CHILDREN'S LAW CENTER

Status Offense Project

Community-Based Programs & Services

While there are a limited number of programs designed specifically for status offenders, a number of services have proven effective in addressing the underlying problems and responding to the needs of these youths and their families. Click on the links below to learn more about available programs and services:

SC Department of Juvenile Justice Programs

  • Family Solutions is a 10-week family-centered intervention program that targets first time offenders, and simultaneously addresses the needs common to DJJ juveniles and their families. Parents and youth can be court ordered to complete a FS cycle or it may be used as a diversionary tool. The objective is to enable the parents to work effectively with their children as they embrace positive and pro-social interactions.            
  • Gang Resistance and Education Training (G.R.E.A.T.) - The goal of the G.R.E.A.T. Program is to help youth develop positive life skills that will help them avoid gang involvement and violent behavior. G.R.E.A.T uses a communitywide approach to combat the risk factors associated with youth involvement in gang-related behaviors.
  • Girl’s Circle is a program for girls ages 9 to 18. The program is designed to foster self-esteem, help girls maintain authentic connection with peers and adult women in their community, counter trends toward self-doubt, and allow for genuine self-expression through verbal sharing and creative activity. Conducted by trained local DJJ county office female staff, the Girl’s Circle groups consist of 5 to 10 girls who meet once weekly for 1 to 2 hours and follow a unique 6-step format. Topics include friendship, body image, female identify, stereotypes, trusting self and others, aggression and dating violence, diversity and cultural heritage, relationships, substance abuse and risk behaviors, goal setting, and self-care.
  • Short-term Alternative Placement (STAP) Homes are utilized as an alternative to detention for runaways and incorrigible youths. DJJ contracts with Therapeutic Foster Care Providers, Shelter Care Providers and Temporary De-escalation Group Care Providers to offer this service.
  • Teen After-School Centers (TASC) - DJJ has partnered with local churches, community centers, and other youth serving organizations across the state to provide TASCs. These centers offer structured time, activities, and supervision between the end of the school day and when parents return from work, which is a risky time for young people, and when serious and violent crime committed by youth increases. This nationally recognized program is specifically designed to reduce the likelihood that participants could be incarcerated and is geared toward those youth in need of additional structure and assistance, often supplementing the normal supervision that DJJ provides to youth on probation, parole, or on contract.   
  • Teen After-School Centers “Plus” (TASC+) is a new after-school and summer employability skills training program for at-risk high school youth developed in close collaboration with SLED, the SC Department of Commerce, and community partners in the two project sites in Laurens and Walterboro. This new initiative builds upon the successful TASC model, adding a strong employability component to the array of services already provided by TASC. The program will serve up to 60 students per year at each of the two sites, with sessions in the fall, spring, and summer.
  • Wrap-around Services (WRAP) are additional support services which are provided to juveniles under DJJ supervision and at risk of placement or institutionalization. These services include transportation and behavior modification services provided by private providers. Transportation services assist the youth and families in accessing the required appointments and services, while behavior modification offers a service plan with the goal of altering behavior that is inappropriate or undesirable, while optimizing behavioral functioning.

To access “Local Resources by County” on the Department of Juvenile Justice website: click here.

SC Department of Mental Health Services

  • Assessment - a professional determination of an individual's or family's problems taking into consideration factors contributing to the problems as well as the assets and resources available to the individual or family. Recommendations for treatment and other services are based on the assessment.
  • Individual and Family Counseling
  • Intensive Family Services (IFS) is a program that offers a unique combination of rehabilitative behavioral health services that focus on strengthening the family unit in the community. Service plan development, individual therapy, family therapy, family support, and crisis intervention services are offered in the youth’s home setting several hours each week.
  • Multi-Systemic Therapy (MST) is a family-and home-based treatment that strives to change how youth function in their natural settings-home, school, and neighborhood-in ways that promote positive social behavior while decreasing antisocial behavior.  This “multisystemic” approach views individuals as being surrounded by a network of interconnected systems that encompass individual, family, and extra familial (peer, school, neighborhood) factors and recognizes that intervention often is necessary in a combination of these systems.  Most significantly, the conceptual framework of MST fits closely with the known causes of delinquency and substance abuse.  (Consortium on Children, Families, and the Law; Fact Sheet MST: An Overview).
  • School-Based Services provides mental health services to individuals and families in a more comfortable, less restrictive, less stigmatizing environment in the local community schools. This program provides: individual, family and group treatment, crisis intervention appointments, home visits, teacher/school staff consultations, teacher in services, classroom education groups, summer camps, after school programs and consultation on student assistant teams.
  • Wraparound Services consists of an array of flexible, treatment-based, goal-directed support services rendered in the child's home, and available to families on a 24-hour basis. Services include behavior managers, positive role models, transportation, etc. Wraparound services maximize family participation in the treatment process. The department provides many of these services directly, as well as contracts with qualified private providers as the child/family needs dictate.

To link to a list of community mental health centers and their satellite offices on the Department of Mental Health website: click here.

Best Practices: York County

York County has been very proactive in responding to status offense cases by developing and relying on the following community-based programs and services that have proven to be successful interventions:

  • Project CARE is a program developed by the 16th Circuit Solicitor’s Office Juvenile Division.  Referrals are made by law enforcement, and in some cases by the parent or guardian. The parent(s)/guardian(s) and the juvenile meet with the Program Manager, who makes referrals to mental health services, drug and alcohol counseling, Project Right Turn, and/or DJJ programs such as Family Solutions.  If the juvenile refuses to cooperate with services and the juvenile’s behavior does not improve, an incorrigibility petition may be filed and the juvenile may be brought before the court and ordered to comply with services.
  • School-Based Counselors, through the Catawba Family Center (the local mental health center) provide counseling at the school during school hours. This is a very beneficial service for those with transportation limitations and allows for timely intervention when issues arise in the school setting.
  • DJJ Community-Based Programs - The Solicitor’s Office works closely with their local DJJ office and makes referrals to Choices, DJJ Impact Class, Family Solutions, Girls Circle, Boys to Men, and the Teen After-School Center.
  • Teen After-School Center is a program run through the Boys and Girls Club of York County in the Rock Hill School District, the Catawba Indian Nation Reservation, and, on a limited basis, in the Clover School District.  It allows youth a place to go after school to socialize, get help with homework, learn new activities, and stay out of trouble. 
  • Truancy Alternative Program (TAP) was developed by the Solicitor’s Office in 2013 for first-time truants in York County.  Students with attendance problems are referred to the program by the school after completing the Truancy Intervention Plan as required by law. Instead of being referred to court for truancy, students who qualify are placed by the Solicitor into the TAP program.  A “hearing” is held with the juvenile, the parent(s)/guardian(s), and representatives from the school district and DJJ.  At the hearing, appropriate services to assist the student with attending school and sanctions to encourage cooperation with the services are determined. The school is encouraged to assist through providing incentives to attend school regularly, such as credit recovery and tutoring.  Cases are staffed each week with the school, Catawba Family Center, and DJJ.  The case does not go before a family court judge unless the juvenile does not cooperate with the program.
  • The Choice is Yours - The 16th Circuit Solicitor’s Office Juvenile Division developed a relationship with the Carolina Panthers and collaborates with them to offer this impactful program. Juveniles (typically those charged with runaway and incorrigibility, but referrals are also made for truants and criminal offenders) and their parents attend a one-hour session on a Thursday night. The Carolina Panthers organization assists with scheduling current and former NFL, NBA, etc. players to speak to the juveniles and their parents about how they have been able to stay on or get back on the right track.  After hearing the motivational presentation, the parents attend a parenting session with a counselor while the juveniles remain and are able to ask questions and learn more from the speaker. 

 

 

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