​Treatment Approaches and Planning

Treatment Approaches

YDC/YFC programs provide an array of treatment services for residents that are individualized, culturally sensitive, and developmentally appropriate. Consistent with the MCPS process, services are delivered via individual counseling, family counseling, group counseling, and skill-building services for each resident.

Services are also aligned with the principles of effective interventions as outlined in Pennsylvania's Juvenile Justice System Enhancement Strategy (JJSES):

  1. Assess risk/need using actuarial instruments
    Use assessments to guide case decisions by applying actuarial and statistically valid tools that describe the "who" (which juveniles will most likely require interventions), the "what" (which specific needs must be addressed to reduce re-offense), and the "how" (how to match interventions with individual's traits) of supervision.

  2. Enhance intrinsic motivation
    Get juveniles treatment-ready and keep them engaged by using motivational interviewing, strength-based approaches and rewards and sanctions.

  3. Target interventions
    Apply a laser-like focus on the criminogenic factors that are proven to be linked to future delinquency and work to enhance those protective factors that act like barriers against delinquent behavior. Pay attention to youths' responsivity factors, including developmental age, gender, ethnic and cultural background, and learning style.

  4. Develop skills through direct practice
    Use behavioral and cognitive behavioral techniques to help medium and high-risk juveniles learn thinking patterns, skills, and behaviors that can reduce their risk of recidivism. Reinforce in the community and family, new skills that youth have learned in treatment and competency development groups.

  5. Increase positive reinforcement
    Use rewards and incentives to encourage prosocial attitudes and behavior. Seek to provide four to six positive affirmations for every message of disapproval.

  6. Encourage ongoing support in natural communities
    Strengthen the influence of prosocial communities in juveniles' lives and support the ability of the family to assist the youth as they learn prosocial values, attitudes, beliefs and skills.

  7. Measure relevant processes and practices
    Ensure that facilities are routinely measuring and documenting key indicators that inform employees whether programs and services are being implemented with sufficient quality and whether indicated changes are occurring.

  8. Provide measurement feedback
    Use data to provide feedback and make adjustments. Outcomes will more likely be improved when feedback is offered to those individuals providing services, developing policy and managing staff.

Treatment Planning

Treatment planning is an active and ongoing process that makes necessary adjustments as a resident's needs change. Treatment planning links a youth's needs with services and interventions that will develop competencies, address treatment issues, reduce the likelihood of recidivism and improve the quality of life for a youth and the communities.

Throughout the YDC/YFC system, treatment plans:

  • Focus on reducing risk factors that, according to assessments, have the greatest impact on recidivism.
  • Place an emphasis on a youth's strengths and building upon them.
  • Identifies a youth's triggers.
  • Meets an individual's culture, gender, language, disabilities, and mental health needs.
  • In essence, the goal is to identify and prioritize the domains that will have the greatest impact on future delinquent behavior, appropriately match services to those areas, and do so in the right dosage and intensity.
  • Encourage long-term behavioral change, with a goal of reduced recidivism and making communities safer.
  • Address triggers or barriers that place youth at further risk for recidivism.
  • Help youth set goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART Goals).
  • Focus priorities for youth.
  • Identify youth's responsibilities and help them take ownership of expectations.
  • Hold youth accountable for their actions.
  • Help youth monitor their progress.

Developing effective Treatment Plans requires an understanding of long-term behavioral change strategies that are grounded in evidence-based practices, the ability to match these strategies with individuals' responsivity factors, and the acquisition of competencies and tools necessary to ensure that one-on-one sessions with juveniles help them build skills that address their criminogenic needs. Once the screening and assessment process is complete, the aforementioned behavioral goal planning and youth specific change process can begin.

Building upon the information amassed from the screening and assessment processes, existing cognitive behavioral programs, skill building programs, evidence-based programs and other services are used by employees to ensure that the necessary competencies are developed and treatment issues addressed.