Panel & Community Forum

Troubled Teens and the Juvenile Justice System in Portland

Presented with Boom Arts

Stay in the theatre after the show or join us just for this special discussion. Who are the real Devons, and how can we keep them safe from harm, and prevent them from harming others? After interviewing the parents of Columbine shooter Dylan Klebold, Andrew Solomon, author of Far from the Tree, wrote that Klebold “was unknowable, he was unknown.”

Especially after Newtown, our collective discussion persists: how can we as a community provide better support for deeply troubled teens and their families? Panelists Mark McKechnie (Executive Director, Youth, Rights, and Justice), Margaret Puckette (author, Raising Troubled Kids), and Dennis Lundberg (Associate Director, Janus Youth Programs) join us to discuss resources available in Portland—from treatment for behavioral disorders to support for navigating the juvenile justice system—as well as the gaps in resources for youth and families who are struggling.

About Our Panelists

Dennis Lundberg is the Associate Director of Janus Youth Programs’ homeless youth services in Portland, Oregon. He has worked with Janus Youth Programs since 2001 and currently oversees the Access Center and the acclaimed street outreach program Yellow Brick Road, which operates every night of the year in downtown Portland and downtown Vancouver. 2008 Mayor Tom Potter awarded Mr. Lundberg the first annual Achievement Award for his outstanding efforts in reaching out to Multnomah County’s most vulnerable homeless youth. Mr. Lundberg is a nationally recognized trainer and consultant for homeless and runaway youth service providers. Since 2011 he has been training the Portland Police Department on homeless youth sub-cultures and trauma informed empathetic engagement strategies for young people surviving outdoors.

Mark McKechnie is the executive director of Youth, Rights & Justice (formerly the Juvenile Rights Project), a non-profit public defense and advocacy organization in Portland. YRJ represents children, youth and parents in the juvenile court system, provides educational advocacy for children in foster care and youth in the juvenile justice system through its SchoolWorks program, and advocates for children’s issues in the Oregon Legislature. Mark received an M.S.W. from Portland State and B.A. from The Evergreen State College. Mark first joined YRJ/JRP as a social worker in 1999; he became director in 2008. He has worked with children and youth in various capacities, including working in residential treatment centers, group homes and community mental health programs, over the last 20 years.

Margaret Puckette is a Certified Parent Support Provider, an accreditation conferred by the Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health, and she is the author of Raising Troubled Kids: Help for Parents of Children with Mental Illness or Emotional Disorders. Her book was inspired by her own experience raising a child with a serious mental disorder. She runs two family support groups in the Portland Metro region for family members of mentally ill children and teenagers, which have been going for 14 years. She has worked 5 years as a professional family partner for families with children in psychiatric residential care and the juvenile justice system. Margaret is regularly sought to speak at mental health conferences, and to provide guest lectures at local universities, including OHSU and Portland State University. Her work has been the subject of news stories on children’s mental health on radio and TV, and in print news.