St. Louis County Courts

FAMILY COURT MEETING MINUTES

December 4, 2018

Those Present:  Judges Donnelly, Essner, Zellweger, Dunne, Schroeder, Hardin-Tammons, and Hilton, Commissioner Cunningham, Tom Weber, Terri Johnson, Cindy Smith, Ben Burkemper, and Michelle LaBeaume

The following non-members were present for the Disproportionate Minority Contact presentation:  Jacqueline Cuncannan and Emily Keller, attorneys from the Department of Justice, Mark Greenwald, Director of Research for the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice and DMC Auditor, Mark Grim, retired Judge from Berks County, Pennsylvania and Independent Auditor, Brad Wing, the Research Manager for the Family Court, and Christy Bertelson, Public Information Officer.

Disproportionate Minority Contact Bi-Annual Report Presentation

Brad Wing distributed a handout entitled, “In the Best Interest of our Kids: An Examination of 2017 – 2018 Disproportionate Minority Contact Data.” He provided a power point presentation for the Bi-Annual Report. 

As part of Brad’s presentation, he discussed the results of the 3rd Bi-Annual DMC Report.  He collected and examined data from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018.  The data contained an overlap with the previous report period from the 2nd Bi-Annual report that covered the calendar year 2017.  He wanted to include current data for the first half of 2018 to have a sufficient amount of data to do the analysis.

Brad gave an overview of what the frequency data shows in terms of representation of various youth by race and ethnicity at each contact point: referrals, referrals informally resolved, secure detention admissions, petitioners, formal cases in which the Court found charges of delinquency to be true, commitments to DYS, and certifications to adult court. He showed the disproportionate minority contact relative rate indices that are designed to detect disproportionality at each contact point and whether one group has more contact with the juvenile justice system than another group at any of the points mentioned above. 

A synopsis of the data showed the large volume of referrals of black youth at the front end were disproportionate.  With the large number of referrals of black youth at the front end, it was determined that this influences every subsequent contact point. While the Family Court cannot control what is referred, Brad stated that it is important to work on referrals with community partners and referral sources.  Statistical evidence shows that this large volume translates into disproportionality for black youth at several stages in the juvenile justice system. 

Brad also indicated it is essential to find other means to address the needs of the youth and to get a handle on referrals that are made that are found to be insufficient and to reduce the likelihood that law enforcement agencies will make certain referrals that will very likely be rejected. 

That evening, Brad delivered the same power point presentation at the Administration Building of the University City School District.  The Court partnered with the Children’s Services Fund staff to advertise the event in hopes to recruit community partners and family members to attend. The plan was to ensure the understanding of the issues and find strategies going forward to address any issues of disproportionality and disparities.

Old/New Business

No report was provided.

A motion was made by Judge Hilton, seconded by Judge Schroeder, to adjourn the meeting.  All were in favor.

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