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Project REENTRY:Serving Youth Offenders through Interagency Collaboration A project of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and the Ohio Department of Youth Services
The Challenge • In SFY 04, Ohio had an average daily population in state juvenile facilities of 1,778 youth and an average daily parole population of 1,713. • Most juvenile offenders who are released from Dept. of Youth Services institutions return to Ohio’s four most populous counties. • These youth face multiple barriers to making successful transitions to work, family, and community roles.
The Need • The Bureau of Parole provides case management and some treatment-focused programming, but there is a need for a broader network of transitional services for youthful offenders and their families.
One Solution: Project REENTRY • The Ohio Department of Job and Family Service (ODJFS), the Ohio Department of Youth Services (ODYS), and local Workforce Investment Boards formed a partnership to address this need. • Project REENTRY addresses the challenges and needs of youth transitioning back to their communities from state juvenile correction facilities.
Project REENTY Goals • Participating youth will • Enter employment and be retained in employment • Stay in school or enter training/post-secondary education • Develop appropriate family, peer, and/or adult mentor relationships • Parent effectively/prevent unwanted pregnancies • Move out of poverty
Key Features • Strong employment and training focus • Connections among public agencies, community and faith-based organizations to provide supportive services to youth • Strong adult mentorship component • Local flexibility in program design
Funding for Project REENTRY • Participating areas voluntarily deobligated a portion of WIA youth funds to ODJFS. • TANF funds were provided to these areas to provide additional services for youth. • Exchanged WIA funds were provided to DYS to contract for reentry services in the county that contributed the funds.
Participating Counties and Vendors • Cuyahoga (Cleveland): Cuyahoga Justice Center • Franklin (Columbus): Alvis House, Inc. • Hamilton (Cincinnati): Lighthouse Youth Services, Inc. • Stark (Canton): Stark County Family Court
Evaluation • Independent evaluation will be provided by the University of Cincinnati. • Evaluation will measure many outcomes including how youth would perform if WIA performance standards and the 10 youth elements were applied to this group. • Additional data collected includes recidivism; utilization of supportive services public, community, and faith-based organizations; and evidenced-based unit cost needed to provide effective services for hard-to-serve youth.
Next Steps • Pilot will be evaluated on an on-going basis and recommendations will be provided late spring to determine next steps and what may be needed outside of the employment and training infrastructure to facilitate success for these at-risk youth.