DCYF Implements Review Process to Transition Eligible Young People to Community Facilities

March 14, 2024
Youth sitting in chairs in a circle

To better prepare young people to transition from a secure facility to a minimum-security facility, the Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) implemented a more thorough review process.

After developing DCYF began holding Community Facility Review Committee meetings in January 2024.  During the review process, the multi-disciplinary committee decides on the eligibility regarding placement of the young person.

The evaluation is based on:
•    Community risk and safety
•    Participation and progress by young people in treatment areas
•    Behavioral assessments

“The review process centers the young person’s readiness by evaluating their engagement in meeting their treatment goals, while balancing the safety of the public,” explained DCYF Assistant Secretary of Juvenile Rehabilitation Felice Upton. “The process is clear and transparent for residents and their families, as well as staff and the community.”

The new review process was developed to fill a gap, which previously led to young people being returned to institutions for behavior management and lack of engagement in rehabilitation. Since the implementation of the review committee, there have been 33 community facility reviews to date. Those meetings led to 25 young people being recommended to transition to a community facility, while eight were not recommended.

The weekly held multi-disciplinary team includes the Community and Parole Program Administrator, transition specialists, associate superintendents, a community facility administrator, Behavioral/Mental health treatment providers, education staff, and medical staff.

“We care deeply about community safety. This is part of our mission, and we need to continually look to improve our practices and adjust with our changing population,” said Upton. “We are invested in procedural justice, reducing bias, clear documentation, and having a process that individuals and families alike understand the when and why an individual may go to a community facility.”