Littledeer-Evans named Probation Officer of the Year
- Susan Matheny
- Madras Pioneer - News
Sonya Littledeer-Evans, senior juvenile justice officer for Jefferson County, has been named the Probation Officer of the Year for the state of Oregon.
The award was presented to Littledeer-Evans at the Oct. 3, county commission meeting by Commissioner John Hatfield.
Juvenile Justice Director Jeff Lichtenberg noted Littledeer-Evans first was recognized as a top regional probation officer, then was selected as the best in the state.
Littledeer-Evans started working for Jefferson County in 2000, and was promoted to the position of senior juvenile justice officer in November 2001.
She is in demand as a keynote speaker and to present workshops on bullying, technology safety and other topics, both statewide and nationally. Twice, she has given presentations to the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.
Last year, she took facilator training at the University of Cincinnati on effective practices in community supervision.
"It's an evidence-based program, and Oregon has decided to train all the juvenile justice workers in Oregon in it," she said, adding, she will be one of the trainers.
Eleven years ago, Littledeer-Evans helped found the Girls' Advisory Board locally, to provide fun, educational, and drug-free activities for girls.
"It's a safe place for girls to talk about issues they're facing," Littledeer-Evans said.
One of the most popular events has been the "Chick Flicks," where movies featuring a girl heroine confronting an issue like drugs or teen pregnancy are shown, then discussed. Eighty girls showed up for one Chick Flick, she noted.
Another area where Littledeer-Evans has taken the lead is the county's initiative to reduce the overrepresentation of minority offenders in the juvenile system.
"Our department is working with Native American and Hispanic youths to find ways to reduce their percentages," she said.
She said her department had done an assessment to find out why minority numbers were high and got good feedback.
"A big chunk of our juvenile referrals were substance abuse-related," she said. So, they started doing a "recovery coach" mentor program with BestCare Treatment Services.
Kids going through treatment are assigned a positive adult to help coach them through recovery, in addition to BestCare's counseling.
They found transportation was another big problem. "Lack of transportation was why many don't make it to court hearings, community service, etc.," Littledeer-Evans said. So, her office now has transportation drivers and helps juveniles get to their appointments.
"We are on the second year of a three-year grant to implement this and see if the numbers change," she said.