Juvenile Justice

A True Therapeutic Environment

In 2012, New York City created its Close to Home program to allow teens who have been involved in criminal behavior to live in therapeutic residential sites near their homes and communities. In years prior, teens who had committed crimes in New York were often sent upstate to prison-like juvenile facilities that did little to help youth get back on track. They made it hard for families to visit and next to impossible for them to have a real say in their rehabilitation program.

Close to Home was created to provide a true therapeutic environment for these young men and women that focuses on education, work skills, and structure using evidence-based models of care and behavior management. And, importantly, the program includes families throughout the process.
Close to Home has two types of facilities, non-secure and limited secure. In both, the teens come from family court, not criminal court. When the court feels a youth is at risk of running away or needs more structure than available in non-secure facilities, he or she will be sent to a limited secure facility.

Children’s Village operates both non-secure and limited secure cottages for boys on our Dobbs Ferry campus and a non-secure residential site for girls in Staten Island. CV focuses on youth with special needs such as substance abuse or serious emotional disturbance, and provides strong clinical support.

Clinical Support While in Care and After Returning Home

We provide comprehensive clinical support to teens while in the program and intensive support to their families during the transition home using the evidence-informed Integrated Treatment Model (ITM). This model was developed at Washington State for use with youth in correctional facilities and their families and has shown dramatic results in reducing re-arrest.

ITM is an integration of two models, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and Multisystemic Therapy-Family Integrated Transitions (MST-FIT). Dialectical Behavioral Therapy was developed specifically for youth with extensive histories of trauma and behavioral issues to help them with problem-solving, interpersonal relationships, and emotional skills. All staff are trained in DBT skills, and youth become adept at talking about issues and working out problems using DBT. We also train parents in the use of DBT strategies so they and their children are talking the same language and working out issues together.

When youth are ready to return home, we provide 4 to 6 months of intensive support using MST-FIT. The transition home is the highest-risk period for youth in the juvenile justice system. They are going from a highly structured setting to a home environment with access to all the temptations that got them in trouble to begin with. Our highly trained therapists work side by side with caregivers in the home, helping them to develop the skills and strategies to support their struggling teenager to be successful for the long term.

Change a child's life.