 
In her position as Models for Change Washington site coordinator in Benton and Franklin Counties, van Wormer bridges the gap between school administrators and the juvenile justice system to create more effective responses to truancy. She is also developing a data system for analyzing the complex issue of Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) to create factual basis for making DMC intervention and policy decisions.
 
Models for Change is the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s $120 million national initiative to reform juvenile justice across the country. Sixteen states are now involved – four working on a range of state and local reforms, and 12 as part of three action networks focusing on disproportionate minority contact, mental health and juvenile indigent defense.
 
Van Wormer was selected by Models for Change Washington leaders in recognition of her commitment to results and the demonstrable impact she has made on the lives of youth involved with the juvenile justice system.
 
“Truancy reform is a great example of her talents,” said Justice Bobbe Bridge, director of Models for Change Washington. “Identifying educators as important partners and coordinating outreach to all school districts in Benton and Franklin Counties, Jacqueline and her team took the time to understand school practices and listen to what administrators needed. As a result, they were able to bridge the gap between schools and the juvenile court, creating the potential for more effective and evidence-based interventions to keep kids in school and out of jail.”