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New Fiscal Year Brings More Transformation for Division of Youth Services


For Immediate Release:
July 2, 2020

Media Contacts: 
Lainey Morrow, 


New Fiscal Year Brings More Transformation for Division of Youth Services 

Contractor takes over day-to-day management of all DYS centers


(LITTLE ROCK, Ark.) — With the fiscal year that started July 1, the Department of Human Services (DHS) Division of Youth Services (DYS) officially launched the next phase of its efforts to transform its portion of the juvenile justice system, and for the first time has all of its treatment centers run by a single provider. 

“Youth Services has taken the right path with the mandate to assess the needs of each young person,” Governor Asa Hutchinson said. “By coupling the right treatment with an emphasis on community assistance for diversion and re-entry, we are offering our youth new hope for success.”

To help ensure there are robust resources in communities across the state, DYS is allocating an additional $2.75 million for the 11 community-based providers in Arkansas that provide re-entry services. The additional funding is available because DYS has closed three of its juvenile treatment centers in the last two years allowing it to divert funds earmarked for residential programs to community programs and through a partnership with the Department of Commerce's Division of Workforce Services. The new funding began July 1, 2020. 

“Over the last few years, DHS has joined Governor Hutchinson, the Arkansas Legislature, Juvenile Judges, youth advocates and the providers of juvenile services in our state to undertake true transformation of our juvenile justice system. It takes all players in the system working together to make change happen, and in Arkansas, we are fortunate to have all aspects of the juvenile system committed to long-term positive change. We share a common goal – for the youth of Arkansas to get the services they need to be successful in the least restrictive setting possible. Together, we’ve made good progress in improving treatment at residential facilities and ensuring youth that are committed stay only as long as needed for treatment,” said DHS Secretary Cindy Gillespie. “This next phase focuses on building community options and services, and just as DYS has done for the first phase, we will be measuring and reporting on progress. It’s exciting to see the improvements thus far and even more exciting to see the juvenile system enter the next phase!”

DYS has restructured how the community-based re-entry programs will work by including mandatory services that all must provide, including:

  • Case management
  • Cognitive Behavioral Treatment Groups (CBT)
  • Independent Living Skills
  • Parenting classes for parents and guardians and the juveniles if they are parents
  • Mentoring
  • Vocational and Career Supports  

Each provider will have an additional list of services they offer that are unique to the judicial districts they serve and tailored to meet the needs of the youth they are serving. Each youth will get an individualized treatment plan for re-entry, just as they do when they are placed in DYS custody. 

Also as of July 1, Rite of Passage (ROP) took over the day-to-day management of all four of the state’s juvenile treatment centers. Previously, ROP only managed the Arkansas Juvenile Assessment and Treatment Center in Saline County. It now also runs the Mansfield and Harrisburg juvenile treatment centers and the Dermott 18-21 unit. 


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