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Agency Mission, Vision, Values and Culture


The Oregon Youth Authority's mission is to protect the public and reduce crime by holding youth offenders accountable and providing opportunities for reformation in safe environments. 

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The agency's vision is that youth who leave OYA go on to lead productive, crime-free lives.
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OYA's core values provide the foundation for the decisions, actions and practices that make up the agency's daily work. These core values guide and inform all that agency staff do to protect public safety, reduce crime, hold youth offenders accountable, aid in their reformation, and keep them safe.  


We practice unwavering adherence to professional standards and perform our work competently and responsibly.


We conduct our jobs in an open and inclusive manner, and take responsibility for the outcomes of our performance        


As stewards of the public trust, we display ethical and honest behavior in all that we do.


We treat others with fairness, dignity and compassion, and are responsive to their needs.

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OYA serves youth within a culture of Positive Human Development. PHD is a strengths-based approach that guides how staff and youth interact along the journey of youth reformation. PHD is based on five key tenets:

Safety and security

  • All activities are safe and secure for youth and staff.
  • Staff apply individualized trauma-informed care to support safety and security.
  • Physical and emotional safety is promoted at all times.
  • Emergency procedures and supplies are present.
  • Healthful food, drinks, and exercise are provided.
  • Youths’ physical and emotional health needs are addressed.
  • Staff feel supported at all times when it comes to ensuring their safety, including after a violent incident.

Caring and supportive relationships

  • Communication is respectful and productive; individual perspectives are acknowledged.
  • Youth are supported with encouragement, and all interactions provide an opportunity for positive growth.
  • Conflict is reframed using a person-centered approach.
  • Staff provide care that is individualized and responsive to meet youths’ cultural, gender, and developmental needs.
  • Staff feel valued and protected by their community of peers and managers.

High expectations and accountability

  • Youth are encouraged to learn new skills and achieve higher performance.
  • Staff members model skills and high performance standards.
  • Errors are treated as growth opportunities.
  • Expectations for behaviors are clear.
  • Both staff and youth are expected to grow and develop through training and support.

Meaningful participation

  • Staff have the resources needed to do their jobs.
  • Opportunities exist for group discussions and activities, with emphasis on meeting cultural and developmental needs.
  • Everyone has the opportunity to participate.
  • Staff and youth have a voice that is heard.
  • Youth are encouraged to mentor and to be mentored.

Community connection

  • Community volunteering and collaboration are encouraged.
  • Achievement is recognized and shared among staff and youth.
  • Youth have a sense of belonging to and being valued by a culturally responsible community, both within their immediate environment and in the larger local community.
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Policies related to OYA's Mission, Values, and Principles are located on OYA's policies page.

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