West Virginia Division of Juvenile Services
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Overview of the Division of Juvenile Services

The West Virginia Division of Juvenile Services was created in 1997 with passage of House Bill (HB) 2680 by the West Virginia Legislature. The Division is designated to serve the needs of West Virginia's juvenile justice system under one umbrella, including the responsibility for operating and maintaining pre-dispositional detention centers and juvenile correctional centers. House Bill 2680 required that DJS develop a comprehensive plan to establish a unified state system for social and rehabilitative programming and treatment of juveniles in both types of centers, and a comprehensive plan for regional detention centers and programs. It also created a partnership between DHHR and Juvenile Services for planning and establishing balanced and comprehensive programming for juveniles and their families, including prevention and early intervention strategies.

Detention Centers

 The mission of the Detention Centers is to ensure safe, secure facilities with sufficient space for pre-dispositional youth, with quality services and progressive programming to achieve positive outcomes for detention residents.

Detention Centers are short term facilities meant to house youth in the care of custody of the Division of Juvenile Services who are pre-adjudicatory or are going through the juvenile court process. In our continuum of care, the Division of Juvenile Services has two levels of structure and security to meet this need.


Staff Secured Facilities

As stated in Chapter 49 of the West Virginia Code, Child Welfare, staff secure facilities "means any public or private residential facility characterized by staff restrictions of the movements and activities of individuals held in lawful custody in such facility and which limits its residents' access to the surrounding community, but is not characterized by construction fixtures designed to physically restrict the movements and activities of residents." W.VA § 49-1-4(13)

The staff secure concept is new to West Virginia in regards to the Juvenile Justice population needing structured residential care during the court process. Throughout the country alternatives to detention have been utilized for over thirty years, placing youth awaiting the court process in the community, in their own homes or in staff secure shelters.

The Division of Juvenile Services operation of "staff secure" facilities furthers the continuum of care goal. The staff secure facilities fit between emergency shelter care facilities and hardware secure detention facilities. These staff secure facilities will be housed in strategically located areas throughout the state to maximize efficiency in their use. Each facility will house adolescents who are in need of out of home placement because remaining in the home would be contrary to the welfare of the youth. Placement in the staff secured facilities will be based on risk and functionality assessment. This facility is considered a short term placement offering assessments, screenings, and service planning.
All staff secure facilities adhere to the following:
  • The basic premise of the staff secure facility is that emphasis is placed on staffing and programming design much more than locks and other hardware which are typical of the hardware secure facility.
  • Intensive supervision is provided by trained staff and by maximizing programming, the staff secure facility will be better able to meet the needs of the youth at each and every moment during the day.
  • The State Board of Education, Office of Institutional Education, will provide a full day of academic services to every youth.
  • Individual and group counseling will be provided daily as well as organized therapeutic recreational programming.
  • Every youth will participate in a battery of assessments which will follow the state plan for assessments (Hopefully through the "CAPS" Program being developed by the DHHR).
  • The facility case manager will coordinate in-house and community services for the youth in care, as well as ensure that a multi-disciplinary team is scheduled to ensure that treatment planning is completed efficiently.

Our three Staff Secure Facilities are: Robert Shell Juvenile Center, Gene Spadaro Juvenile Center, and the Vicki Douglas Juvenile Center. All offer the services listed above as well as some programs individual to their facilities.

Hardware Secure Detention

The Division of Juvenile Services currently has six hardware-secure detention centers. Detention Centers are facilities for juveniles who have been charged with committing a crime that would be punishable by incarceration, if committed by an adult. They are housed in our detention centers, a secure environment, as they continue through the juvenile justice court process.
Services offered in our detention centers mirror those offered in all DJS facilities:
  • Individual and group counseling based on high risk needs as identified by the Youthful Level of Service/Case Management Inventory (Y-LS/CMI). 
  • Other assessments are administered if needed based on results of the Y-LS/CMI. From this information a Service Plan is created with measurable goals and objectives. 
  • Case Management services provided to every youth. 
  • Medical and psychiatric services as needed. 
  • A Therapeutic Recreation Program is an integral part of the treatment process. 
  • The Department of Education, OIEP, offers a full day of academic services. Youth can work on middle/high school credit or Pre-GED work. Some youth may take the GED while in placement.
  • Families are able to visit every weekend with their resident and have access to facility counselors. This encourages the family to continue their involvement in their child's treatment program.

The DJS hardware secure detention centers are placed regionally across the state to provide this service as close to home as possible for families to stay involved and for each of youth attending court hearings and probation appointments. Our hardware secure detention centers are: Northern Regional Juvenile Center, J.M. "Chick" Buckbee Juvenile Center, Donald R. Kuhn Juvenile Diagnostic & Detention Center, Sam Perdue Juvenile Center, James H. "Tiger" Morton Juvenile Center, and Lorrie Yeager Jr. Juvenile Center.

Correctional Facilities

The Division of Juvenile Services operates two juvenile correctional facilities which are responsible for the placement and care of adjudicated and post-dispositional youth. Correctional centers are designed long-term secure facilities which have the capacity to service juveniles between the ages of twelve and twenty-one years of age.

The WV Industrial Home for Youth, the state's only maximum-security juvenile correctional facility, can house approximately 140 male and 30 female residents.

The Kenneth "Honey" Rubenstein Center is designated as a minimum-security juvenile correctional facility. It houses up to 60 male residents whose plan is to transition back into the community.

Diagnostic Centers

The Division of Juvenile Services operates two 60 day diagnostic centers available for West Virginia's adjudicated youth. The Northern WV Youth Diagnostic Center is located in Salem, WV. It was recently re-designated as a 15 bed, hardware secure diagnostic center for adjudicated males. The Donald R. Kuhn Juvenile Diagnostic & Detention Center offers 22 staff secure diagnostic beds and 16 hardware secure diagnostic beds. DRKJDDC is a co-ed facility and NWVYDC accepts only males.

The diagnostic program was created for the purpose of providing temporary residential 24-hour care and evaluation for youth placed away from their parents/guardians and home because, in the ruling of the court, remaining in their homes would be contrary to the welfare of the child. Every resident has been adjudicated delinquent and court ordered into the custody of the Division of Juvenile Services for the purpose of conducting a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation to determine his or her individual service needs.

 Community Based Services

Our Youth Reporting Centers are: Kanawha County Youth Reporting Center, Cabell County Youth Reporting Center, STARS Youth Reporting Center, Marion County Youth Reporting Center, Mason County Youth Reporting Center, Brooke/Hancock County Youth Reporting Center, Harrison County Youth Reporting Center, Wood County Youth Reporting Center, Wayne County Youth Reporting Center, Putnam County Youth Reporting Center and Mercer County Youth Reporting Center.

 Through a continuum of services the division community based services, provides assessment, youth reporting centers and intensive case management/aftercare for youthful offenders. Additional supervision is offered to youth and families in their home community to increase success. Our professionals work in conjunction with local resources to develop a strength-based plan to support success for our youth.

 As youth enter into our care, staff conduct a needs assessment to identify their specific treatment needs. The Division combines efforts with Placing Agencies, Education Professionals, Families, and the youth to ensure proper level of services. Based on the information gathered, an individual service plan will be developed.

 Juvenile Intervention and Assessment Team

Youth Reporting Centers are community based, nonresidential, intermediate sanction strategies, as well as, an intervention program that provides consequences to youthful offenders at risk of out of home placement and/or part of their reintegration into the community from placement. The program is created to hold court involved and court diverted youth accountable for their deviant/criminal behavior in a controlled, intense treatment environment while they continue their education and take part in services designed to meet their individual needs. With an in-home treatment program provided to families experiencing difficulty and the use of the skills and talents of professional and a paraprofessional staff out of home placement may be awarded. This program is a child based, family-centered model of care which incorporates intensive therapeutic workers involvement with all family members and significant others. In many cases this will prevent the out of home placement of children or reduce the length of stay in our secure facilities.

The Juvenile Intervention & Assessment Team (JIAT) serves youth involved or at risk of being further involved in the Juvenile Justice System. The team is designed to improve prevention and intervention services for delinquent, at risk youth and their families. The JIAT provides immediate comprehensive assessments in order to determine the youth’s risk of re-offending in addition to determining the need for services. The program is implemented by a team of professionals that are on call or accessible to the court system, Monday through Friday, 9:00am to 5:00pm. The team develops and provides clinical recommendations that assist the courts with dispositional planning in an effort to provide appropriate treatment for youth.

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