Department of Youth Services Renews Contract with CHD
Expertise in Youth Assessment Services Reaffirmed
SPRINGFIELD, MA – CHD (Center for Human Development) is pleased to announce that the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services (DYS) has renewed its contract with CHD for its Assessment Program for adolescent males, ages 13 to 17, who are newly committed to DYS care. CHD is the largest provider of DYS services in the Western Region of the Commonwealth, and this renewed contract for assessment services is one of several provider contracts CHD has with the state. CHD was first awarded a contract for the Assessment Program in 1997 under a competitive bid process. The contract has been renewed periodically since then, based on a DYS examination of CHD’s performance, quality assessments and cost. The new contract is for five years.
The primary focus of the Assessment Program is comprehensive individual assessments within 30 days of commitment in order to provide DYS staff with a service plan designed to help the youth to be successful in avoiding reoffending behavior. CHD provides the initial assessment for each youth in DYS care and makes specific recommendations to DYS staff regarding ongoing services for the youth.
“As a long-time provider for the Commonwealth, we genuinely appreciate the partnership that has developed between DYS and CHD,” said John Roberson, VP of Children and Family Services for CHD. “We value their trust in our ability to work with youth and families to produce comprehensive assessments. Each assessment is broken into different aspects. Primarily it’s a clinical assessment that examines various aspects of the youth’s life, family, and criminal history, as well as an assessment of the risk to reoffend. There is also an academic component and a vocational component focusing on the youth’s unique interests and aptitude. In integrating all of these aspects into an individual assessment, we leverage CHD’s clinical, social and youth expertise in our role as an active partner in the continuum of care within DYS.”
According to Roberson, each CHD assessment seeks to identify youth and family strengths and then works to build on those strengths with an eye toward the future. “Rather than taking a deficit-based approach that only considers where the youth has revealed his shortcomings, CHD’s assessments align with a strengths-based approach,” he explained. “We need to understand history and of course CHD identifies root issues that contributed to the youth’s commitment to DYS, but it’s crucial to also understand what will make the youth successful moving forward as he transitions back to the community. With that in mind, each assessment includes placement and treatment recommendations for DYS staff to consider in their plan for the youth.”
Because of CHD’s proven and vast experience and expertise in providing professional behavioral health clinical services, credentialed clinicians are embedded in DYS programs, including the Assessment Program. “Embedding clinicians in a secure residential program, such as the one we operate in Springfield, enables CHD to leverage our clinical expertise and provide higher quality assessments. It also has a profound affect in supporting and assisting our youth who are experiencing mental health concerns or issues.”
Roberson emphasized the magnitude of providing high quality, individualized assessments to DYS in a timely manner. “I have built my professional career on providing services to youth as well as to DYS, and I was the director of the Assessment Program for six years, so I understand the crucial importance of this service delivery component. The decision of DYS to contract yet again with CHD acknowledges our expertise and reaffirms our proven history of providing quality services to DYS.”
Founded in 1972, Center for Human Development (CHD) is a nonprofit, CARF-accredited organization providing a broad range of high quality, community-oriented human services to 17,000 children, adolescents, adults, and families each year. The organization is dedicated to promoting, enhancing and protecting the dignity and welfare of people in need. www.chd.org
Kimberley A. Lee
VP Office of Advancement, CHD