Juvenile Justice Services

Juvenile Justice Services

Generally, the services required of youth and families include:

Services that foster accountability: A youth needs to accept responsibility for his or her actions, recognize that there are reasons why certain behavior is prohibited by law, and be accountable for the consequences of behavior choices. Parents need to also understand the importance of holding youth accountable, and the important role that they play in helping youth to understand that behavior that brings them into the system cannot continue. Some of these services are:
  • Regular meetings with Probation Officers
  • Writing assignments, like letters of apology to victims or essays describing what this experience has meant
  • Community service assignments
  • Assignments to attend court sessions
  • Order to re-pay a victim for damages
  • Detention depending on the severity of the offense
  • Victim Impact Panel
  • Drawing Assignment
  • Offense Booklet
  • Letter of Apology

Services that foster parent and youth involvement: For many of the cases that come into the Juvenile Justice system, limited supervision by parents is identified as an issue to be addressed. This limited supervision may be due to increasingly complex schedules, job requirements, or many other factors. Sometimes the issue is parents who are not able to be at home, and sometimes the issue is parents who do not set and enforce limits, rules, etc.

  • Family meal or family activity assignments

Services that foster success in school: Youth who are engaged in school and attending regularly are less likely to commit future offenses. Probation Officers work with school counseling staff when appropriate to support the needs of students. Other services that might be put in place include:

  • Study Hall, which is a program offered at court to provide focus on school success
  • Tutoring  and other programs offered through schools

Services that address needs of youth:  Often, youth get involved in the Court system when they have needs that either have not previously presented themselves, or have not been fully or effectively addressed. Participation in services is ordered as needs are identified and may include:

  • Substance abuse treatment and monitoring, including a comprehensive assessment, group or individual therapy, regular drug and/or alcohol screening, and other services. For those with significant needs, more intensive services such as Juvenile Drug Court may be appropriate.
  • Mental health assessment, consultation, and treatment, either through specific resources accessed by the Court, such as the Intensive In Home Counseling program, or through private providers through the family’s health insurance plan
  • Programs for specific issues, such as “Straight Talk” which is targeted toward youth who have set fires and “YES” which is targeted toward those who have shoplifted.
  • Programs offered through schools, that address specific issues and needs, such as bullying, grief and loss, and other issues
  • Sex offender assessment and treatment An assessment of the community risk level can be conducted. There is also individual and group counseling for male offenders that have been evaluated by the therapist. Duration of counseling is generally from one to two years.
  • For youth and families with the most complex needs, the Court provides access to comprehensive services  including:
    • Wraparound is an evidence based program of Livingston County Community Mental Health. A Wraparound facilitator will work with the family and others who are identified such as school staff, therapists, neighbors, or others to make a plan to support the youth’s success. The Facilitator will gather these important stakeholders together to keep track of how the plan is going, what needs to be changed, what is successful, etc. 
    • Multi-Systemic Therapy (MST)  is an intensive family- and community-based treatment program that focuses on addressing all environmental systems that impact chronic and violent juvenile offenders -- their homes and families, schools and teachers, neighborhoods and friends. MST recognizes that each system plays a critical role in a youth's world and each system requires attention when effective change is needed to improve the quality of life for youth and their families. MST works with the toughest offenders ages 12 through 17 who have a very long history of arrests. MST clinicians go to where the child is and are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They work intensively with parents and caregivers to put them in control. The therapist works with the caregivers to keep the adolescent focused on school and gaining job skills. The therapist and caregivers introduce the youth to sports and recreational activities as an alternative to hanging out. Livingston Electronic tether is another option for any youth.
    • The Connection Youth Services can also provide counseling and other services, and offers temporary shelter at its Howell site and at host homes in the community if needed. 
    • When needs are most significant, the Court can provide access to out of home placements at specialized treatment facilities located outside of the community. When this is necessary, the Court works closely with families and the facilities to make the stay as short as possible, and to plan for services after the stay.

Services that encourage involvement in positive activities and involvement with positive peer groups: Youth are less likely to re-offend if they get involved in positive activities, and interact with positive peers. Some of the activities in this area include: