Youth Empowerment Program
The Newport News Department of Juvenile Services is excited to present the new Youth Empowerment Program (Y.E.P.). Along with the Outreach and the Electronic Monitoring Programs, Y.E.P. will be an essential part of Juvenile Services’ Community Based Programs as it will offer an array of services and activities to the youth in the City of Newport News. The Program will work closely with community partners, agencies and other organizations to be a holistic, community based alternative to detention placement, provide intensive staff to youth supervision and be an agent of change for youth who display delinquent and at-risk behavior to prevent or reduce the chances of youth entering the Juvenile Justice System.
To provide services, support, and supervision for at risk youth within the city of Newport News; and to ensure on-going, positive youth development and accountability.
The program structure offers a holistic approach in that the needs of the total youth are addressed through educational, vocational, social, recreational, self-awareness, development activities, and nutritional services. Program services are made readily available to all youth in that transportation services are provided.
The objectives of the program are as follows:
- To provide a safe and structured environment.
- To be a catalyst for Recidivism Reduction by providing needed services.
- To promote personal, social, and family growth and accountability.
- To reinforce academic performance.
- To increase life skills.
Hours of Operation
The program will operate between the hours of 8:00 AM thru 8:00 PM Monday thru Friday, and varying hours on Saturdays. Program hours may adjust during the summer months due to Program Participants being out of school. Transportation is provided to and from the program.
Our target population is at-risk youth between the ages of 12 and 17 that reside in the city of Newport News.
The Program Participants that we service must qualify based on specific criteria in order to receive services. They must demonstrate or have the following:
- Curfew Violations
- At-Risk behavior(s)
- Criminal Behavior
- School Infractions
- Substance Abuse
Suspended and Expelled students must have class work and must attend all day. All Program Participants must be able to attend the program for 30 – 60 days and come from an approved referral source. All paperwork must be signed and provide one valid emergency contact number. Lastly a mandatory exit interview will be conducted with the client to measure their growth during their time in the program.
The Y.E.P currently has six approved referral sources. Those sources are:
- Newport News Juvenile Domestic Relations Court (NNJDRC)
- Newport News Court Services Unit (NNCSU)
- Newport News Department of Human Services (NNDHS)
- Newport News Public Schools (NNPS)
- Newport News Juvenile Services Outreach and Electronic Monitoring Program (EMP)
- Street Outreach Workers (SOW)
While in the program the Program Participants will be exposed to various groups. The group topics are as follows: Anger Management, Conflict resolution, Substance Abuse Education/Prevention, Family Life Skills, Employment readiness, and Community Service.
The following list describes the core areas of training or services that will be provided for our Program Participants. The majority of the core area trainings will be facilitated by NNJS staff with the exception of the educational component. The educational component will be covered by either a NNPS certified teacher, volunteer, or NNJS staff.
- Education: Paid Teacher/Volunteer/NNJS Staff
- Life Skills: Jones-Waugh/Wester
- Substance Abuse: Hall/ Brown
- Anger Management: Brown/ Hall
- Conflict Resolution: Wester/ Jones-Waugh
- Job Readiness(Vocational): Johnson/Sullivan
- MRT: Moral Reconation Therapy: Wester/Brown
- ART: Aggression Replacement Training: Sullivan/Hall
- Thinking For a Change (T4C): Sullivan
- The PACT
The following curriculums were chosen to assist the program with the character building aspect of our program. These curriculums are evidence based and will serve as valuable tools in the enrichment of our youth.
- Phoenix-New Freedom Curriculum
- MRT: Moral Reconation Therapy
- Thinking for a Change (T4C)
- ART: Aggression Replacement Training
- Virginia Rules
Program Participants who participate in the Y.E.P will also have the opportunity to earn a certification. These certifications will assist our Program Participants in obtaining jobs and completing or furthering their education.
- ServSafe Program
- On-Line Stem Activities
- Tablet Programming: EDOVO or Acellus
Program participants will be able to participate in special activities that will involve them more in the community. By working in the community garden, participating in community activities, and completing assigned community service, our program participants can contribute to the wellbeing of the Newport News community.
There are specific assessment tools that will be utilized for and during placement in the Y.E.P. The YASI (Youth Assessment Screening Instrument) is used by the Court Service Units to gauge risk, needs, and strengths of their potential participants. The Newport News Department of Human Services uses a similar tool called CANS (Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths.) Lastly the Y.E.P will be using a tool called the ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences). This tool will help the program to customize our services to the specific needs of the child.
School Program (Suspension)
The Y.E.P. will serve as an alternative placement for youth who are suspended/expelled from their traditional school or who are out of school and are awaiting for an alternative placement. These students will have the opportunity to complete their assignments from their schools. It is a requirement that suspended students bring their work or the school should have the work available for pick up. Once in the program, students are expected to complete their assignments. A teacher or staff will be available to assist students as necessary. Education is the focal point however, the program offers a variety of services listed above to assist in addressing issues that may have caused the out of school placement. Students will be engaged in groups and activities that will give them the tools to increase their ability to manage themselves.
CHIN(S) (Child in Need of Services/Supervision)
The Y.E.P will assist families with identified Child in Need of Services/Supervision clients by doing regular parental contacts, home visits and phone calls. Staff will conduct home visits to provide an extra presence and support system in the home environment. Staff will provide case management to ensure client has wrap around services to address the needs and issues.
Program staff will make attempts to engage and involve the family as much as possible. At least one (1) week after the initial interview with the client, staff will conduct a family needs assessment. With that information, staff will connect the family to needed resources i.e. housing, employment, child care, recreational activities, etc.
The Job Readiness Program is an intensive hands-on 28 hour job readiness program, which will address the 21 Workplace Readiness Skills as identified by the Virginia Department of Education. It is designed to prepare juveniles to enter and maintain gainful employment in the workforce.
- Focus on skills that will prepare them for the varying steps of entering, to sustaining and on to advancement
- Many sessions will be done in the work environment
- Small groups so that no one falls through the cracks
- Participants can be as young as 15 years of age
- Program will be run year round
It is our hope that when youth leave the program, they will be equipped with a foundation of tools to assist them with better decision making which would lead to more pro-social behaviors. The City of Newport News has made it a priority to reduce gang and gang related violence committed by youth and young adults. Y.E.P. will play a pivotal role in that process by attaching these youth and their families to the appropriate services and training opportunities, and providing age appropriate alternatives to idle time, the youth will be more likely to overcome the challenges they face.