Did you know that over one million children in America end up in juvenile court each year? The statistics don’t lie, and what’s worse is that double that number are arrested. While these youth end up anywhere from detention centers to treatment facilities or correctional institutions, these remedial efforts do little to curb the problem.
In fact, most children that enter the system end up in worse shape than before they went in. These settings often lead to crippling depression, increase delinquent behaviors, and are riddled with abuse. The problem has caused professionals to seek out better options for dealing with troubled teens. Here are some possible solutions.
The Family-Centered Approach
Psychologists and family therapists are looking away from diversion programs because they lack family involvement and create an over-emphasis on problem behaviors instead of focusing on solutions. Instead, experts turn to focusing on the strengths of these children as well as their families instead of their weaknesses.
It’s called the family-centered approach and works as a type of intervention focused on identifying problem behaviors, developing effective strategies for adulthood success, and creating a network of support for each teen. All three aspects are tailored to the individual, making them unique to each child.
Families have the support of therapists, counselors, and social workers both in and out of school settings to help their child curb delinquent behavior and succeed in life. Other experts, like a juvenile defense attorney, can also be a part of this support system.
At the same time, the approach looks at what aspects of the family need addressed in addition to the child’s behavior, creating a more fruitful environment for everyone involved. This also helps professionals identify the causes behind troubled behavior.
The situation-judgement inventory is an assessment device created as a result of a 10-week behavioral intervention program in Connecticut. The program utilizes writing prompts, roleplay, and guided discussion to help teens better understand their behavior. It also allows them to own up to their actions, taking on a higher level of responsibility.
The assessment device is used to monitor compliance to the program while seeing what socially oriented changes are working in a youth’s behavior and thinking. The program is implanted in detention centers, usually on more serious offenders, and has found incredible success in making these centers more than just a holding ground for future criminals.
Family Support Centers
Akin to the family-centered approach, these centers aim to do away with the current and failing centers offered to troubled youth. After all other resources are exhausted, families can bring their kids to these centers where a tiered approach to curb their behavior takes place.
First, there’s an initial screening and assessment. This is followed by crafting goals with the child and the family about home life, school, and community. From there, 24/7 intervention services are offered for everything from mediation to educational support.
Support is tailored to the set goals and crafted by professionals ranging from psychologists to tutors and legal professionals like a family law attorney. The program has seen a 41% decline in status-offense complaints as well as court cases for status-offense dropping from 50% to just 4%. Better yet, it saves roughly $6,000 per child for treatment.