July 19, 2019 | From City of New Orleans

Youth Study Center Announces Name Change and Permanent Director

NEW ORLEANS – The City Council on Thursday approved the change of the Youth Study Center’s official name to the Juvenile Justice Intervention Center (JJIC). The name change signals the facility’s renewed focus on providing quality, evidence-based juvenile detention practices and programming that prioritizes individual accountability, rehabilitation and restoration.

Also, Dr. Kyshun Webster has been named the center’s permanent director after serving in an interim role since October 2018.

"It is only when we strategically intervene in the lives of vulnerable youth and their families to get a deeper understanding of the root causes of their behaviors will we curb juvenile crime in our community," Dr. Webster said.

Emily Wolff, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Youth & Families, said, "Mayor Cantrell has been deeply committed to improving conditions at the Youth Study Center since the moment she set foot into office. We are proud of the transformation that has taken place over the past several months at the facility. Staff training and retention has improved, therapeutic services have expanded, school attendance is up, and the overall safety and security of the facility is much improved. We are eager to continue to make vital improvements with solid leadership in place and a new vision for the JJIC."

The JJIC embraces the opportunity to leverage the detention of youth in order to make behavioral changes. To help make this happen, JJIC has adopted a three-pronged approach:

 Rehabilitation – While not a long-term treatment facility, JJIC can initiate intervention services by providing skilled care given by licensed mental health staff and social workers. Interventions include evaluating the youth, identifying the specific factors that must be addressed to reduce risks and designing a plan of care that can help youth work on the positive social behaviors in daily life. JJIC is working on the integration of a trauma-informed approach in the facility and is working with national experts – becoming the first in the state to do so.

 Restoration – JJIC integrates opportunities for reflective learning for youth to achieve social discipline through participatory learning and decision-making by using restorative practices. These practices help youth to display empathy, reduce crime violence and bullying, improve human behavior, strengthen civil society, provide effective leadership, restore relationships, and repair harm.

Re-entry – JJIC will assist detained youth with a successful transition back to their community. Case managers will establish collaboration with the community and its resources to ensure the delivery of needed services and supervision intended to reduce youths’ recidivism through targeted education and employment programs, family engagement, mental health and substance use treatment, and, housing.

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