JusticeWorks developed the JustCare® program in1999, with the goal of reducing the length of stay in residential placements for both delinquent and dependent youth and to ensure successful outcomes when youth return to the community. JustCare® insures that gains made in placement endure at home. Unlike most ‘aftercare’ programs, planning for the transition home is done throughout the residential stay, and includes input from family and other stakeholders.
During the youth’s placement, we work with the placement agency to focus their services in accordance with the reality of home and community. We also work to make sure that kids don’t ‘get lost in the system’ and move forward as quickly as possible.
We recognize that for many families there is relief when their children are in placement and ambivalence about their return. We build on the families strengths so they can welcome their child home confidently. During the placement, we work to help families understand what their children are going through, demystify placement language and coordinate visits and home-passes. We work to help families resolve other issues in the home (such as substance abuse, job or economic problems, mental health concerns, housing, etc.). We work with families to develop their strengths and to set appropriate boundaries and supports when their child returns.
Prior to the child returning home we develop a concrete reintegration plan which identifies community resources. We build on the strengths of the family and community. For 3 to 6 months upon a youth’s return to community, our staff supervises and supports the child’s successful reintegration. We coach parents on remaining positive and making sure their children are safe.
Our staff works non-traditional hours, with an emphasis on being in the home, schools and community to give child and parents guidance, supervision and support to assure success.
JustCare® has been shown to consistently reduce the length of stay in out –of-home placements. The cost savings in reducing residential per diems more than pay for the cost of the service.