Yolo County Juvenile Violence Court

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See also: Juvenile Justice System

In August 2008, The Yolo County Probation Department discontinued the Juvenile Violence Court. The program had demonstrated insignifican effectiveness at recidivism reduction and increasing protective factors for its participants. As a result, it lost community and collaborative support. The program was replaced by Aggression Replacement Training, offered at Midtown Community School, the Yolo Co. Conservation Partnership and within Juvenile Hall

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Description of the program:
The Yolo County Juvenile Violence Court and Intervention Program (JVCIP) targets 30 youth ages 12-17, who have active cases in the juvenile justice system and whose offenses involve violence and/or whose case plans underline the need for increased anger management.

Participants are engaged in a highly structured program that includes intensive probation monitoring/supervision, regular court appearances, anger management counseling, gang intervention workshops as well as alcohol, drug, and mental health assessment and treatment. In addition, parenting classes and family outreach services are provided to minorsÂ’ parents.

The Juvenile Violence Court and Intervention Program features a comprehensive treatment team involving the Probation Officer assigned to the Court and this particular caseload of juveniles, the District Attorney, the Public Defender, the Juvenile Court Judge, and the treatment providers: Yolo County Alcohol Drug Mental Health, and Communicare Health Centers Inc. The Probation Officer serves as the primary coordinator for the JVCIP and is responsible for the initial screening and referral of minors to the program as well as on-going supervision of participants.

Youth selected into the program will be those whose situations do not warrant immediate out-of-home placement, but who face various risk factors including a likelihood of future violence, truancy, poor academic behavior, substance abuse, and other challenges. Juveniles undergo a thorough needs assessment conducted by the comprehensive treatment team. This assessment includes a review of delinquent behavior, an examination of current substance abuse and history, a psych-social assessment, a mental health status exam, academic review, and a parent/legal guardian interview. From this initial assessment, an individual case plan will be developed which will include individual and family counseling plans, education and academic goals, as well as substance abuse and mental health treatment needs.

Once selected, youth will join a group of their peers to participate in an Anger Management course for youth and parenting skills classes for the parents of participating youth. The Anger Management course consists of weekly two-hour meetings at the John H. Jones Clinic in Woodland for a twelve week period in which youth will meet with a group of their peers and a facilitator to discuss topics ranging from lessons on the roots of violence and racism to conflict resolution and self esteem building skills. During this period youth will have access to a continuum of services designed to address their critical service needs as outlined in their individual case plan, to include gang intervention workshops.

The Probation Officer will monitor participant progress on an intensive basis, facilitating random drug tests and checking to ensure that there is no additional delinquent behavior and that the offenders are improving their academic and attendance records. The comprehensive treatment team and the minors will appear before the Court monthly, unless more frequent reviews are deemed necessary. Also, participants will receive reproductive health counseling and services and other referrals to appropriate services, to include employment services if applicable. Youth will continue to receive substance abuse and mental health treatment as necessary.

Graduation from the Juvenile Violence Court and Intervention Program will occur for those who have completed the program requirements or terms of the case plan successfully (i.e., have not reoffended, have made progress in academic/attendance record, have achieved high levels of participation and have addressed counseling needs).

After graduating, youth will be tracked on a quarterly basis for at least one year; counseling services will continue until no longer deemed necessary by counselor and probation for an additional 6 months.

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