Given what we know about the harmful effects of placing low-risk and high-risk youth together, what other strategy might you recommend to a judge?

One strategy that I would recommend to a judge would be a program based in the community.  Communities across the country, such as  Alabama, New York, Ohio, Michigan and New Jersey have stepped up to help youth achieve personal and social success they could not achieve in an institution while staying in their community and reducing recidivism. Residential treatment programs provide cannot provide the support the community can. Removing kids from their communities and homes may help short term but it doesn’t help to figure out the underlying cause of the problem in the first place. Children need to learn how to function and make decisions within their own community and have the support of caring, competent adults plus access to safe and positive people, places and activities so these children can have  good long-term outcomes. Positive outcomes are rarely seen by children in isolation . YAP (Youth Advocacy Program) is one such program, its leaders run neighborhood-based, grassroots juvenile justice programs in nearly 90 communities across the country.  One of the key ingredients that makes it such a success is that it is giving juveniles and their families, a voice and choice in what happens to them. First off, they have a no reject policy, they off crisis and safety planning and individualized services if needed. They offer a focus on family, they give back to the community and teach a strength based approach, as well as, help develop a long term connection to support in the community (Fazal, 2014).

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