Juvenile Justice Aftercare Program Shows Success in Florida and Beyond

Youth exiting juvenile justice residential placements are often thrust back into their home communities without a support system leading to high rates of recidivism and likely pushing the youth deeper into the juvenile justice system. Eckerd recognized this missing link and funded Florida’s first aftercare service for youth in the 1990’s. This service was subsequently noticed by the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice and instituted statewide. Since that time, Eckerd has expanded aftercare services throughout Florida and in other states to include North Carolina and Texas. Eckerd’s Juvenile Justice Aftercare services provide transition and case management support for youth and families prior to and upon exit of residential treatment programs. Millions in cost savings from subsequent residential and detention placements have been realized, and outstanding outcomes have been achieved to include:

  • Social Skills Improvements 85%
  • Mental Health Improvements 89% (NC and TX)
  • Youth Satisfaction 100%
  • Parent Satisfaction 100%
  • Recidivism 16% (FL)

Eckerd Juvenile Justice Aftercare services feature: transition planning; individualized assessment; educational, vocational and recreational planning; crisis intervention; community service; counseling for adjustment and social skills building; and Life Skills Training (an evidence-based intervention). These services are provided in the home and community at the convenience of the youth and their family.
Eckerd is one of the largest privately-funded nonprofit youth and family service organizations in the United States and a national leader that has given much-needed second chances to more than 100,000 children since 1968. Eckerd provides a full continuum of life changing behavioral health and child welfare services to 13,000 children and families annually. Through our breadth and depth of services, commitment to performance measurement and quality outcomes, and 40+ year history of success, Eckerd has become known as the first name in second chances.

Jody Grutza is the Director of National Advocacy and Public Policy for Eckerd where she is the lead on all government relations efforts; coaches local directors in building relationships with community and state leaders; keeps her finger on the pulse of national and state policy innovations; authors white papers and materials supporting Eckerd initiatives; and manages grant and foundation efforts. Jody also monitors and engages in research, trends and best practices in child welfare and juvenile justice from a national and macro perspective. Jody came to Eckerd from the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices where, as a senior policy analyst in the Social, Economic, and Workforce Programs division she provided on-site, customized facilitation and technical assistance to teams of senior state officials and governor’s offices addressing policy and systems reform issues related to child welfare and other human services as needed. Jody also managed the Policy Academy to Safely Reduce the Number of Children in Foster Care and Learning Network on Youth Transitioning Out of Foster Care. Previously, she was a legislative associate for the American Public Human Services Association where she represented the National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators (NAPCWA) legislative priorities to congressional staff by developing policy statements, educating federal staff on state policy implications, submitting congressional testimony, and collaborating with other advocacy and research entities. Jody began her work in child welfare as a case manager and supervisor for Lutheran Child and Family Service of Michigan. She has a BA in Human Development from Eckerd College and MSW from Eastern Michigan University.

Updated: February 08 2018