In April 2012, New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) contracted with Vera’s Center on Youth Justice (CYJ) to create tools to assist implementation of the state’s new Close to Home Initiative. CYJ will develop a risk-classification tool and an intake-matching form that will guide the placement of youth found guilty of a juvenile delinquency charge in local, privately run facilities

Traditionally, New York City youth who are found guilty of a juvenile delinquency charge and sentenced to an out-of-home placement have been placed in state-operated facilities in upstate New York, far away from their homes and families. Following the passage of the Close to Home Initiative in Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 2012 Executive Budget, these youth will now be under the custody of ACS and sent to private facilities in and around New York City.

To inform the tools’ development, CYJ will review current local and national intake and assessment practices. Staff will examine the information that informs youth placement and the processes authorities use to decide where to place youth. They will also analyze existing placement data. Vera aims to create tools that will assist the Close to Home initiative in appropriate, effective matching of youth to programs.

Why develop placement tools?

In recent years, research has found that placing youth in the least restrictive setting that is consistent with public safety, meets their needs, and keeps them close to home can promote better outcomes for young people, families, and communities. Building on this knowledge, jurisdictions nationwide are now establishing a wide array of non-residential and residential services that can serve youth in their own communities, with the aim of better engaging families and caregivers and facilitating a youth’s reentry process after placement. Vera’s development of tools to support the Close to Home Initiative will draw on this work to ensure that young people in New York City are served by the residential programs that are best suited to their risks and needs. 

For more information, contact Vidhya Ananthakrishnan