The APO program is comprised of volunteers from the community who serve in the local DJJ offices supervising one or more non-violent and low-risk juvenile probationers. Operating similar to a regular DJJ probation officer working to ensure that the youth is complying with all conditions of probation, APOs go through extensive training and upon completion are sworn in by a Family Court Judge. The program’s goals are to reduce recidivism, provide more one-on-one positive adult contact with youth, and to reduce DJJ probation worker’s caseloads so they can focus on the more serious offenders.
The Council for Young Boys and Men is a strength-based group approach program for boys and young men ages 9 to 18, designed to promote a safe and healthy passage through pre-teen and adolescent years by building strong, positive relationships. In a structured environment, boys and young men have the opportunity to address masculine definitions and behaviors and build their capacities to find their innate value and create good lives. Recognizing boys' strengths and capacities, the Council challenges stereotypes, questions unsafe attitudes about masculinity, and encourages solidarity through personal and collective responsibility.
A key aspect of Restorative Justice is for juvenile offenders to develop competencies that will enable them to remain crime-free. Taught at the local county level in many communities across the state, “CHOICES” is a curriculum tool that teaches young people to make positive decisions in their lives to help them avoid repeating criminal behaviors.
The Community Juvenile Arbitration is a state-wide collaborative effort between DJJ and all 16 of South Carolina’s solicitors and one sheriff’s department. The programs divert first-time juvenile offenders charged with a non-violent crime away from the formal juvenile justice system to an arbitration process conducted in the youth’s community. Through Arbitration, trained volunteer arbitrators guide the development of common-sense solutions and monitor the youths’ progress throughout the 90 days they are participating in the program.
Earn & Return is a DJJ youth accountability initiative designed to support the principles of Restorative Justice, which provides young offenders with an opportunity to earn money through their own work at community service work sites to repair the harm they have caused to their crime victim and the community through paying restitution. Funded by contributors who make a monetary donation through their organization or directly to DJJ, the funds are distributed by the DJJ’s Victim Restitution Program and promote the goals of holding young offenders accountable, building relationships with positive adults, and enhancing community safety.
Family Solutions is a 10-week family-centered intervention program that targets first time offenders, and simultaneously addresses the needs common to DJJ juveniles and their families. Parents and youth can be court-ordered to complete a Family Solutions cycle or it may be used as a diversionary tool. The objective is to enable the parents to work effectively with their children as they embrace positive and pro-social interactions.
Girl’s Circle is a program for girls ages 9 to 18 designed to foster self-esteem, help girls maintain an authentic connection with peers and adult women in their community, counter trends toward self-doubt, and allow for genuine self-expression through verbal sharing and creative activity. Conducted by trained local DJJ county office female staff volunteers, the Girl’s Circle groups consist of 5 to 10 girls who meet once weekly. Topics include friendship, body image, female identity, stereotypes, trusting self, and others, aggression and dating violence, diversity and cultural heritage, relationships, substance abuse, and risky behaviors, goal setting, and self-care.
G.R.E.A.T. is a statewide gang and violence prevention program built around a school-based, law enforcement and DJJ probation officer-instructed classroom program of study. The program is intended to help prevent their involvement in delinquency, youth violence, and gang membership. G.R.E.A.T. lessons focus on providing life skills to students to help them avoid using delinquent behavior and violence to solve problems, in 13 weekly one hour sessions along with a summer program and a family training component.
Intensive In-Home Services
Intensive In-Home Services offers a unique combination of rehabilitative behavioral health services that focus on strengthening the family unit in the community. Service plan development, individual therapy, family therapy, family support, and crisis intervention services are offered in the youth’s home setting several hours each week.
Intensive Supervision (IS)
Intensive Supervision is designed to promote public safety and reduce recidivism. The service targets youth returning to their communities from a correctional facility environment, as well as high-risk youth on probation in communities that require an intensive level of support. IS is a level of supervision that requires a caseload of no more than 20 offenders per Intensive Supervision Officer (ISO). Each ISO works to redirect the lives of youth, as well as their families, toward productivity, self-sufficiency, and law-abiding behavior. It has been demonstrated that youth supervised under IS are less likely to re-offend.
Lunch Buddies is a program designed to connect elementary, middle, and high school students with a caring adult volunteer. A Lunch Buddy spends an hour or two each month to share lunch, fun, friendship, and support the school’s academic and enrichment activities. The Lunch Buddies program also provides an opportunity for DJJ to introduce delinquency prevention and intervention programs to enhance the student’s personal growth and help them make good choices and allows DJJ to give back to the community and make a positive difference in the lives of the youth.
Project: Adopt-A-Class (PAAC)
Project: Adopt A-Class is a violence prevention program where local DJJ county offices "adopt" classes at local elementary and middle schools based on their population of “at-risk” youth. Professional DJJ staff spend at least one hour per month directly interacting with their "adopted" students teaching them about making good positive decisions that build character, self-esteem and good citizenship. This program is in partnership with the SC Department of Education, the SC Bar Association and the SC Department of Mental Health.
Project: Right Turn (PRT)
Project: Right Turn is a program that provides youth and their parents an opportunity to tour one of DJJ’s three evaluation centers as a result of a Family Court order, as an intervention through Arbitration or contract, or as a graduated sanction for youth on probation. The program focuses on educating young offenders about good decision making and the potential consequences of continued delinquent behavior, and includes a parent education component and a presentation from DJJ’s The Insiders.
Each year in September hundreds of DJJ youth along with DJJ staff and many community partners across the state of South Carolina participate in the DJJ Restoring Carolina through Youth Service event. This agency-wide event coincides with the National Day of Service and emphasizes the agency’s continuing commitment to playing an active role in helping our communities become better places to work, live, and play. It also provides DJJ youth and staff an opportunity to give back to their communities in a positive way and promotes the concept of Restorative Justice.
DJJ has partnered with local churches, community centers, and other youth-serving organizations across the state to provide TASCs. These centers offer structured time, activities, and supervision between the end of the school day and when parents return from work, which is a risky time for young people, and when the serious and violent crime committed by youth increases. This nationally recognized program is specifically designed to reduce the likelihood that participants could be incarcerated and is geared toward those youth in need of additional structure and assistance, often supplementing the normal supervision that DJJ provides to youth on probation, parole, or on contract.
Think Twice is a DJJ prevention and intervention initiative consisting of a DJJ-produced video and companion workbook (PDF), designed to provide at-risk youth and their parents/guardians with real-world information about the consequences of juvenile crime, and its impact on the victims and the youth personally. Ultimately, Think Twice is intended to help direct youth away from the DJJ system and toward making more positive and informed decisions about their behavior.
Wrap-around Services (WRAP)
Wrap-around Services are additional support services that are provided to juveniles under DJJ supervision and at risk of placement or institutionalization. These services include transportation and behavior modification services provided by private providers. Transportation services assist the youth and families in accessing the required appointments and services, while behavior modification offers a service plan with the goal of altering behavior that is inappropriate or undesirable while optimizing behavioral functioning.