Once a judge commits a youth to DYRS, the agency is responsible for all decisions regarding the youth’s placement and rehabilitation plans. This determination involves the following process:
Review of Court Recommendations
When making placement decisions, DYRS gives great weight to the Court’s recommended plans for treatment and supervision.
Review of Reports and Assessments
DYRS staff reviews disposition reports, social studies prepared by Court Social Services, psychological and psychiatric evaluations, psycho-educational evaluations, and discharge summaries from other programs and placements.
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Needs Assessments
DYRS staff at the Youth Services Center and New Beginnings Youth Development Center includes licensed clinicians and behavioral health specialists. For youth placed in either of these facilities, DYRS staff conducts mental health and substance abuse needs assessments such as the Child and Adolescent Service Intensity Instrument (CASII), the Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument (MAYSI), the Trauma Symptom Checklist (TSC), and the Substance Abuse Subtle Screening Inventory (SASSI).
When making placement decisions for youth, DYRS is guided by a validated, data-driven tool that helps assess a youth’s risk of re-offending. DYRS conducts risk assessments using the Structured Decision Making (SDM) tool. The SDM tool uses factors such as committing offense severity, prior offenses, and peer relationships to assess a youth’s risk level, and the results are taken into account when determining the level of supervision that the youth requires.