Adolescent girls in the juvenile justice system have unique treatment needs. These include a deep yearning for relational connectedness and a program that recognizes the realities of sexism and abuse faced by girls and women in our society. This female responsive program considers how a girls’ experience influences the choices and behaviors she makes and provides a space for girls to explore their strengths and their decision-making free from judgment.
The Terri Thomas Girls Program provides detention, stabilization, and short-term treatment services to female adolescents aged 10-20 who are court involved and referred by the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services (DYS).
The program is dedicated to the memory of Terri Yvonne-Cherie Thomas, a former DYS caseworker who was murdered in 1996, and ascribes to the belief that all young women can accomplish positive change. The program provides comprehensive educational, recreational, medical, and clinical services grounded in Relational-Cultural Theory (RCT). RCT believes that female psychological development occurs through healthy emotional connection and that people grow and gain a sense of self through relationships with others. At Terri Thomas Program, we believe that through therapeutic relationships, based in mutual respect, empathy and authenticity, we can help girls give voice to their experiences and grow into healthy young women. We provide trauma treatment, including Dialectical Behavior Therapy, case management to connect girls to resources in the community and a high quality education. Some of our special events include our annual “Gather and Grill,” Women’s History Month and Black History Month celebrations.