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Programs & Services

Once a youth is committed or probated to the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice (KY DJJ), a wide range of programs may be accessed. The youth may be placed in his/her own home with special conditions; or, if necessary for best meeting the youth’s needs or protecting the community, the youth may be placed out of his/her own home. KY DJJ operates and contracts for the services of a variety of programs to both meet the needs of delinquent youth and to protect the public. A team of trained professionals including the youth’s Juvenile Service Worker (JSW), the Juvenile Services Specialist (JSS), and the KY DJJ Classification Branch Manager makes decisions regarding the placement of KY DJJ youth. The KY DJJ seeks to serve youth in the least restrictive, appropriate placement possible.

Placement Process

Upon being committed to KY DJJ, each youth is assigned to a Juvenile Services Worker (JSW). This worker serves as the youth’s case manager. As part of the case management responsibilities, the JSW schedules a case planning conference or individual treatment planning (ITP) conference within 30 days of the date the youth enters an out-of-home placement, including placement with a relative other than the youth’s parent or guardian.

The least restrictive form of placement for committed or probated youth is supervised community placement (placement with the youth’s own relatives)--this may include placement with the parent or guardian with whom the youth was previously residing. In recommending placement of a youth with a relative, the desires of the natural parents are generally considered. The appropriateness of the placement is evaluated by JSW, including a criminal records check via the Kentucky State Police.

Community Supervision

Supervised community placement may be used as an alternative to residential placement or as a "step down" for youth who are returning home following an out-of-home placement. Every committed youth who resides in the community has conditions of placement. If a youth violates his/her placement conditions, the JSW may request a revocation hearing.

A youth’s conditions of supervised community placement may require him/her to attend a day treatment center. These programs provide educational alternatives for youth between the ages of 12 and 17 whose behavior precludes participation in a regular school setting and who have usually been referred by the court or school system. These programs are the least restrictive and most cost-effective placement alternative to institutional care. Day treatment centers are organized around a normal classroom schedule, with highly individualized instruction. They emphasize treatment through individual, group, and family counseling. KY DJJ operates six day treatment centers and contracts for the operation of 20 additional programs. On the average, these programs each serve approximately 30 youth. Some day treatment centers keep youth until 8:00 p.m., thereby reducing the youth’s number of unsupervised hours.

Additional services that may be offered or required as a part of the youth’s conditions of supervised community placement include health services, mental health services, intensive family preservation services, electronic monitoring, day reporting centers, Impact Plus services, parent training, and educational/vocational planning.

Juvenile Intensive Supervision Team (JIST)

Youth whose needs may be best met in the community but who require more intensive supervision may come under the care of a Juvenile Intensive Supervision Team (JIST). The JIST program falls under placement levels II and III, depending on the youth’s identified treatment needs. The JIST program is commonly used as a form of aftercare—a "step down" from residential treatment.

Therapeutic Foster Care (TFC)

For committed youth who do not present a significant risk to the public but need to be removed from their own homes, KY DJJ contracts with private providers for foster care services—traditional and therapeutic. Traditional and therapeutic foster care both offer a home-like environment and daily routine but provide an increased monitoring of daily activities. Youth in therapeutic foster care (TFC) are assigned caseworkers by the private provider. Caseworkers are on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to assist with problems that may occur. Youth placed in TFC receive a full range of treatment services including individual and group counseling, socialization groups, recreational and educational programs, and any other community resources that can be readily accessed. TFC is useful for youth who are typically difficult to place, including younger children, emotionally disturbed youth, mentally handicapped youth, and girls.

Therapeutic foster care (TFC) serves as a critical part of the continuum for youth who are ready to "step down" from residential care but cannot return home. Prior to TFC, these youth were placed in long-term residential private childcare (PCC) settings. TFC may also be used to transition youth back into their own homes.


Last Updated 11/23/2009
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