Missouri Model Helps Kids with Big Problems at a Smaller Cost

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The Missouri Model is helping change the juvenile justice system by providing students with the ability to transition into the community at a cheaper cost to the state. According to a recent study by the Annie B. Casey Foundation, the model shows 75% of the kids that go through the Missouri juvenile justice system advance through school as if they were never detained in the first place. At the time of discharge from the system, 85.3% are already engaged in school or have found a job.

The Missouri system accomplishes this by using the following core strategies:

  1. Placing kids into smaller facilities near their homes.
  2. Kids are supervised in small groups but get individualized attention.
  3. Emphasis is on a positive atmosphere that is safe physically and emotionally.
  4. Kids develop academic, pre-vocational, and communication skills to help them acknowledge and solve personal problems.
  5. Family members are treated as resources to help kids, rather  the source of  problems.
  6. The system provides extended support and monitoring when kids go home.

The financial aspect of the Missouri juvenile justice system is also appealing. The Casey Foundation reports that Missouri spends $87 million a year on detention youth services. In contrast, according to the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice annual fiscal budget in 2008, Georgia spent almost $322,000,000 on it’s juvenile justice system.

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