Memphis Youth Academy

Memphis Youth Academy is a 48-bed residential treatment center for boys ages 13 to 18 years old. The center provides a vast array of programs in categories of Counseling, Education, Clinical and Medical services. Services are provided 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

Program services include 48 slots for mental health treatment for adjudicated youth. The facility has two units that house 24 residents each. Each unit has a multi-purpose room available for therapy groups, school, movies, and dining. There are six resident rooms on each unit which house four residents per room. An outdoor recreational area includes a basketball court.

The program provides at-risk youth an opportunity to learn, through Directive Therapy, ways to interact with authority and peers in a pro-social manner as well as develop better coping skills through group, individual and family sessions in order to successfully reintegrate back into the community. Youth participate in individual, family, and group therapy sessions, social and life skills training, victim impact awareness and restorative justice programming. The length of stay is 7-9 months, and depends on the progress the youth has made in the program toward reducing criminogenic needs and risk factors, addressing the youth’s treatment needs, and increasing the youth’s protective factors.  The anticipated average length of stay depends on the youth’s pace of success in completing the individualized treatment plan and goals. The program’ goal is to equip youth for successful reintegration into the community to live productive, prosocial, and crime-free lives within a permanent placement.

Memphis Youth Academy provides a vast array of programs that are divided into four (4) categories:  Counseling, Educational, Clinical and Medical services. The academy has a staff member who volunteers as Chaplain for services if requested by residents. There is a full-time Recreational Specialist on staff. Youth receive groups daily, individual therapy weekly and as needed, and family therapy twice a month with birth and foster parents. Directive Therapy is used to modify behavior. 

Medical/health services are provided by on-site nursing as well as a contracted physician and psychiatrist. St. Francis Hospital-Bartlett is used for emergency hospital services. Cawthon Clinic (Health Department) is used for medical and dental services, as well as Digmon Dental as a secondary dental service provider. Numerous specialists in the community provide services as needed to the residents.

Individuals are provided breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks daily, which are managed by a licensed dietician, with special medical diets and religious diets provided as needed. Youth receive nightly and monthly incentive activities and canteen. Input on incentives is provided by the Youth Advisory Board. The facility is required by contract to maintain a 1:5 staff to resident ratio during waking hours and a 1:8 staff to resident ratio during sleeping hours. 

Education Department is staffed by an Education Manager, four (4) full-time regular and/or Special Education Teachers, two (2) contract Special Education Teachers who monitor and oversee IDEA, TDOE and DCS Education compliance. There are also three (3) specialized educational tutors who assist the full-time teachers with electives and specialty courses.

The school is approved as a Category 1-SP school as well as a DCS Education In-House School. Students attend school the same number of hours as all public school students, six and a half (6.5) hours per day.  All grades earned are transferable to the student’s home school. HiSet preparation courses are also available.

Memphis AcademyMemphis Youth Academy maintains Joint Commission Accreditation. 

Facility serves both dependent/neglect and adjudicated youth who need intensive mental health treatment. The program is contracted under the TN Department of Children’s Services (DCS).


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