Owensboro Day Treatment helps youth facing civil, status charges in community

September 29, 2022 | 12:08 am

Updated September 28, 2022 | 11:01 pm

Owensboro Day Treatment is one of Kentucky’s nine centers that work to help provide a structured system as an alternative to juvenile centers for youth that are facing civil or status charges.

Keith Wells, superintendent of the campus, said the center accepts 12- to 17-year-olds who have committed a civil or status charge(s) — status charges are those that only minors can receive, such as truancy.

The center can hold up to 36 juveniles and give them an alternative to school. The services are like that of traditional schooling with classes, recreation, etc., but a bulk of their services also include an hour of individualized counseling each week.

“When students are having behavior problems, they have a counselor who they can go see at any point. I always tell parents when I do referrals, and I tell the kids, anytime you have an issue, all you have to do is raise your hand and somebody in our building will talk to you,” Wells said.

This service is a stark contrast to traditional schooling, Wells said, as it allows the center to directly communicate with the students to meet their mental and emotional needs within the moment.

Added to that, Wells said they try to provide family and group counseling on an as-needed basis.

Other activities include community volunteer work and workplace readiness training, among other things.

The program is held year-round, with a shortened schedule for the summer. Each day in the program the students are working toward their individualized treatment plan.

“Everybody’s treatment plan looks different because every kid is different. They all have different goals and things that they need to work for and work on,” Wells said.

Family participation is a large factor in the program, Wells said. The center tries to keep a continuous line of communication between the teachers and staff, providing calls to the parent or guardian every 60 days to review the student’s development.

Wells said a successful student remains in the program from 4-9 months.

Throughout this program, the Day Treatment Center hopes to first and foremost keep the youth in the community and keep them out of trouble.

“The last thing we want to see happen is these kids end up needing a place outside of their home,” Wells said. “Nobody wants to see a young man or young lady be placed outside of the home.”

September 29, 2022 | 12:08 am

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