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December 2016


QA Forum Awards Ceremony - December 2016
Written by Jillian Lombardi

On Friday, December 2nd, 2016, CSI staff of the Alternative in the Community (AIC) programs were honored at the biannual Quality Assurance Forum held by the Connecticut Judicial Branch's Court Support Services Division (JBCSSD).

The ceremony took place at Central Connecticut State University's (CCSU) Institute of Technology and Business Development building in New Britain, CT. The forum was an inviting and friendly setting, where the conference room was filled with group tables, warm hugs, and mingling until the ceremony began.

The Quality Assurance Forum is a place where multiple providers come together to congratulate and award their agency's employees for their hard work and commitment to bettering the lives of the clients and communities they serve.

Judy McCusker, CSI's Director of Training and Quality Assurance, opened the forum announcing it as a "celebration of excellence" and introduced the QA coaches who work with the awarded staff to get them to the point of excellence and as their partners in this journey.

Barbara Lanza, Program Manager of CT AICs, welcomed all to the QA Forum by, "celebrating the accomplishments of those who work directly with our clients and who are the real change agents for the clients across the state of Connecticut."

Followed by Ms. Lanza's welcoming remarks, the stage was handed off to JBCSSD's Executive Director, Stephen Grant who reflected on the efforts for the well-deserved recognitions of excellence. Mr. Grant's remarks highlighted the "four things that speak to the nature and intent of this event." Mr. Grant stressed the following four topics touching on: funding and the importance of preserving QA as being a part of JBCSSD's core, the support that each agency involved with the AICs has given to each of the awarded staff, how partnering with CSI as the leading agency in QA has turned into a highly valued collaborative rapport, and the importance of each of the individual staff receiving awards at the ceremony.

A special shout out and round of applause was given to CSI, led by Mr. Grant, for being the leading agency with assisting the state in preserving and maintaining QA and being a vital asset to clients receiving the best outcomes possible.

This ceremony was the first time the Job Developer Award was honored at the QA Forum. The award was introduced by Brian Delude of JBCSSD, "as well-deserved and long overdue." Mr. Delude emphasized the importance of the Job Developer role and how it is "quite possibly one of the most challenging roles at the AIC." Mr. Delude went on to explain all of the facets required to successfully execute this position while keeping clients motivated and engaged.

The following CSI staff received awards in a number of categories:

General Awards
    Engagement - Mike Cancellaro (Norwich AIC), Tyler Hancock (Danbury AIC), Nathan McKelvey (Norwich AIC), Wilfred Robinson (Bridgeport AIC), Daniel Shopey (Torrington AIC), Nnedinma Umeugo (Bridgeport AIC), Rhonda Wilson (Danbury AIC)
    Role Model - Samuel Goode (New London AIC)
    Rookie - Taylor Buchanan (Norwich AIC), Robert Coyne (Bridgeport AIC), Brittany Francis (Bridgeport AIC), Samuel Goode (New London AIC), Deon Hardison (Bridgeport AIC), Julia Medeiros (Norwich AIC), Sherice Reid (Bridgeport AIC)

Intervention Champions
    Michael Cancellaro (Norwich AIC), Heather Deleon (Torrington AIC), Maria Clow, Alison Foito, Jocelyn Kingwood, Marilyn Quintanilla, Rosa Quintanilla, Ramon Ramos, and Wilfred Robinson (Bridgeport AIC)

Job Developers
    Alison Zaccagnini (Danbury AIC), Gidgit Farhina (Norwich AIC), Rick Dalla Valle (Torrington AIC)


Community Solutions Inc.

AIC staff receiving the Job Developer Award from JBCSSD's Brian Delude

CSI was one amongst many criminal justice agencies serving the State of Connecticut clients involved with AIC services. Other organizations who attended and were honored include: Community Partners in Action, Wheeler Clinic, Perception Programs, Inc., and Forensic Health Services, Inc.

As a part of the QA process, all AIC staff members participate in a series of state facilitated trainings and are required to tape their client interventions. The QA process ensures that fidelity to the services provided in the AIC programs are being delivered with the highest level of service to the clients. Mr. Grant mentioned the importance we place on the content and quality of interactions with our clients by emphasizing, "the research is categorically and emphatically clear that when adherence to fidelity is high and client engagement is genuinely and thoughtfully practiced, the client receives a better outcome."

CSI operates five AICs, which accepts clients as part of a diversionary program. AIC programs provide services to individuals on Pre-Trial, Probation, Post Release Community Supervision and Mandatory Supervision, funded by the Connecticut Judicial Department's Court Support Services Division (JBCSSD). The programs also provide services to probation and parole pre-violators as well as to offenders who are sentenced as an alternative to incarceration. CSI has operated these programs for over 23 years.

CSI, as the lead organization for QA in the State of Connecticut, is extremely prideful that the QA process and measures in place, have been able to acknowledge the hard work dedication and professional care of the staff for all AICs in the state, including the help of our QA coaches.

Community Solutions Inc.

The CCSU Institute of Technology and Business Development conference room filled with AIC staff