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Community Options for Youth

Providing mental health support to youth and families involved in the San Francisco juvenile justice system for high-risk youth ages 12-24, including pre- and post-adjudicated youth who are either at risk of out-of-home placement or are reintegrating into their communities from out-of-home placement.

Eligibility and referrals

Community Options for Youth (COY) client referral forms are available to San Francisco Juvenile Probation personnel, public defenders, and other non-profit agencies serving youth in similar target populations. Youth must be eligible for Medi-Cal and not currently detained. A CJCJ therapist conducts an initial assessment with the youth and his/her parent or guardian upon enrollment.

To make a referral or a request for services please contact Kimo Uila at (415) 621-5661 x. 101 or kimo@cjcj.org.

How it works

COY is a behavioral health program providing services to ensure client safety and stability, life skills development, increased pro-social behaviors, and participation in education and employment. Services include:

  • Assessment
  • Individual psychotherapy 
  • Family psychotherapy  
  • Targeted case management
  • Therapeutic arts and recreational activities
  • Crisis intervention and stabilization
  • Referral and linkages

CJCJ provides services in the community, particularly when clients are unable or unwilling to enter a clinical setting. COY services may be provided in a client’s home, school, or other location that is convenient, private, and accessible. This enables our staff to provide therapeutic support in a comfortable setting, teach life skills, improve a client’s connection to the larger community, and ensure clients maintain their commitments in accordance with their case plans.

COY services can be provided in conjunction with any other CJCJ juvenile justice service program.

Interested in being a clinical intern? Read our description of the clinical internship program and submit applications to Clinical Supervisor Margaret Hitchcock at mhitchcock@cjcj.org

History

COY developed out of recognition that traditional clinical therapy does not effectively address the needs of high-risk justice involved youth. Historically, CJCJ’s Detention Diversion Advocacy Program (DDAP) referred youth clients to licensed therapists that required youth to attend therapy appointments in hospital and office environments around the city. However, the clinical environment and passive style that characterizes traditional mental health services was insufficient to address the needs of this troubled youth population. As a result, youth participation in these services was low. Once a youth had exited the DDAP program, services stopped completely.

In 2008, COY began serving youth through licensed therapy provided in the community. The program maximizes Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT) funding through Senate Bill 163 to create a flexible service delivery system that emphasizes engaging the client in the therapeutic process. This fundamental shift in the provision of mental health services has not only been successful with CJCJ’s youth client population, but has created an alternative and effective mental health model that improves the juvenile justice system’s ability to respond to the youth in its care and promote better public safety outcomes.

Kimo Uila, Director of Juvenile Justice Services
Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice
40 Boardman Place
San Francisco, CA 94103
Tel: (415) 621-5661 ext. 101
Fax: (415) 621-5466
kimo@cjcj.org

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