Parole Aftercare Supports Youth’s Community Reentry

February 11, 2021
A group of silhouetted people help each other reach a mountain top.

As part of our Juvenile Rehabilitation (JR) continuum of care, the Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) aims to provide comprehensive and community-based services to support eligible youth as they transition back into their communities. Young people start their residential sentences with JR in an institution. From there, if there is physical capacity, eligible youth can transition into a least restrictive community facility and may reenter their communities with the support of parole aftercare.

Trey, a former JR resident, is one of many bright spots for JR when it comes to a youth and family’s successful experience with parole aftercare services. Trey participated in nearly two years of parole aftercare before aging out on his 21st birthday.

Parole aftercare involves JR staff, in collaboration with community-based services, providing youth and their families with reentry support and helping eliminate barriers to accessing essential services. This includes resources such as employment, housing, education, and treatment, as well as individually-tailored supervision to enhance a young person’s compliance with parole conditions and follow-through on reentry plans they developed while in residential care.

While on parole, Trey and his family were able to take advantage of a handful of resources and services offered within the community. Trey participated in and completed WISe services, which allowed him to receive counseling through an individual therapist, support from his peer partner, and ongoing encouragement and goal setting from his WISe team as a whole. Trey also actively participated in treatment specific to his offense and completed his treatment before discharging from parole aftercare.

“Parole gave me the skills and knowledge to get me through life. I have a roof over my head and food in my mouth. I don’t take for granted the time that I spent on parole because I realize now that it was to help me,” said Trey.

After release, he lived with his grandparents. One of their primary goals was to help guide him toward independent living as he transitioned into adulthood. Trey rekindled his relationship with his father and transitioned to living with him while keeping his grandparent’s close. Within a matter of days, Trey secured a full-time job working for a fruit warehouse and is still there today. Since Trey’s completion of parole aftercare, he continues to maintain positive change and progress in life.

Trey said, “I want other guys like me to have the chance to be on parole because it’s not as bad as it sounds. Give your parole counselor a chance because you never know, you may find a friend in them or realize that in the end, they were there to support you all along.”