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Facilities and Programs for Juveniles in Missouri - A Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
25 pages
This report discusses the treatment and educational programs used by Missouri's Division of Youth Services (DYS) and recommends solutions to problems reported.
Formed in 1974, DYS is mandated to administer a comprehensive youth services program, including institutions, group homes, foster care, and aftercare. The agency has over 700 employees and an annual budget of about $13 million. The division serves youths between ages 12 and 18 who have been adjudicated as delinquent or status offenders. All commitments are for an indefinite time period, although the average length of stay is about 6 months. Program assignments are made through a classification specialist's evaluations, using the principle of the least restrictive environment. DYS operates 2 large institutions, 2 regional youth centers, 15 group homes, and 4 park camps. All facilities use group treatment, mostly Positive Peer Culture, but the institutions' programs are more structured than are those of the group homes and park camps. Individual treatment is only available on a service purchase basis. Witnesses at hearings have criticized Positive Peer Culture for its lack of individual treatment and for youths' ability to bluff through it. DYS institutions provide both academic and vocational education in addition to treatment. During fiscal year 1978, 58 aftercare workers supervised 1,388 youths. The average aftercare supervision period is 7 months. Aftercare problems include counselors' excessive travel time and lack of community resources. Among recommendations are that the legislature support DYS programs, group treatment at the training school for girls be continued, other treatment be implemented for youth not benefiting from Positive Peer Culture, and DYS programs balance treatment and education. Further recommendations are noted. Over 40 notes, an appended table, and a flow chart are included.