OYA’s Approach: Positive Development and Growth
Healthy adolescent brain development happens most effectively in an environment that fosters growth.
Adolescents have many opportunities to develop important skills and abilities that have huge impacts on whether they commit crimes or have negative behaviors. At this age, they are still learning how to:
- manage their emotions;
- solve problems;
- make good decisions;
- have empathy for others, or imagine others’ perspectives; and
- think about future consequences for their behavior.
OYA works to create environments where youth have opportunities to attach and belong to others, and to learn and practice new skills and behaviors. We do this in our secure facilities by:
- helping youth develop caring and supportive relationships with staff, family, and other supportive people;
- providing opportunities for youth to be active members of positive social groups, while developing and enjoying a sense of belonging;
- placing a high value on service to others and teaching youth about their place in the larger community;
- providing opportunities for youth to learn new skills and actively use those skills in new situations; and
- helping youth take on new roles and responsibilities and develop self-confidence.
Elements of Treatment for OYA Youth
Addressing needs that are likely to lead to criminal behavior:
These issues may include antisocial attitudes, values and beliefs; antisocial peers; gang participation; substance use; aggression or anger; fire-setting activities; and sex offenses. We teach coping skills, emotion regulation, problem-solving, conflict resolution, and victim empathy.
Family engagement: We help youth develop relationship skills and positive relationships with their family.
Mental health or trauma: Our environments promote emotional and psychological health and well-being. We provide appropriate mental health care to support youth in managing their symptoms.
Substance use: We provide evidence-based treatment to address substance use disorders. Three of our youth correctional facilities are certified substance use treatment sites.
Life/social skills: We help youth develop positive skills for relationships with peers, adults, and support groups. We also provide connections to cultural and spiritual traditions, and opportunities for youth to contribute to their community, both inside and outside the facility. We encourage youth to make amends for the negative impacts of their actions.
Education and vocational training: We provide youth with opportunities to earn their high school diploma, enroll in college, and learn vocational skills that will help them gain successful and meaningful employment in the community.
Medical services: Our environments promote physical health and well-being. We offer youth healthy food, appropriate medical care, and opportunities to exercise and participate in group sports and recreational activities.
At OYA’s Secure Facilities
Not all treatment programs are offered at every OYA facility. However, all facilities do offer an array of treatment to address developmental needs and risks related to criminal behavior.
Each youth’s treatment team selects the most appropriate combination of treatment programs based on the youth’s needs and personal characteristics.
Male youth may move between different OYA facilities to receive specific treatment that they need. Female youth receive all their treatment at Oak Creek Youth Correctional Facility and Young Women’s Transition Program, because those are OYA’s only female facilities.
At Community Residential Programs
OYA has contracts with residential programs to provide rehabilitation services in a community-based environment.
OYA does not require that residential providers use specific treatment programs. However, we do make sure that each provider’s overall approach and program choices align with OYA’s mission, values and treatment philosophy.