When Teens Leave Residential Care: What's Next?
Anyone in the field of juvenile justice or teen treatment knows that youth who return to the community after a period in a secure residential setting are in for a rough ride. Many return to drugs and crime -- even when aftercare is available.
According Dr. David Altschuler (see photo), it's not surprising that so many youth fail in aftercare, since the skills they must learn in order to succeed in residential care are not the same skills they need to succeed in the community.
What can be done? Altschuler, a longtime advisor to Reclaiming Futures and Principal Research Scientist at The Johns Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies, has some ideas. You can find them in his paper, "Rehabilitating and Reintegrating Youth Offenders: Are Residential and Community Aftercare Colliding Worlds and What Can Be Done About It?" It appeared in the Spring 2008 issue of the Justice Policy Journal, put out by the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice.
UPDATE Jan. 28, 2011: The Pathways to Desistance study found that aftercare is a key to youth coming out of the justice system. Check out this post for more information about the study.