The Children’s Village President and CEO Dr. Jeremy Kohomban testified before the NYC Council’s Committee on Juvenile Justice on September 21. Citing research and frontline experience, his testimony highlighted the critical need for family engagement to the long-term success of youth involved with the justice system. Dr. Kohomban concluded with three specific recommendations. More Info
The Family Court Assistance Program
When a teen first gets into trouble, it can be the beginning of a downward spiral or the wakeup call he or she needs.
CV’s non-secure detention program, called the Family Court Assistance Program, or FCAP, works with Westchester youth who have committed petty crimes or whose families have petitioned the court to help them with their child’s unruly behavior through a PINS (person in need of supervision) petition. The goal of the program is to provide a safe place for the youth to stay during this interim period as well as for CV’s professionals to provide the court with the kind of diagnostic information that will help them decide on the best services and placement. In most cases, youth are returned to their families with in-home support to help the families deal with risky behavior. The Family Court Assistance Program serves 12 boys and 12 girls, who live in two cottages on CV’s Dobbs Ferry campus.
Each youth has a comprehensive service plan that is developed by team members in conjunction with youth and family. Social workers, nurses, psychiatrists and psychologists meet with youth, as required, and the program provides both individual and group support on issues such as social development/relationship skills, legal issues, career planning, HIV/AIDS, safe sex and pregnancy prevention, study skills. All youth attend school in the program with instruction provided by certified teachers from CV’s campus school, Greenburgh Eleven.
FCAP operates on the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support (PBIS) model. This evidence-based methodology for behavioral interaction was designed originally in the schools. Because of its structure and the fact that 80s strength-based, it is ideal for a non-secure detention setting.
PBIS organizes adults and children to create a social culture in which the environment encourages positive behavior interactions while discouraging problem behaviors. This social culture provides a safe environment for children where they can build self-esteem, develop positive relationships with others, and improve their social and academic abilities.
For youth who have PINS or JD cases pending, but who can be maintained in the community rather than in non-secure detention, Children’s Village operates an Alternative to Detention Program (ATD) in collaboration with the Westchester County Judicial System and the Probation Division.
The ATD program provides support, community services, and structure to youth to help them maintain their probation orders/conditions and operates a hotline to ensure that youth have access to help should a crisis develop. Staff coordinate with Probation and the Westchester Family Court and, if youth pose a behavioral risk, may recommend a higher level of care.