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Health and Human Services Secretary Polanowicz recently spent an afternoon visiting with staff and youth from the Department of Youth Services.  Accompanied by DYS Commissioner Peter Forbes, Regional Director Barbara Morton, and Director of Operations of Central Region, Dan O’Sullivan, Secretary Polanowicz observed residential treatment programs in action as he toured through DYS facilities in Central Massachusetts.

Health and Human Services Secretary Polanowicz speaking with Department of Youth Services Commissioner Forbes on the Westborough campus.

Health and Human Services Secretary Polanowicz speaking with Department of Youth Services Commissioner Forbes on the Westborough campus.

The visit highlighted the programs and services the Department of Youth Services delivers to help youth in custody make positive gains and change their life outcomes.  During the tour, Secretary Polanowicz visited DYS classrooms, libraries, residential rooms, and connected individually with both youth and staff. State and provider staff provided Secretary Polanowicz with an in-depth tour of several of its residential facilities located on the DYS Westboro campus. The tour included a visit to DYS’ Worcester Secure Treatment, a state-operated program that was recently nominated for a national award for juvenile correctional facilities by quality assessment group: Performance based Standards.

At each of the programs, clinical, education and group worker staff articulated how the focus in DYS residential treatment programs is to rehabilitate youth by preparing him or her to rejoin their community through quality curriculum and instruction, workforce development strategies and programming that support an asset-based framework.

Staff also explained how DYS residents are supported through weekly individual counseling and participation in required group therapies, which include:

  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy
  • Substance abuse groups (either prevention or substance abuse treatment groups); and groups focused on relapse prevention
  • Other treatments include: family counseling, trauma work, teen dating violence prevention, and parenting skills classes for DYS youth with children of their own.
DYS staff explaining services and programs available for youth in residential treatment.

DYS staff explaining services and programs available for youth in residential treatment.

DYS operates a range of residential and community programs across five regions in Massachusetts for committed and detained youth. As the juvenile justice agency for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Department of Youth Services promotes positive change in the youth in our care and custody. Our mission is to make communities safe by improving the life outcomes for youth in our care and custody.

 

To learn more about DYS, click here.

Written By:


Communications Coordinator, Department of Youth Services

Communications Director, Executive Office of Health and Human Services

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