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On December 2, 2010, the Chief Probation Officers of California, CPOC, held their annual awards luncheon. One category recognized by CPOC is Regional Employee of the Year. The State is divided into five regions of which Colusa is in the Northern Region, which is composed of fourteen Counties. Ms. Sarah Regnani, Counselor II for the Probation Department, was chosen as the Northern Region Employee of the Year, by the fourteen Chief’s of the Northern Region.
As a result of Colusa County’s SB 81 Juvenile Hall study and application the Department identified several programs as interventions for youth to assist them in making better choices and remain out of the criminal justice system. In 2008 the Probation Department made the decision to implement one of the identified programs, the Girls Circle, as a form of intervention for young women. Following this decision the Department employed Ms. Sarah Regnani in April of 2008 as a Counselor II for the Department. Ms. Regnani was given direction to begin one Girls Circle in one of the five school districts by the end of the 2008 school year. At the conclusion of that school year she had two Girls Circles in place. Due to the success of these first Girls Circles Ms. Regnani was told to attempt to have one additional Girls Circle in three of the remaining School Districts by the end of the 08 - 09 school year. At the conclusion of the school year, Ms. Regnani was facilitating fourteen groups throughout the five school districts.
The following school year 09 - 10, it was decided to bring on an additional Counselor, who would be overseen by Ms. Regnani, to facilitate Boys Council groups. The goal, as with the Girls Circle program, was to establish one Boys Council in one school district and hopefully have one or two additional Boys Councils by the end of the school year. Under Ms. Regnani’s guidance the Boys Council program expanded to include sixteen groups in all five school districts. Ms. Regnani facilitated an additional fourteen Girls Circle groups in those same school districts.
An additional intervention identified in the SB 81 Juvenile Hall study was Anger Replacement Therapy (ART). Ms. Regnani, attended facilitator training in February of 2010 and facilitated the first thirty session ten week ART class beginning in March of 2010. As Colusa County does not have a juvenile hall this successful program was held in a non-custodial setting. At the same time, Ms. Regnani was facilitating the ART classes and her Girls Circle groups she approached administration after discussions about 678 implementation and possible interventions for young adults in an effort to reduce prison commitments. Ms. Regnani proposed the Department consider Cogitative Behavioral Change as an intervention for this group as well as another option for Colusa County youth. Ms. Regnani participated in facilitator training for this program in June and plans to have the first Cogitative Behavioral Change group running for 18 – 25 year olds in January of 2011.
Currently there are seventeen active Girls Circles and Boys Councils groups, which include one Teen Mothers group, in Colusa County, one Cogitative Behavioral Change program for 18 – 25 year old adults is planned to begin in January of 2010 and the second ART Group is scheduled for spring of 2011.
Ms. Regnani’s efforts have been instrumental in reducing the Department’s juvenile Wards caseloads from 120 at the beginning of these interventions to 46 as of September 2010. She has been the driving force behind bringing interventions to a small rural County which historically has not had the benefit of evidence based programs other than Probation Officer supervision.
Following Ms. Regnani’s receipt of the Regional Employee of the Year award for the North Region at the conclusion of the CPOC Awards ceremony one employee from all probation employees statewide is selected as the CPOC Employee of the Year. Ms. Regnani was chosen for this honor.