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Discharge Planning Services

For a number of years, the Department of Juvenile Justice operated CBI, the Community Based Intervention Program, within the community to fulfill its Charter mandate to provide both prevention and aftercare services to youth. The program, which began in 1983 was an award winning program based on an intensive case management approach to youth and their families. As the needs of the City and the agency have evolved, it became important to evaluate the best use of agency resources to best serve youth in our care. After careful evaluation, it was determined that transitioning the staff posted in the community back to DJJ facilities to work with youth while in detention to better prepare them for services was most beneficial for those youth involved.

DJJ has merged the concepts of CBI into its Discharge Planning Unit to work with youth, their families, and organizations in the community to best link youth to services. The program is operated in three phases. The first phase has established units within each of the three secure facilities to identify youth with medical and serious mental health issues which require follow-up upon their release from DJJ. Clearly much has been learned from our work with youth both in detention and in the community which points to a broad range of needs that go beyond medical and serious mental health needs.


The second phase of the CBI/Discharge Planning program works with youth and their families while they are in detention to help them identify service needs and help them connect with appropriate aftercare services. DJJ, through the services provided in detention, is able to identify issues that we work to address while the youth is in detention, but issues that ultimately need to be addressed upon release. Literacy, truancy, HIV-education, risk reduction education, alcohol/substance abuse prevention/treatment, tobacco cessation, violence reduction, conflict resolution, computer skills, life skills, anger management, artistic development, sports skills, and leadership development are just a few of the areas that youth need to address and develop. DJJ’s service delivery to youth while they are in our custody is closely linked to exposing youth to appropriate service areas through group discussions, activities, reinforcment in our schools, orientation programs, our behavioral management program - ASPIRE, and other programs and services. It is the objective of the second phase of CBI/Discharge Planning that every youth leave DJJ with a discharge plan to link them to appropriate aftercare services.


As this phase of the program evolves, the staff who formerly worked in the community as CBI workers will build on those relationships with community based organizations that were in place, and establish new ones. DJJ will look to create partnerships with other City agencies, with whom we share youth. We have worked closely with the Department of Education, DYCD, Department of Health, ACS, Probation, and a number of agencies who work toward the betterment of youth. The second phase of the Discharge Planning program will enable us, in partnership with Community Based Organizations who work with youth and appropriate governmental agencies, to implement a seamless transition for youth to services that will enable them and their families to successfully negotiate school, employment, social experiences, and other paths to success.

The third phase of the program is the culmination of work accomplished in phase one and two, enabling us to measure the effectiveness of helping youth and their families identify needs and connect with appropriate aftercare services. By working with community based providers to ensure that young high-risk youth are part of their service system, agencies are able to modify programs to ensure inclusion. Youth who come into custody are often facing a myriad of complex needs, their alleged criminal activity is just one aspect. The Discharge Planning unit assumes an advocacy role for our residents and works with agencies to identify youth in the community before they become involved in the criminal justice system. Utilizing a service model which works with the family and the resident connecting them to services, we seek to positively impact youth by directing them to other supportive systems, ultimately diverting them away from the criminal justice system.

Through contract with several community-based organizations that started in 2005, DJJ began offering workshops and related services to its residents designed to help detained youth in dealing with mental health, social and life issues while they are in and after they leave detention. Gender specific services for girls, and conflict resolution and peer mediation training, literacy individual and group tutorials for our residents are among the recent service features that have been added to programs designed to meet the changing needs of detained youth. The Department also offers a series of personal and professional development workshops covering sereval subject areas.

Related Links
NYC Family Court
NYS Office of Children and Family Services
Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention
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