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Community Solutions for Youth
PowerPoint Presentation: County Solutions for Kids in Trouble (Feb 2013)
Texas is building a more effective juvenile justice system. The old system – which sent thousands of kids to large remote state facilities each year – fostered dangerous conditions for incarcerated youth, likely increased recidivism, and wasted millions of tax dollars. As we learn from those mistakes, our new system is making a wiser investment in county programs that connect kids and their families to community resources. Research and Texas’ experience confirm that these community programs are better at getting our kids on the right path and keeping them on the right path, at a fraction of the cost of state secure facilities.
Over the past year, TCJC has had the opportunity to visit county juvenile departments across Texas and speak with youth on probation. We learned about the best practices that many counties are implementing successfully, often on a shoestring budget. We also learned about the need for increased oversight and guidance, especially regarding seclusions, restraints, pre-adjudication detention, family visitation, and reentry planning. This new in-depth report, Community Solutions for Youth in Trouble, is a result of those conversations.
We hope this report will be the start of conversations in your community about how to support the best possible juvenile justice system. At the end of each section of this report, we have listed questions to help get those conversations started. You can also find out more about your county’s juvenile justice system – and compare with other counties – in the county data sheets in the second appendix.
Each program in this report has been successful even under the considerable real-world constraints that county juvenile departments face. Whether your county is struggling with mental health services, the use of seclusions and restraints, reentry planning, or some other juvenile justice concern, this report can help identify solutions that have worked for other counties like yours.