Alternatives For Youth: A Mental Health Perspective

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Authors
Steinman, Carolyn Anne
Issue Date
1-May-11
Type
Dissertation
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en_US
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Abstract
Since the 1980's, the common practice in handling juvenile justice involved youth in the United States has been with punitive sanctions and institutional placement. The general agreement among policy makers, politicians and juvenile justice professionals is that there is a better way to help these young men and women than with institutional placement or detention. It has been shown that most youth involved in the juvenile justice system can be better served by community based supports grounded in evidence based principles and practices. The purpose of this study was to discover the factors associated with successful outcomes and failures for youth involved in a juvenile justice diversion program in Suffolk County, New York. The subjects in this research project were all participants in the Suffolk County Alternatives For Youth Program during their first year of operation, from October 2005 until October 2006 (573 youth). AFY uses a wraparound approach involving the collaboration and coordination of juvenile justice, child welfare, mental health and other youth service providers to provide short term intensive assessment and intervention services. The objective of this program is to provide at risk youth and families referrals to services and supports needed to prevent involvement in the juvenile justice system. Through examining the juvenile justice outcomes of the AFY participants, 85% (n=486) did not require any additional court involvement or placement up to five years post AFY intake. Of the remaining 87 participants, 71 (12.4%) were deemed a juvenile delinquent and 16 (2.8%) were adjudicated a PINS (status offender) by Suffolk County Family Court. The outcome data also showed that only 1.9% or 11 youth (of 573 AFY participants) were placed in a residential facility, and only 4.9% (28) of the AFY youth received probation (or Juvenile Treatment Court?).
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The Graduate School, Stony Brook University: Stony Brook, NY.
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