A shy, troubled teenager when she started the program Sally (not her real name) is now back in school and gainfully employed at a local restaurant. The in-between of the story is Sally’s remarkable transformation through the Family & Youth Services Bureau’s Risk Management Program.
A program for chronic juvenile offenders, Risk Management started 15 years ago as a pilot program in Porter County and the program format is now in use in other Indiana counties as well. It is designed to give teenagers a last chance opportunity to turn their life around in lieu of receiving more restrictive consequences.
In Sally’s case, she completed the program, and has not had further contact with the juvenile justice system. Also, she is on target to graduate with her high school class; her mother comments “She is like a different kid, I’ve gotten my daughter back.”
The program works with up to 30 youths and their families each year in an intensive, structured program that lasts 7 months at a minimum. It can last much longer. “We work with the family and their son or daughter for as long as it takes to help them create a new successful and responsible path,” states Belinda Georgeff, Director of FYSB’s Risk Management.
“Some finish the program in 7 months; some can take longer, as much as a year or more. We keep working with them; our goal is not to give up on a kid—we have faith in their capabilities.”
The Risk Management program develops goals with each family, and the parents are involved from the start with meetings on a weekly basis.
One of our volunteers comments on the progress made by the youth: “I find it encouraging to watch the positive behavioral transition most of the youth go through. The program guides these kids back on the right path which is, most certainly, a win-win situation for our community,” states volunteer Kathy Mosak. Contact Belinda Georgeff at 464-4641 for more information about the program.