Children, youth, and families in the Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare Systems are provided services to reduce risk factors and increase protective factors to support long term health and wellness. Programming goals support families staying together and youth remaining in the community. To meet family needs staff provides these services in the home, community, and schools.
Research has shown youth who spend increased time in detention/correctional settings have poorer outcomes. As a result, alternative sanctions provide consequences for youth who violate a court order that do not include secure detention. These options include community service along with Evening and Weekend Reports. Reports provide youth with time to reflect on their actions and consequences by working on skill building, anger management, and moral reasoning. Youth are also given time to work on homework since school is a very important part of a youth's future. Youth are referred to alternative sanctions by their JJS.
Youth who develop caring relationships with supportive adults and peers do better in school, in their communities, and at home. Community groups provide time and resources for youth to explore their social and emotional growth and development in a fun way. Developing and Inspiring Values Among Sisters (DIVAS) is a girls group that promotes healthy female choices by exploring spirituality, culture, emotions, and environmental needs and issues. The Council is a young men's group providing a safe environment to explore relationships and culture focusing on topics such as bullying, power, influence, competition, diversity, and aggression. The Early Intervention Program is a co-ed group designed to address anger management, skill development, and moral reasoning for youth. Youth are referred to these groups by their Rock County caseworker.
In addition to groups, staff can meet individually with youth, parents, and/or families to develop and work on goals to address poor behaviors, unhealthy choices, skill building, and court orders specific to families remaining intact. Some of the goals youth have chosen to work on are better handling strong emotions such as anger, regularly attending school to improve grades, and finding positive extracurricular activities. Parenting support comes in the form of staff facilitating family interactions with younger youth. Staff also assists caregivers with developing the skills to parent with developmentally appropriate interventions. Referrals from this program come from County case managers.
School Resource Program
First time juvenile offenses often occur at school leading to a large percentage of juveniles being arrested at school or receiving a charge from a situation that occurred at school. County staff supports students by incorporating groups into the school day to decrease risk factors and encourage better choices at school. Referrals for this program come from school staff and faculty. County case managers can also refer specific youth.