Without improvement and expansion in “front-end” solutions and alternatives to punitive forms of confinement of at-risk and delinquent youth, we perpetuate a cycle of issues and dysfunction that does little to effect true long-term individual or systemic change. Simply locking kids up does not work. Without solutions that address root causes for the individual and their families, and without supports that strengthen the family and their engagement, we run the risk of sending these youth deeper into the system with unresolved challenges. The only legitimate path to long-term change and reducing recidivism is through providing best-practice education, prevention and treatment programs. Including in the most serious of cases with the most aggressive youth, ensuring that youth are in the right place, for the right reason, with access to the right services based on their individual needs and risks, we are all served more effectively.
YOI’s commitment to youth extends to our national partnerships in bringing research, continual improvement, and public awareness to the issues we face. Along with our involvement with initiatives such as Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators, Performance-based Standards Learning Institute, and the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, documentary film makers Calamari Productions have, for nearly a decade, featured the work of Mike Dempsey and other juvenile justice professionals such as case managers and judges to bring to light the challenges facing the juvenile justice system and the need for reform.
YOI provides comprehensive, top to bottom program and facility management solutions that are designed to address the full spectrum of needs for youth in both short and long-term care commitments. From educational/vocational services or partnerships, basic care and custody, mental health and substance abuse programming, delinquency prevention, cultural education, recreational activities, mentoring opportunities, and so forth, YOI's owned and managed facilities present an opportunity for the youth to engage in a therapeutic community with peers and caring staff and clinical professionals. Our organizational philosophy is rooted in our goal of providing safe, meaningful, and living changing environments for the kids.
YOI structures our services to improve coping and functioning skills within each individual youth by using a strengths-based approach, while incorporating individual, group, and family counseling, trauma informed care, motivational interviewing techniques, and post-discharge support planning. With our focus on providing a therapeutic and supportive environment of care and sense of community within every facility, we work to build connections to self for the youth and with others, and creating the foundation that everyone has value.
We believe in working collectively with youth, their families, placement agencies, the Courts, Probation staff, our partners, and the community in building and sustaining program and education models that make youths' time in commitment meaningful, regardless of whether they are with us for two days or 12 months, promoting long-term positive outcomes. This same network of stakeholders, including ourselves, has a responsibility to ensure we prevent unnecessary and ineffective deep-end incarceration when youth are committed to residential care facilities or detention facilities.
A Philosophy of Accountability
We do not, and cannot, function in a vacuum and be successful. Through cooperation, collaboration, data collection, and innovation, YOI belongs to a national community that shares in the responsibility for getting it right for our youth.