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CJCJ clinical case managers set clients on the path to rehabilitation

“Many youth we work with come from broken families, cope with trauma, suffer from poverty; factors that need to be acknowledged when having an open conversation about how to rehabilitate,” says Kimo Uila, CJCJ’s Director of Juvenile Justice Services.

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Many of CJCJ’s youth clients face these unique difficulties when returning to their communities after being incarcerated. A key part of their success can be attributed to CJCJ’s Placement Diversion and Reentry Program (PDRP). This program provides intensive supervision and clinical services (ISCS) to probation-involved young people, ages 12-21. By allowing clinical case managers to become involved in the lives of their clients, PDRP supports the highest-risk youth in the justice system. This includes youth who have committed multiple offenses or have specialized needs concerning mental health or substance abuse issues.

“Clinical case managers play a role as an advocate and liaison between the family and probation, educating families on the process and navigating them,” says Kimo. “They are the voices for empowering and supporting youth during the transition towards their sustainability and stability.”

The clinical case management approach aims to holistically intervene and create strong relationships with clients based on the understanding that environmental factors affect their physical and mental health. The ISCS model enables case managers to work in their client’s communities, schools, and homes to provide more individualized therapy and support approximately three times a week. Clinical case managers also assist clients in finding necessities like housing, employment, transportation, and legal resources.

“The biggest thing that we do,” says Terence Baugh a therapist and a clinical case manager at CJCJ, “is [provide] the direct links to resources — the direct assistance by being there with them in everyday life, every step of the way…being in the community, taking them to their [probation officer], giving them rides to different programs, being there with their families, and not just being this sort of outside expectation.”

The ISCS modelrecognizes clients’ experiences with poverty, trauma, and family struggles as risk-factors for youth that punitive models fail to address. When clients are released on probation, they will return to the same issues. By understanding the specific difficulties their clients face, case managers can address the issues that may lead to their justice involvement. 

“I feel that it’s important for the kids to not feel alone,” says CJCJ clinical case manager Arturo Durazo. Each client’s unique circumstances can be isolating, and it may be difficult to find the proper resources for them in the community. “I also grew up in San Francisco. I worked in so many different programs, so I know a lot of the kids already. I use my connections that I’ve created along the way to my advantage.”

Because ISCS is a newer intervention model, it is utilized by only five Bay Area agencies including CJCJ, the YMCA-SF, Instituto Familiar de la Raza, Inc. (IFR), Community Youth Center in San Francisco (CYC-SF), and the Occupational Therapy Training Program (OTTP-SF). Hopefully this will serve as a model beyond the Bay Area. As mental health funding becomes a higher priority in California, and at the federal level, perhaps there will be further opportunities for the state to expand intervention practices should be expanded to address the unique needs of youth.

Keywords: case manager, ISCS, juvenile justice services, Placement Diversion Reentry Program, reentry, san francisco bay area

Posted in Blog, Juvenile Justice

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