Youth Service Center (YSC)
The Youth Services Center serves as a 24-hour intake center for youth ages 10 to 17, who are referred for status offenses such as runaway, truancy and curfew violations, or Class C Misdemeanors, and those who are in need of crisis intervention. The Harris County Juvenile Probation Department (HCJPD), Harris County Protective Services for Children and Adults (HCPS) and the Mental Health and Mental Retardation Authority (MHMRA) are partners in the TRIAD Prevention Program. Services include program referrals, follow up and emergency shelter.
Intake Screening is open 24 hours and screens calls from law enforcement agencies regarding juveniles between the ages of 10 to 17 who have committed misdemeanor B or above law violations. Intake officers utilize a detention Risk Assessment Instrument (RAI) to determine if a child is eligible for release to a parent or responsible adult who will return them to an assigned district court for a hearing on the merits of the case, or if the child must be held at the Juvenile Justice Center for a Detention Hearing. Detention Hearings are held within forty-eight hours of the youth’s detainment with exceptions on weekends and county holidays. At the Detention Hearing, the judge will determine if the youth will remain detained or is eligible for release pending a district court hearing for the alleged offense. Documents parents/guardians are asked to submit after their child is detained: birth certificate, immunization records, Social Security card, school records, medical insurance card and government issued picture identification for the parents or guardians.
Status offenses such as truancy, runaway, curfew violations and Class C misdemeanors such as alcohol violations are handled by the Youth Service Center.
Court Services JPOs are responsible for preparing a comprehensive profile of a juvenile pending court on his/her case for the Judge, district attorneys, defense attorneys, and other court staff. A detailed report may be used with other information, such as psychological evaluations/testing, to aid the Court in determining whether a youth can be released from detention pending court disposition or a suitable disposition upon the youth’s court appearance in the District Court. There are three Harris County Juvenile District Courts: 313th District Court, 314th District Court and 315th District Court. Upon their appearance in District Court, juveniles can be allowed to reside at home with their parents/guardians on conditions of a Deferred Adjudication Agreement, without a determination of delinquency/adjudication, depending on certain factors taken into consideration by the court such as a youth’s level of involvement in the juvenile justice system. Juveniles found to have engaged in delinquent (adjudicated) conduct may be allowed to reside at home with their parents/guardians under stringent rules of probation, placed in a residential facility, county institution, or committed to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD). In some cases, jurisdiction may be waived by the juvenile court and a transfer to the adult criminal court may be granted depending on the severity of offense(s) and the respondent’s age.
Juvenile Law 101 is a program that targets those youth and families of first-time offenders who are scheduled to appear before one of the Harris County Juvenile District Courts. The families are given information to help better prepare them for the first court appearance. The goal of the program is to offer families the opportunity to ask questions to help them better navigate through the Harris County Juvenile Justice System. Speakers for the orientation include a defense attorney, an assistant district attorney, and representatives from HCJPD’s Field Services Division and Intake/Court Services Division.
Pre-Adjudication Team (PAT)
The Pre-Adjudication Team is an alternative to detention that allows juvenile offenders, who may need a little more supervision, to reside at home to await their court dates. The Pre-Adjudication Team provides intensive supervision to these juveniles who have been released from detention and are pending court disposition. This team ensures that the Juvenile Detention Center has beds available for those youth, such as serious offenders, who must be detained.
The Training & Quality Assurance (TAQA) Team is dedicated to promoting excellence in training and program accountability within the Harris County Juvenile Probation Department (HCJPD). TAQA is composed of four teams – Training, Quality Assurance, Behavior Support Team (BST) and Motivational Interviewing Team (MI). All of the TAQA areas work together to identify the training needs of the agency while providing HCJPD staff with research based information and skills
TAQA is the central division for all employee training and development. The division conducts New Employee Orientation, Basic Officer Certification Training and provides on-going advanced training and conference relevant to Juvenile Justice Issues and Evidence-Based Practices. All new employees attend training sessions applicable to their job duties and to the agency’s policies, procedures and practices. Juvenile Probation Officers (JPO) and Juvenile Supervision Officers (JSO) must be certified by the Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD) prior to performing their job duties with the department. Certified staff are required by the state to have continuing education/training hours to maintain their state certification.
Quality Assurance (QA)
The Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD) establishes and enforces standards for juvenile probation programs and juvenile correctional facilities in the State of Texas. The QA Team coordinates the development and review of departmental policies and procedures in order to meet TJJD standards. The QA Team routinely conducts internal quality assurance reviews of departmental programs and facilities to monitor and ensure compliance with state standards. The QA Team offers technical assistance, one-on-one coaching for new officers, and training as needed to assist programs and facilities in meeting applicable TJJD standards.
The division also oversees training and quality assurance for the department’s Education Division by coordinating in-service training and conducting quality assurance reviews for compliance with state and federal standards for teachers and all educational staff.
Behavior Support Team (BST)
The Behavior Support Team trains agency staff on the principles of the MANDT System, the agency’s approved behavior intervention technique that consists of officers’ safety, physical restraint and de-escalation training. BST extends the training experience beyond the classroom by providing one-on-one coaching and sessions to residential staff in an effort to strengthen the core values and practices of MANDT.
Motivational Interviewing (MI)
Motivational Interviewing is a method that works on facilitating and engaging intrinsic motivation within the client in order to change behavior. MI is a goal-oriented, client-centered counseling style for eliciting behavior change by helping clients to explore and resolve ambivalence. MI Team implements training, one-one-one coaching and coding to ensure that HCJPD staff gain knowledge of the concept and apply it with the families and youth that become in contact with the Juvenile Probation Department.
Training and Quality Assurance
The Health Services division of the HCJPD is responsible for the medical, psychological, and treatment programs within the agency. The services operated within this division include the medical staff that assess and treat youth in the detention center and the three residential treatment facilities. In addition, the division has mental health therapists who provide crisis counseling, and individual, group and family therapy to youth both in the facilities and under community supervision. Lastly, the Health Services division oversees the four specialty courts that operate within the agency to help address some of the underlying factors that may be impacting a youth’s functioning.
Assists and supports the parents and guardians of youth involved in the Harris County Juvenile Probation Department’s specialty courts. Parent Partners work in partnership with the specialty courts. They provide emotional support to parents/guardians who have youth who are exhibiting significant clinical or behavioral symptoms. In addition, they assist the family in finding community resources to meet their family needs, to include mental health services, housing relocation and food, obtaining medical insurance, and pro-social activities for their children.
Sobriety Over Addiction and Relapse - (SOAR) Drug Court Program
The SOAR Drug Court Program works with youth between the ages of 14 to 17 that have been identified with a substance abuse or dependence diagnosis. The SOAR Drug Court utilizes a collaborative team model to disrupt the patterns of drug use and abuse, drug related offenses, and criminal activity. The SOAR Drug Court participants are closely monitored and receive highly individualized treatment plans. The SOAR Drug Court Program participants, and their families, are encouraged to work together to make better choices, improve communication, and to strengthen the family unit. The SOAR Court Program is committed to ensure that resources are available to meet the needs of the youth who are overcoming the challenges of substance abuse on their path to sobriety.
Gang Recidivism Intervention Program (GRIP) Specialty Court
The goal of the GRIP program is to reduce recidivism among gang involved youth by redirecting them towards healthier alternatives to gang activity. Youth referred to the GRIP Court undergo a comprehensive needs/risk assessment and psychological evaluation to develop a specific case plan to address the youth’s needs in a variety of domains with the ultimate goal of decreased gang association. Participants attend monthly court review hearings with the GRIP Court team to congratulate successes and continue to work on barriers to reducing gang involvement and recidivism.
Mental Health Court
The Mental Health Court aims to effectively address the underlying clinical component of delinquent behavior in mentally ill juvenile offenders, while emphasizing public safety and personal accountability. The Mental Health Court offers access to services and resources to youth and their families who are willing to participate in an intense and structured program. While in the community, the youth participates in a number of wrap around services such as psychiatric treatment, individual and family therapy, educational assistance, mentoring program, and extracurricular activities. Probation officers specially trained in mental health case management ensure the continuity of care with regular youth centered visits. Upon successful completion of the Mental Health Court program youth may have the opportunity to have their case reduce.
Creating Advocacy, Recovery, and Empowerment (CARE) Court
CARE Court utilizes a comprehensive strength-based approach in working with youth who are actively engaged in or at risk of becoming involved in commercial sexual exploitation. The court employs a clinically driven multi-disciplinary team to effectively address the underlying trauma associated with the participants’ at-risk behaviors and related delinquent conduct. CARE Court provides successful graduates the opportunity to seal their juvenile records and develop the skills necessary to change their lives.
Community Unit Probation Services Therapy Program
Community based mental health service designed to support adolescent probationers and their families through provision of direct services and appropriate referrals.
The CUPS Therapy program provides community mental health services in the probations units and associated satellite units. The program is comprised of 5 full-time staff members: 4 therapists and one supervisor.
The program also works with local universities to provide a practicum for master's and doctoral level counseling or clinical students with an interest in learning to address mental health and correctional therapy needs in an adolescent population. The program provides individual counseling, family therapy, and specialized therapy groups. Topics of groups include, but are not limited to, emotional self-awareness, strengths-based process group, trauma focused, anger management, teen violence prevention, interpersonal skills, group meditation and relaxation counseling.
Detention Assessment Unit
The Detention Assessment Unit assess the youth that have been placed in the custody of the probation department to determine the best placement or program alternatives to get their rehabilitative needs met. The unit provides comprehensive assessments, which consist of mental health, educational, and substance abuse evaluations. These assessments help to identify the youth’s rehabilitative needs so that the youth receives the most appropriate placement and services to increase their chances of success.
The Forensic Unit conducts psychological and psychiatric assessments of youth involved with the Harris County Juvenile Probation Department. Psychological and psychiatric evaluations of youth are conducted either pre-adjudication or post-adjudication. The evaluations are used to understand the mental health needs of the youth and to help determine placement and treatment needs. In addition, the clinicians also conduct evaluations that are specifically aimed at answering forensic questions related to the court process. This includes evaluations regarding competency to stand trial, lack of responsibility, and waiver of juvenile jurisdiction (when the court is considering transferring the case to the adult court).
All of the evaluations that are conducted by the Forensic Unit result in a formal written report that is available to the court and the juvenile probation officers.
Facility Mental Health Services
Facility Mental Health Services provides mental health services, including individual, group, and family counseling, crisis intervention, specialized programing, and medication management to youth in the post-adjudicated facilities.
The Facility Mental Health Services team consists of licensed master level clinicians that provide counseling and crisis intervention for youth while placed in the post-adjudicated facilities of the Harris County Juvenile Probation Department. The psychiatric needs of the residents will also be assessed and monitored with appropriate referrals made for medication management to contracted providers.
Facility Mental Health Team provides services through the Behavioral Enrichment Treatment and Accountability (BETA) Program. This program is for young offenders 10-14 years old. Two therapists are specifically dedicated to this unit. The BETA Program also has a field team consisting of two probation officers and two therapists which help the resident transition to the community. This team work approach provides consistency for the child and family. Residents in this program receive individual, family, and group counseling. Residents participate and live in a therapeutic community. This program accepts regionalized youth after successful completion of a screening process for the program.
Multisystemic Therapy (MST)
Multisystemic Therapy (MST) is a unique, goal-oriented, comprehensive treatment program designed to serve multi-problem youth in their community. MST is effective in helping youth with chronic, violent delinquent behavior and youth with serious emotional problems. All interventions are designed in full collaboration with family members and key figures in each of the child’s life -- parents or legal guardians, schoolteachers and principals. Eight MST therapists travel throughout the county providing services in the family home; therapists are on call 24 hours a day to assist with crisis intervention.
Private Placement/Field Specialty Supervision (PPFS)
The purpose of private placement is to provide youth who have been placed in the custody of the Chief Juvenile Probation Officer with the resources needed to address their behavioral and mental health needs. The placement unit maintains contracts with in-state and out of state licensed residential facilities. Specially trained juvenile probation officers monitor the progress of the youth while they are in residential treatment facility. Once the youth returns home they are supervised in the community by the same probation officer which ensure a continuity of services. The family is connected to community resources to assist the youth in transitioning smoothly into their community.
Juvenile Detention Mental Health Services Unit
Mental health and psychiatric services are provided to residents of the Harris County Juvenile Justice Center. The Psychological and Social Services (PSS) unit provides counseling and crisis intervention services for the youth residing in the Juvenile Justice Center. In addition, a full time psychiatrist, in collaboration with the Baylor College of Medicine, provides evaluations and medication management for any youth needing this treatment while they remain in the facility.
Harris County Psychiatric Center Sub-Acute Unit (HCPC)
HCPC serves as a therapeutic alternative to detention. Juvenile offenders who show signs of severe and persistent psychiatric symptoms are admitted to a sub-acute hospitalization program at the Harris County Psychiatric Hospital. This program is based on a behavioral management system and there is no set length of stay.
The Medical Department provides high quality; comprehensive, evidence based care for all youths in the custody of Harris County Juvenile Probation Department.
The Medical Department provides a number of medical services directly, and through contractual relationships with medical personnel and facilities. Services include, but are not limited to, health screenings, physical examinations; dental and vision services, immunizations, developmental assessments, administration of medication, laboratory and diagnostic tests. In addition, treatment is provided for any identified medical issues. Nursing services are also provided on as needed basis at the Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Program.
Sex Offender Programs
The Sex Offender Community Provider Program provides evidence-based sex offender treatment to youth adjudicated for sexual offenses. The sex offender community providers are in-house Licensed Sex Offender Treatment Providers (LSOTP) who provide individual, family, and group counseling to juveniles and their families. Sex Offender Risk Assessments are completed by the therapists as ordered by the courts.
Seeking Empathy, Empowerment, and Knowledge (SEEK) is the residential sex offender treatment program located at BBRC. SEEK is an intensive program which includes individual, group, and family therapy. SEEK residents participate and live in a therapeutic community. This unit has an in house licensed sex offender treatment provider (LSOTP) who is dedicated to the residents on this unit. The resident and family work closely with the LSOTP throughout the resident’s stay to create a supportive environment in which issues related to offending behavior are discussed and addressed. This program accepts regionalized youth who are adjudicated on sex offenses.
Dual Status Initiative
The Harris County Juvenile Probation Department (HCJPD), the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) and the Harris County Youth Collective are working together to improve the services and outcomes for the youth dually involved with HCJPD and DFPS. Dual status youth are those involved with the Juvenile Justice system and in the custody of child welfare. The initiative aims to provide early identification, joint case planning, and effective monitoring of such cases. In addition, HCJPD and DFPS meet monthly to collaborate on difficult cases. HCJPD and DFPS each have a designated liaison within their agency. HCJPD is forming a unit that will work these cases from conception to close. DFPS is also working to designate caseworkers to assist with this special population. There is currently 100 identified dual status youth involved in both systems.
Most juveniles who go through the court system remain at home under supervision by the Field Services Division. The probation period is usually one year, but the court may lengthen the duration of probation to age 19.
Field supervision and rehabilitative services for youth and their families are provided by eight (8) Field Services units located throughout Harris County. In addition, there are numerous satellite offices utilized to provide more convenient locations for families.
The eight Community Unit Probation Services (CUPS) offices offer traditional and intensive supervision, as well as specialized programming.
The Field Services Division also provides opportunities for youth under supervision to take part in service learning projects and community service restitution. Participation in service learning and/or community service is based upon court order, specialized program requirements, Juvenile Probation Officer recommendation.
Service Learning engages youth in global and community problem-solving through youth led service projects. Service learning builds strong character in youth as they learn about the role they play in their community and encourages lifelong civic participation. Participants of service learning projects learn real-life experiences, and workplace skills, which enhances personal development. They see themselves as active contributors to their community through learning experiences rather than passive recipients of adult decisions.
FIELD SERVICES SPECIALIZED SUPERVISION PROGRAMS
Youth Empowerment Services and Supervision Program (YESS)
The Youth Empowerment Services and Supervision Program works with juveniles placed on probation for known gang-related behavior or involvement. Juvenile Probation Officers administer gang assessments to determine the specific needs of the youth and work collaboratively with the Mayor's Anti-Gang Office. The program consists of several essential elements for effective supervision which include smaller caseloads, individualized case plans, frequent contacts, and distinct phases to structure movement through the program. Substance abuse assessments, rehabilitation programs, mentoring services are a foundational part of YESS. Behavioral controls such as electronic monitoring, curfew checks, home confinement, and random drug testing are implemented as needed for risk management.
Renew, Inspire, Support, Empower (RISE) Program
The RISE Program is a county-wide community probation program for TJJD eligible youth who are assessed as high-risk and is designed as an alternative to TJJD commitment or placement in a private residential and/or HCJPD post adjudication facility. This program provides intensive services and intensive supervision and utilizes effective models of treatment and rehabilitative services to reduce dynamic criminogenic need factors while identifying and strengthening protective factors.
Council on Alcohol and Drugs – Houston
Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselors from the Council on Alcohol and Drugs – Houston, screen all youth entering Field Services supervision from Court to identify, educate and intervene with those who have substance abuse problems.
My Brother’s Keeper (MBK)
Redirect is MBK’s Diversion Program providing high-risk youth with close supervision and rehabilitation. MBK works with participants who have been diverted from out-of-home placement. Together with many local partners, Redirect will utilize evidence-based practices and community resources to redirect youth from the criminal justice system and direct them towards college and career development.
Disability Rights Texas
Provides tiered legal and educational advocacy services that includes legal advocacy training, educational advocacy training, post residential transition services, and other supportive services to families utilizing a self-advocacy approach.
LIFE SKILLS, CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT & LEADERSHIP
Service Learning is a teaching and learning strategy integrating meaningful service with academic study and reflective practice to enrich learning, build civic engagement, and strengthen communities. It is more than merely community service. It is a hands on approach to learning new material while fostering civic responsibility.
Service learning builds strong character in youth as they learn about the role they play in their community and encourages lifelong civic participation.
Participants of service learning projects learn real-life experiences, and workplace skills, which enhances personal development. Service learning gives youth a sense of competency; they see themselves as active contributors to their community through learning experiences rather than passive recipients of adult decisions.
Building Engagement, Leadership, and Assets for Youth (OnBELAY)
On BELAY, through Baylor College of Medicine, is provided at several CUPS offices by The Baylor College of Medicine. On BELAY is an experiential youth leadership and development program designed to create youth leaders as the primary means of fostering community change. Guided by research-based healthy youth development principals and inclusive of evidence-based violence prevention curricula, program goals include participant increase in: culturally competent leadership skills, numerous developmental assets, non-violent problem solving, meaningful contribution to community, and connection with adults.
Proper self-esteem, Academics, Character development, and Employment preparation (P.A.C.E.)
The P.A.C.E. program is a multiple week education and training program providing development of moral, educational and spiritual values through a comprehensive life skills program. The curriculum addresses character-building and esteem, fosters effective communication and problem-solving between youth and parent, matches adult coaches with youth and parents to form a bonded team, establishes individual educational goals for youth and helps implement them and provides training opportunities for job readiness.
National Association for Shoplifting Prevention
The National Association for Shoplifting Prevention provides a unique program for juveniles who have been involved in shoplifting. The Youth Educational Shoplifting (Y.E.S.) program is a home study course consisting of two audio CDs and a workbook to be done jointly by the child and parent. The program is designed to help change thinking, feelings and attitudes towards shoplifting while developing pro-social law abiding behavior.
reVision – Houston Mentoring
The reVision Mentoring Program is a faith-based program designed to provide youth with a positive adult role model/mentor.
The mentoring program includes community-based activities to engage youth in more positive behaviors. reVision connects youth paired with mentors to positive peers and constructive activities on a weekly basis. reVision mentors commit to a six- to twelve-month relationship with a youth, but many of them continue contact far beyond as they become a meaningful and ongoing part of each other's lives.
reVision also offers life skills programs, academic assistance and career planning to include possible job placement.
Professional, licensed therapists provide individual, family and group counseling to youth and their families at the CUPS office locations as well as some satellite locations. Services are provided in both English and Spanish.
The Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD
The Harris Center works with the HCJPD to provide mental health services for youth. Services include psychiatric evaluation/treatment, skills training, psychotherapy, intensive case management, and resource referral/linkage.
Drug and Alcohol Use/Abuse Counseling
Through a partnership with The Turning Point, Inc. Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselors are available at various CUPS offices. Probationers receive intensive out-patient therapy, to include individual, family and group sessions.
COMMUNITY-BASED ADVOCACY SERVICES
Harris County Advocate Program (H-CAP)
H-CAP offers a community-based alternative to placement. The program serves adjudicated youth whose behavior and social circumstances put them at risk of placement in residential treatment facilities. H-CAP offers a wide range of individualized, non-traditional, wrap-around and advocacy services for the youth and their family.
Field Services Specialized Supervision Programs
The Harris County Juvenile Probation Department (HCJPD) has four (4) facilities that house youth ages 10-17. Our primary focus is to provide a safe and secure environment for the youth we serve. Our staff collaborates with multiple agencies to provide services to meet the needs of the youth and their families. We strive to mentor and advocate for youth and equip them with all the necessary tools and resources for a greater chance at success.
Key program components include:
- A comprehensive assessment and an individualized treatment approach that addresses behavioral, educational, mental health, medical and substance abuse needs.
- Academic programs that provide a wide variety of opportunities including special education, GED testing, and vocational training.
- Wrap around services that are introduced during a youth’s stay and continue after release to provide additional support to the family.
- Volunteer and staff programs, many of which are evidence based, that introduce changes in thinking, promote vital social skills, and reinforce rehabilitation efforts.
- Collaborative efforts between facility staff and the youth’s family to increase the chances of the youth’s successful reintegration into the community.
Intensive Behavior Treatment
The Intensive Behavioral Treatment (IBT) program is a comprehensive model incorporating evidence-based behavior modification practices and a multidisciplinary team approach. IBT is designed to be a portable and adaptive program that can be used in many different types of residential settings.
The central components of IBT are:
- personal accountability for behavior
- systematic staff monitoring of behavior across settings
- immediate feedback from staff to the residents
- positive reinforcement for appropriate behavior,
- and ability to leverage both short-term and long-term incentives.
Ultimately, IBT is designed to improve the quality of rehabilitation services we provide to youth in juvenile correctional facilities.