dyrs

Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services
 

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Community Programming Initiative

The Community Programming Initiative

The Community Programming Initiative serves as a bridge between youth, families, and the community through outreach, engagement and other supportive services by implementing the service delivery models with the following three objectives in mind: 1. To advance the rehabilitation of DYRS youth by connecting them to services, supports, and resources that help them reach their goals and developmental milestones; 2. To enhance public safety by engaging youth in positive, developmentally appropriate, and structured activities that complement and enhance DYRS’s methodologies for the care and supervision of young people; and 3. To create safer and stronger communities that support youth and families by investing directly in local organizational and human resources that are accessible and dedicated to strengthening young people and their families.

DYRS provides the vision, youth care coordination, and oversight for two service delivery models. One is the community-based programs and services that will make up the DC YouthLink service delivery model. The DC YouthLink (DCYL) model consists of a network of providers and programs that deliver supportive services and programs to young people in the community. The other consists of services and programs provided to youth at the DYRS Achievement Centers. This group of service providers, collectively, is called the service coalition.

The Credible Messenger Initiative

The Credible Messenger Initiative is a programming initiative connecting community members who share similar lived experiences with the youth and families served by DYRS. Credible Messengers are neighborhood leaders, experienced youth advocates and individuals with relevant life experiences who serve in a variety of capacities to coach, guide, mentor, and advocate for youth and families in both group and individual settings.

All of DYRS’ community-based programs strive to serve as a bridge between youth, families, and the community through outreach, engagement and other supportive services. Accordingly, DYRS implements community-based services with the following three goals in mind:

  1. Connect youth to services, supports, and resources that help them reach their goals and developmental milestones;
  2. Engage youth in positive, developmentally appropriate, and structured activities that complement and enhance DYRS’ approach for the care and supervision of young people to enhance public safety; and
  3. Invest directly in local organizational and human resources that are accessible and dedicated to strengthening young people and their families to create safer and stronger communities in the long-term.

In furtherance of these goals, the Credible Messenger Initiative provides the following contributions to DYRS community-based services goals:

  • Connects young people to caring adults and resources in their home communities;
  • Engages families and communities in efforts to support DYRS youth; and
  • Invests in neighborhood-based resources where DYRS youth and families live.

Capacity Building and Administrative Partner

DYRS provides the vision, youth care coordination, and oversight for two service delivery models. The DC YouthLink (DCYL) model consists of a network of providers and programs that deliver supportive services and programs to young people in the community. In addition, services and programs are provided to youth at the DYRS Achievement Centers.  All programs, services, and providers selected to participate in both models will be managed in partnership with an administrative entity, the Capacity Building and Administrative Partner (hereinafter the “Administrative Partner”). 

Restorative Justice

While Restorative Justice is typically used as an alternative to involvement in the justice system, Restorative Justice approaches to resolve conflict and build peace help youth give back to their communities and build stronger neighborhoods regardless of justice system involvement. Community conferencing, peace building and healing circles are specific practices that can be employed to further strengthen communities and are among strategies that have been shown to improve public safety.  DYRS incorporated restorative circle practice for committed youth in both the facilities and in the community to also reduce the chances that a youth faces further consequences within the justice system. Consistent with Positive Youth Justice, the Credible Messenger Initiative implements Restorative Justice practices that enable youth to learn important skills in conflict resolution that empower them to be leaders in their communities. These skills include self-reflection, being respectful of others, and reducing future conflict. Restorative practices assist youth in building empathy and understanding how harm affects themselves and others.