The Issue: Recidivism Among Juvenile First-Time Offenders
Juvenile-justice programs often produce a greater reduction in recidivism than programs that are targeted toward adult offenders, according to a Routledge report from the Washington State Institute for Public Policy. Youth and Family Counseling is an organization that offers a first-offender program, which provides six free sessions of family counseling to youth referred by area law enforcement and courts. Through the counseling sessions, the organization aims to address issues early in order to prevent the youth from continuing to commit crime into adulthood. Youth and family members participating in the first-offender program frequently express interest in continuing the counseling beyond the initial six sessions, but do not have the funding to do so.
The Campaign: Providing Continued Counseling for Families
If this Grassroots campaign raises $600, then Youth and Family Counseling can provide four low-income families with six additional counseling sessions beyond the initial sessions with the first-offender program. The sessions commonly address issues such as anger management, parenting skills, and conflict resolution, with the focus on addressing issues behind problematic behavior to help prevent it in the future. Sessions are offered until 8 p.m. to accommodate those who work or attend school during the day. Each additional $150 raised will provide another family with six additional counseling sessions.
Youth and Family Counseling
Youth and Family Counseling was founded in 1981 by the police chiefs of Lewisville, Flower Mound, and Highland Village, who initially created the first-offender program. With the hopes of diverting youth offenders from the juvenile justice system and becoming repeat offenders, the first-offender program incorporates family participation during counseling sessions, and aims to identify and address the root causes behind problematic behaviors. Through combined resources from the police departments, the community, and local schools, Youth and Family Counseling provides each family it serves with six free counseling sessions.
Today, the organization also runs a community-referred counseling program for residents seeking affordable psychological treatment. Counseling sessions for both programs are led by master's-level therapists that are fully licensed or working toward their licensure. The professional services are comparable to private-practice treatment, but are available at a cost that is tailored to low-income families.
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