OJA Hires Director of Behavioral Health Services

Mike Seals - August 25, 2020 10:24 pm

OKLAHOMA CITY (Aug. 25, 2020) — A licensed professional counselor has been hired as director of behavioral health services for the Office of Juvenile Affairs (OJA) as the agency continues to strive to provide care for some of the state’s most vulnerable youth.

Sharon “Shel” Millington-Daves previously worked at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center’s (OUHSC) Center on Child Abuse and Neglect, where since 2014 she served as co-director and lead clinician of the Treatment Program for Children with Problematic Sexual Behavior for school-age children and the Adolescents with Illegal Sexual Behavior Program. She oversaw the coordination of all the problematic sexual behavior treatment programs. Her clinical experiences include evidence-based interventions for children with disruptive behavior disorders, children and adolescents with problematic sexual behavior, and assessment of children prenatally exposed to alcohol and other drugs.

She also partnered closely with both OJA and the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) to ensure care coordination and treatment delivery occurred on a unified front.

“Through my work at OUHSC, I was fortunate to see firsthand OJA’s invaluable work to advocate and support the youth of Oklahoma,” Millington-Daves said. “I am eager to join OJA’s ongoing reform and advocacy to shape the futures of this important population of individuals.”

As director of behavioral health services, Millington-Daves will lead the design and implementation of treatment programs and supports for contracted providers both in the community and across OJA’s residential programs

“Her expertise to work collaboratively, build programs and direct intensive outpatient programs for higher-risk youth will elevate OJA’s ability to serve Oklahoma families,” said OJA interim Executive Director Rachel Holt.

The hiring of Millington-Daves signifies OJA’s ongoing shift in juvenile justice, highlighting that youth have enormous promise to be successful if given the right opportunities and support.

In September, OJA named Dr. Paul Shawler, a researcher in early childhood intervention, prevention of child abuse and neglect, and prevention and intervention programs designed to improve healthy relationships and reduce problematic sexual behavior in children and adolescents, as its chief psychologist. Last month, Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Oklahoma is ranked 9th in the country on its juvenile custody rate (per 100,000 children), which is overseen by OJA. Oklahoma’s rate is 53 per 100,000; the national rate is 138 per 100,000. OJA’s juvenile custody rate decreased 7.25% in the past quarter and 13.8% in the past year.

This is significant because the youth who come into OJA’s care are complex with numerous Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). More than 70% of youth at-risk or involved in juvenile justice have a diagnosable mental health condition and roughly 80% have been served by OKDHS.

Millington-Daves’ expertise in early childhood prevention, diversion, and intervention programs will help the agency meet this growing need, Holt said.

“She will continue to bolster OJA and its contract partners to deliver state-of-the-art, evidence-based treatments,” said Holt. “It is OJA’s goal to ensure each youth receive the right treatment, in the right dose, and at the right time to put youth on a trajectory of success. It is exciting that she brings a wealth of expertise, including the treatment for youth with disruptive behavior problems, childhood trauma, problematic sexual behavior, prenatal substance exposure, and family-based interventions that promote positive youth development. She is motivated to bring these treatments into communities across the state.”

Millington-Daves will help OJA’s juvenile justice specialists across the state by supporting the development and monitoring of the individual service and treatment plan for youth in the agency’s care across the state.

Millington-Daves received her Master of Arts in counseling psychology from the University of Central Oklahoma and earned a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Oklahoma State University. During her time at OUHSC’s Center on Child Abuse and Neglect, she directed numerous treatment programs and trained on a national stage developing treatment providers to best help children, teens, and their families.


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