SPECIAL 15-YEAR RETROSPECTIVE EDITION

President’s Letter

Daring reform begins juvenile
justice transformation
Wayne County broke new ground in 1999. It made
a daring reform of its juvenile justice system guided
by a new mission to “... treat each individual youth as
a person in need of resources rather than as a societal
disease that needed to be contained.”
It has been 15 years since the innovation began.
What new ground was broken? How did the network
of community services evolve? Which changes gave
birth to more creative initiatives? How many families
and youth have responded successfully to local
community resources? Is a new understanding
of “justice for juveniles” emerging?
The Wayne County Department of Children and
Family Services (CAFS) has been telling the fullest
story with detailed annual reports to the county
commissioners and the general public.
The five Care Management Organizations (CMO)
describe in each of their own newsletters and reports
the unique service networks they have created in their
assigned geographic sections of Wayne County.
This special issue of Choices highlights one part
of the reform. It unfolds the evolution of how the
Juvenile Assessment Center (JAC) partnered with
Wayne County to be the gateway to all the other
services.
When the full story of these organizations is finally
told, the citizens of Wayne County will discover the
trailblazing investment Wayne County is making to
reclaim its adjudicated youth and families at risk,
in crisis, traumatized or in need of care.

Cynthia J. Smith

Cynthia J. Smith, MSW, LCSW
President/CEO
Juvenile Assessment Center

The Reform

Begins:
Juvenile
delinquency,
early
intervention
and prevention
services
reinvented

A newsletter about juvenile services for Wayne County

the-jac.org

1998

Dramatic solution
sought for alarming rise
in juvenile services costs
At the annual Mackinac Policy
Conference, the state director of the
Michigan Department of Human
Services tells the group, “We cannot
build our way out of the delinquency

problem in Wayne County!” The state
had already added 450 more private
agency beds and placed another
200 youth in Florida, Missouri,
Pennsylvania, Texas and other states.

1999
Convinced that local county
government could better meet and
manage a local juvenile justice
network, the former Michigan Family
Independence Agency [now Michigan
Department of Human Services] and
the Third Circuit Court agree to enter
into a Memorandum of Understanding
with Wayne County to realign
responsibility for juvenile justice
services.

Page 2

He noted that it wouldn’t be enough.
A more dramatic solution is needed to
address the alarming growth in costly
juvenile services.

System shifts from
confinement to
community-based
diversion

The reform begins. The new
system shifts from one of deepend confinement of the majority
of adjudicated juveniles to an
unprecedented investment in
community-based prevention and
diversion programs for juveniles and
their families.

Choices for families I Vol. XIII Winter 2014

Wayne County Department
of Community Justice (now the
Department of Children and Family
Services) is assigned all county youth
previously committed to the state.
The 3rd Circuit Court and Wayne
County prosecutor formalize the
department’s standing to receive
juveniles from the court.
In November, the Wayne County
Commission approves new program
contracts for a county-based juvenile
justice system. It became known as
the JAC/CMO system with a Juvenile
Assessment Center (JAC) and five Care
Management Organizations (CMOs) to
serve distinct ZIP code clusters of the
county– namely:
n Black

Family Development:
East Side of Detroit
n Bridgeway Services:
Southwest Detroit and
Downriver Communities
n Central Care Management:
Central Detroit, Highland Park
and Hamtramck
n StarrVista:
West Side of Detroit and Urban
Communities west of Detroit
n Western Wayne:
Suburban Communities west
of Dearborn and southwestern
Wayne County

Private sector takes on
public safety challenge

For the first time in Michigan,
a core governmental public safety
responsibility is fully implemented
in the private sector designed to be
completely sensitive to serving each
community.

Choices for families I Vol. XIII Winter 2014

Seven-year-old joins
new family
SARAH (not her real name) was six years old and in foster
care for protection from an abusive parent. Her foster
family wanted to adopt her. Her father objected. Sarah was
assigned to Cristina, her therapist, who was training in Trauma
Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT). Sarah had
just begun overnight visits with her father. At first, she cried
and became very distressed, when she had to interact with her
father. Slowly, Christina engaged her in a series of appropriate
psychoeducational relaxation and affect techniques.
Sarah improved and was able to tell of being sexually abused.
A judge terminated parental rights and ordered continued
specialized treatment. Over time, Sarah told her therapist,
“I learned how to calm down.” Her foster family also
received training to help her. She turned seven, had improved
significantly and was adopted by her foster family, who had
already adopted her two siblings. Today, Sarah is a happy,
well-adjusted, highly verbal little girl doing well in school.
Her therapist’s judgment: “I truly believe Trauma Focused
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy changed my client’s life.”

Page 3

2000
JAC becomes
the hinge
for reform

The JAC is made the single point of
entry for all Wayne County juveniles.
It acts as the hinge for reform by
providing common intake, assessment,
placement and tracking.
The new CMOs are contracted to
provide or ensure full case management
and complete unconditional delivery
of mandated services to all adjudicated
juveniles assigned to it.

In April, using its new processes,
the system opens for business and
immediately assumes responsibility
for all active state wards. More than
2,000 cases of youth residing at Maxey
Training School and various private
facilities are transferred through the
JAC to the appropriate CMO.

2001

New network system connects
juvenile data
A precedent-setting Internet network
called the Juvenile Agency Information
System (JAIS) is put online by the
county. It links information around the
clock about every adjudicated juvenile
with the county Department of Children
and Family Services, the 3rd Circuit
Court, the JAC and the five CMOs.
JAIS is the electronic glue that keeps
each juvenile’s identification, CMO
assignment and treatment plan bound
together. It provides major functions:

n It

collects definitive legal and
demographic information on
every youth
n It allows daily tracking of all
services to each youth through
location and case notes
n It measures progress on goals and
outcomes by monitoring provider
treatment
n It enables a review and response
to all treatment concerns
Page 4

n It

eliminates duplication of services
ensures correct payment
for active cases only.

n It

To increase earlier intervention,
new county initiatives are created
that expand a range of locally
available services based on timely,
competent assessments of the
needs and concerns of each
youth and family:
n Treatment

foster care for
adolescent juveniles in the
justice system
n Residential care specific to
mental health and substance
abuse needs of county juveniles
n After-school programs and
summer activities for all
county youth
n Faith-based and culturally
skilled activities attuned to the
diversity of county youth and families.

Choices for families I Vol. XIII Winter 2014

2002-2003
n Out-of-home

County
juvenile
caseload
plummets
A change of county administration
results in reevaluation of and
recommitment to the JAC/CMO
system. During this period:

care is no longer the
only choice of treatment of juveniles
n Risk-based clinical services result
in increased use of local, in-home
treatment options
n 65 percent of all services now
provided within Wayne County or in
low-security residential programs
n County juvenile caseload reduced
from 3,500 to 1,800
n Costs start to stabilize with only a
0.5 percent increase of total budget
expense in its first years
n Families discover timely options
for helping their kids with services
closer to home
n Both committed juveniles and
juveniles on probation are assigned to
CMOs for focused case management
of treatment goals, court orders and
work with families.

In late 2002, the chief judge of the
3rd Circuit Court asks Wayne County
to assume responsibility for juveniles
on court probation. The county agrees
and the CMOs begin serving court
probationers as well as state wards.
Mike Duggan, then-county
prosecutor, affirms that Wayne
County’s new juvenile justice system,
“... radically changes the status quo
with a better approach that ‘would
empty prisons’ by providing concrete
resources and rational punishment
and involving parents.”

Detroit Free Press takes notice
After years of critical reporting on
the treatment of juveniles in Wayne
County, the Detroit Free Press for
the first time publishes a major article
highlighting significant improvements,
stating that “Wayne County helps
more for less per teen.”
The nationally recognized Robert
Wood Johnson Foundation also

weighs in. It completes the first
outside study of Wayne’s JAC/CMO
system. The initial report is positive,
finding the new system to be “a
significant improvement for juveniles.”

Choices for families I Vol. XIII Winter 2014

Page 5

2004
Wayne’s juvenile justice system now
ensures universal access and timely
individualized treatment for all Wayne
County juveniles.
From the start of the new system, the
JAC maintains an intake unit at the 3rd
Circuit Court where, following a court

hearing, a JAC worker immediately
engages parent/guardian and juvenile
to begin the intake process. The JAC
registers the case on JAIS and assigns
each juvenile and family to a specific
CMO in the part of the county where
they live. The assignment ensures them

personal case management – in the
words of one case manager: “We put
the puzzle of their lives back together
by introducing families to trustworthy,
competent adults who are there for
them.”

Data collected over four years is
shared with county commissioners in
annual reports. It begins to document
significant outcomes:

change to how dollars are allocated
within the JAC/CMO system.
CMO reimbursement must shift from
level-of-care case rate to single-rate
reimbursement, compelling the CMOs
to more skillfully manage the timing,
dosage, location and involvement of
types of service for each youth.

n County-adjudicated

juvenile case
load is cut in half
n Wayne County’s reliance of the state
training school is nearly eliminated
n Parents receive continuous support,
learning practical tips to deal with
their teens and peer pressure and
urged to “become part of your
child’s life.”
The new service network becomes
more sophisticated about the impact
of juvenile mental health and
substance use in adolescents. It also
learns that criminal behavior is not
one-dimensional. It recognizes the
traumatic consequences of any kind of
personal, familial or social violence on
a youth’s behavior and development.
Advanced understanding affects
services and costs. For example:
expenses for out-of-home care of
abused and neglected youth almost
double during the period, forcing a

2005
Reliance
on state
training
school
ending

Page 6

Commission urges
greater use of
JAC/CMO approach

Even as financial crises and new
service needs create funding dilemmas,
the Wayne County Commission asserts
that the JAC/CMO approach, “should
be applied to the adult system since
it has proven so successful in cutting
juvenile crime and repeat offences.”

PIVOTAL SHIFTS:
JAC/CMO system shifts into high gear
in a momentous partnership with
Community Mental Health to serve
seriously emotionally disturbed and
highly traumatized youth.

Choices for families I Vol. XIII Winter 2014

2006
Partnership with mental
health yields SED focus
Numbers grow: 1,830 new
adjudicated delinquents enroll,
representing a 187 percent increase
with 4,243 youth served by the CMOs.
Services to juveniles on court probation
increase 19.2 percent. Even though
the number of juveniles assigned
to the community for care expands,
fewer are escalated to higher levels of
care. CMOs reverse the trend through
careful, personal attention to each
youth and family.
More juveniles are safely monitored
in the community with low numbers
of felony convictions during and after
active CMO enrollment. Additional
police support, more community
involvement, greater testing and
treatment and increased family
interaction reverse the trend.

Attention to critical influences of
substance use in adolescents begins to
have an impact on how CMOs respond
to helping youth learn the consequences
of such involvement on their lives.
Wayne County continues to increase
investment in quality alternatives to
locking up adjudicated youth. By using
more effective home-based programs
and limiting secure institutional care
only for high-risk offenders, in 2006
alone:
n 2,022

new cases are enrolled
in community programs
n 89.5 percent increase in youth
diversion with no post-service
conviction

Choices for families I Vol. XIII Winter 2014

The JAC publishes
its first monograph:
Advocating Success:
A Groundbreaking
Approach to Juvenile
Justice. It explains how
the new county system
was created and designed
to operate.

Page 7

2007

Services
become
more
traumaspecific

Wayne County Department of
Children and Family Services (CAFS)
and Detroit-Wayne County Community
Mental Health (CMH) join efforts and
funds to increase early intervention
and prevention services for seriously
emotionally disturbed juveniles.
Services are more trauma-specific and
recognize the equally serious issues
juvenile girls experience.

A changed young man
JOHN (not his real name) began therapy with the JAC/CHOICES
in 2012. He had a hard time controlling his emotions, abused
controlled substances and struggled with anger flare-ups.
In and out of numerous placements, he lost his best friend.
On probation, while continuing treatment with his therapist, he
also struggled with grief. He began responding more maturely
to all his issues while also dealing with his genuine feelings of
loss. Even though he completed probation he chose to continue
therapy. He was a changed young man. John’s parents wrote
thanking the therapist for helping their son complete his goals,
grow through his loss and become more self-confident.
They happily described how his progress, “had outdone at least
eight years of prior therapy with several different therapists.”

The JAC is now also credentialed
by Detroit-Wayne County Community
Mental Health to become the
single gateway for mental health
services for the growing numbers of
seriously emotionally disturbed and
developmentally disabled profiled
juveniles in the community. For the
first time in Michigan, the county
eliminates barriers to mental health

services for adjudicated juveniles.
A major secondary consequence of
the 2007 Medicaid funding agreement
between CMH and CAFS ensures
greater revenue sharing to offset costs
of care. Increased participation in the
CMH system of care for mental health
services adds $6,696,950 to juvenile
funding, using the JAC as the gateway.

Robert Heimbuch, chief of the Juvenile Division, Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office,
speaks on a new diversion option focusing on early intervention.

Page 8

Choices for families I Vol. XIII Winter 2014

2008

2009

More than
JAC
expands
its
reach
$58 million
to
intervene
earlier
saved
through
homebased care
The use of approved CMH
assessment instruments to meet criteria
for obtaining services opens precedentsetting access to mental health services
for court-ordered juveniles. Because
the JAC is now a credentialed mental
health treatment provider, it is able to
add home-based mental health options
to juveniles and families in agreement
with CAFS and approve specialized
care for:
n Juveniles

placed with residential
mental health providers based on
psychiatric evaluation in order
to receive medically necessary
treatment
n Juveniles placed with
developmental disability
providers based on psychological
evaluations finding functional
impairments requiring specialized
cognitive learning support.

It also develops new processes to
give seriously emotionally disturbed
juveniles access to mental health
services using the JAC as the gateway
for community treatment and Alcohol
and Drug Screening (AOD) for every
juvenile entering the county’s Juvenile
Detention Facility (JDF) to determine
level of treatment.
Coordinated integration of mental
health and juvenile justice services
increases the possibilities of homebased treatment. With greater use
of home-based care by the juvenile
justice system, Title IV-E revenue
plummets 78.9 percent since
FY 2000 (down $58.4 million).

The JAC is a data-driven service
employed to accurately monitor care
and treatment of thousands of Wayne
County juveniles annually in order to
guide reduction of recidivism, improve
access to family supports, education
and mental health services and
influence greater attention to adolescent
substance abuse issues.
Using a newly developed Juvenile
Inventory for Functioning (JIFF)
assessment tool approved by WCCMH
and WCCAFS, the JAC is able to
expand its reach and measure core
life situations, family breakdown
issues and indicate strengths designed
generally to help nonadjudicated youth
and parent/caregivers focus concrete
treatment options for them. The JIFF
goal is to prioritize and individualize
better prevention and early intervention
options with families in school and
in the community, thereby preventing
adjudication.

Correct Course
improves community
safety, engagement

Consistent with its mission, the
JAC develops a unique working
partnership with the Wayne County
prosecutor using the JIFF, along with

Choices for families I Vol. XIII Winter 2014

a diversion service entitled Correct
Course. The partnership expands
existing countywide efforts to make
sure kids just starting to touch the
juvenile system attend school, abide
by the law and grow to be productive
citizens. The prosecutors welcome
Correct Course because, using the JIFF
to share information and ensure timely
interventions, it:
n Gives

parents a voice in their youth’s
treatment goals
n Is win-win intervention enabling
them to deal with gateway crimes
that may lead to more serious ones
n Focuses kids early with immediate
consequences fitted to their identified
needs
n Has a positive effect on community
safety and engagement.
Correct Course diverts thousands of
local youth from entering the juvenile
justice system. Cases that would
have been assigned to a CMO are
instead being served by local youth
and family agencies within Wayne
County. Significantly, in recognition
of such an unprecedented partnership
with the county prosecutor, Correct
Course earns a National Association of
Counties Award.

Page 9

System attracts
national attention

2010
NYC Commissioner Vincent Shiraldi,
Amy Salsich, Director of VERA
Institute and Delegates learn
about Wayne’s JAC/CMO
juvenile justice system.

No system is perfect. Stresses are
inevitable when so many lives are
affected and so much information is
being shared to make life-altering
decisions.
To keep the system honest, allow
rapid changes when needed and
encourage direct feedback from the
court to ensure corrective action for any
criticisms or performance issues within
JAC/CMO system, the county creates a
Notice of Concern (NOC) instrument.
It allows resolution of conflicts by
providing immediate response and
resolution to court concerns regarding
youth and family services.
County juvenile justice reforms
are not only producing significant
dollar savings to offset serious budget
cuts, they are also demonstrating, by
comparing data from FY99 with FY09,
how communities are safer and youth
outcomes measurably improved.

Results are noticed nationally. For
example, representatives of New York
City visit Wayne County twice within
the year to study its reformed juvenile
system. Eventually the state passes
legislation to create a similar system for
New York City’s juvenile services and
close many state residential facilities.

NEW MILESTONES EMERGE:
By redirecting money from a traditional
correctional model to a less costly early
intervention/prevention/diversion model,
juvenile justice funding is reversed –
a core strategy of the original reform.

Daniel Chaney, director
of the Juvenile Services
Wayne County Department
of Children and Family
Services, explains the
evolution of JAC.

Page 10

Choices for families I Vol. XIII Winter 2014

2011

Trauma care just one
of many prevention,
diversion efforts
Prevention and diversion have
increased substantially since 2008.
Using the new JIFF assessment
instrument and Correct Course
sees 2,900 juveniles (89.6 percent)
experience no conviction one year after
completing the program.
The cumulative data begins to
be overwhelming:
n Lower

adjudicated delinquent
caseloads result in $37.1 million
in savings to the county due to
27.6 percent decreased intake
and 37.6 percent decreased use
of residential care
n In 2009, the court implemented
“fixed term probation” for juveniles
assigned to the CMOs and by 2011,
85 percent of juveniles are on
probation and successfully released
in less than one year
n Countywide use of foundationfunded Youth Assistance Programs
[YAP] served more than 2,000 youth
in 43 Wayne County communities
n Number of adjudicated delinquents
has declined for three consecutive
years by 20.3 percent as a result of
alternative programs
n “Youth United” leadership initiatives
sponsored by CMH engage juveniles
in improving the county’s system
of care
n The JAC assesses 268 percent more
seriously emotionally disturbed
(SED) and developmentally disabled
(DD) delinquent children in need
of mental health treatment and
is able to assign youth to CMH
community-based providers for more
cross-system access to care using
alternative funds

n Demographic

trends continue to
justify effective treatment needs of
the JAC/CMO system compared with
pre-1999 services
n CMO budgets are down 12.1 percent
since FY 10 and down 39.1 percent
since ’08.
To further improve capacity to focus
on family life, the JAC CHOICES
engages in evidence-based treatment
with community mental health
“Trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioral
Treatment” (TF-CBT). Professional
staff is trained to better identify and treat
the impact of serious trauma on SED
youth. The methodology is designed to
reduce treatment disparities by:
n Preventing

juveniles with mental
health needs from entering deeper
into the juvenile system
n Carefully identifying unique needs
and strengths of each youth
n Engaging parents to help them be
more effective with their children
n Addressing the right treatment
to address the issues with better
assessments
n Taking into account diversity
issues to reduce disproportionate
minority contacts for juveniles.

Choices for families I Vol. XIII Winter 2014

JAC earns national
accreditation

Two more national recognitions
are achieved supporting the claim of
significant milestones in the county’s
reform of juvenile justice. The JAC
earns national accreditation by the
Council on Accreditation (COA), thus
joining more than 1,800 public and
private organizations across the country
setting high standards of performance.

National foundation
highlights JAC for
“best practices”

Representatives of the Annie E.
Casey Foundation visit the JAC. They
are impressed by and acknowledge the
high level of interagency coordination,
standardized assessment tools,
leveraging of Medicaid through the
community mental health system,
the decentralization of services and
the sophisticated outcome reporting.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation
highlights the wide range of Wayne
County reforms as “best practices in
child welfare, foster care and juvenile
justice.” As a result, Wayne’s JAC/
CMO system begins to draw increased
national attention.

Page 11

2012

Fewer juveniles
migrate to
adult system
Evidence mounts that finding
humane ways to reduce recidivism
prevents youth from penetrating into
the juvenile as well as adult justice
systems and brings about stronger
families in safer communities along
with substantial savings.
Child Care Fund expenses for
Wayne County juvenile justice decline
15.1 percent since 2009 even while
federal Title IV-E revenue plummeted
$52 million since 2000. Increased
diversion is reducing penetration into
the system at tremendous savings based
on which treatment approach is used:
n Diversion:

$1,312/case
$6,768/case
n Placement: $43,950/case
n Probation:

Dramatic
solution
sought for
alarming
rise in
juvenile
services
costs

Page 12

System
shifts
from
confinement
to
communitybased
diversion

JAC
becomes
the
hinge
for
reform

New
network
system
connects
juvenile
data

County
juvenile
caseload
plummets

For the first time in 40 years, Wayne
County has fewer than 600 youth in
out-of-home placement. In response,
CAFS develops its own Preferred
Provider Network to streamline care
and treatment options. The network
supports family engagement, improves
treatment coordination for juveniles
in placement and ensures the “right
service” for the youth’s needs.
By partnering with CMH
“Connections,” the CMOs and
behavioral health providers gain access
to “trauma informed care” to deal with
intimate, overwhelming consequences
of hidden, often terrifying experiences
of children and youth in their
neighborhoods, schools and homes.

Detroit
Free
Press
takes
notice

System
now
ensures
universal
access

Choices for families I Vol. XIII Winter 2014

Reliance
on
state
training
school
ending

2013

Unnecessary institutional
placements eliminated
Each year since the reform began, the
Wayne County Department of Children
and Families has issued comprehensive
annual reports to the county
commissioners and general public.
Its 2013 Annual Report identifies a
number of stunning benchmarks:
“After more than a dozen years of
juvenile justice reform, it is evident
that uniform assessment, quality case
management, consistent accountability,
competency development, risk-based
use of institutional placement and
defined consequences create the
best opportunities for juveniles to
succeed and thereby improve public
safety. By embedding a broad menu
of approaches to safely prevent
entry into the justice system and
eliminate unnecessary and costly
institutional placements, the county has
demonstrated that local management
of juvenile justice systems is the best
alignment to help youth develop and
maintain essential ties with families,
schools and communities” (p. 15).

Taken together, a growing 13-year
public record shows that the purposes
of the reform are being met one family
at a time. It has truly become an
effective system of care.

EAA partnership
brings services to
its Detroit schools

In a recent effort to reach deeper
into one of the more serious parental
concerns regarding children’s
education, the JAC partnered with
Michigan Education Achievement
Authority (EAA) to provide its Detroit
schools with an array of assessment
and therapeutic services. Known as
the Attention-Participation-Service
(A-P-S), it uses the JIFF assessment
with students and their caregivers to
identify a range of issues in order to
guide teachers, parents and service
providers on how to deal with more
complex issues and get the necessary
services before police contact and/or
school expulsion.

To highlight the national importance
of such initiatives, Wayne County
and the JAC are awarded the National
Association of Counties (NACo)
Achievement Award in the Children and
Youth Category for JAC AttendanceParticipation- Service partnership
with EAA public schools.
A new two-party Memorandum of
Understanding is entered into between
Wayne County and the 3rd Circuit
Court. The DHS is no longer a party to
an MOU; use of state wardship
as a legal status is nearly eliminated.
In its place, the court effectively retains
jurisdiction of all adjudicated youth on
probation – for home supervision or
placement. The system continues but
is more fully tied to its key partner.

JAC
responds
to shifting
societal
needs

Partnership
with
Mental
Health
yields
SED focus

Services
become
more
traumaspecific

More than
$58 million
saved
through
home-based
care

JAC
expands
reach to
intervene
earlier

Choices for families I Vol. XIII Winter 2014

System
attracts
national
attention

Trauma
care
just one
of many
prevention,
diversion
efforts

Unnecessary
institutional
placements
eliminated
Fewer
juveniles
migrate to
adult
system

Page 13

2014

JAC responds to
shifting societal needs

Mother
and son
depend on
‘First Contact’
JAMES, age 7, attends local
elementary school and First
Contact year round. He also
attends Franklin-Wright
Settlement’s After School
Enrichment and Summer
Enrichment Program daily.
His mother recently shared
with the staff that James was
diagnosed with sickle cell anemia
a year earlier and was granted
the opportunity to participate
in the Make-A-Wish Foundation
shopping spree. She wrote
to the FWS staff:
“My name is C. Johnson and
my son James attends the
Franklin-Wright for after school
and summer program this year.
I love the services they provide
for me and my son. I am so
glad they are in my
neighborhood. My son has
sickle cell anemia and has to do
blood transfusion once a month.
After his transfusion he always
looks forward to going to
the Franklin. Thanks, C. Johnson,
a very happy parent.”
Page 14

Being flexible and able to “retool”
when the population and/or the societal
demands change, the JAC and the
CMOs are continually learning new
ways to identify and respond to the
shifting focus of services to youth
and families:
n Juvenile

Justice services have
been affected by:
l Positive impact of early
intervention, prevention and
diversion services during the past
decade using local services providers
l Detroit population is shifting to the
suburbs (+15 percent), where parents
are looking to secure better schools
and local support services
l Detroit Police are concentrating
on adult crime and serious offenders,
attending to juvenile interventions
only when they reach the same
threshold as adult crimes
l The county prosecutor has
redesigned services based on
severe budget constraints, thereby
decreasing diversionary efforts
with juveniles

n Child

Welfare services have
been affected by:
l Federal/state consent agreement
to make every effort to treat issues
in the home
l More in-home treatment
continues to decrease dependence
on residential and foster care
n Mental

Health & Substance Abuse
services are affected by:
l Recognition that mental health
is an emerging need finally being
attended to by categorical funds for
services to youth and families

l Awareness of the growing
epidemic of substance abuse
issues within all Wayne County
communities and their impact on
family life, work environments,
school populations and
neighborhoods

n Education

support services are
being affected by:
l Serious funding stresses, uncertain
curriculum agendas and critical
teacher competencies throughout the
county’s 36 school districts, multiple
charter schools and the recent
engagement with EAA schools that
have histories of failing students
l Civic uncertainty mirrored in
confusing public policies and
confusing board priorities.
The JAC is responding to the
changing needs of the four systems.
It continues to focus on providing
competent assessments and appropriate,
timely treatment recommendation
of youth in all four populations.
It is absorbing referrals for in-home
treatment interventions as a mental
health-approved service agency eligible
to provide direct care for mental health
and substance abuse issues. It agreed
to partner with the EAA by providing
JIFF assessments of all EAA students
and parents in order to help school
authorities identify and manage unique
needs of what has been, until now, a
failing school population. It also agreed
to work with the county child welfare
system to assess local cases of abuse and
neglect and link children and families to
appropriate mental health services.

Choices for families I Vol. XIII Winter 2014

What Has

Changed...

System has reversed
alarming 1990s trend
The available data reveals how
much has changed since 1999.
Key benchmarks show convincingly
that Wayne County’s care management
system not only reversed the alarming

trends that compelled its creation,
but constructively improved both
the conditions and outcomes that
the reform hoped to achieve.

Measure

Baseline of the
State System
in FY 1999

Status of the
County-Based
Model in FY
2013-14

Recidivism

38-56% 16.0%

Positive Probation Completions

Unknown

78.9%

Terms of Probation (less than one year)

Unknown

86.6%

Youth Confined to State Training
Schools (daily average)

731/Day 3/Day

Youth in Private Residential Care
(daily average)

= 1,300/Day

448/Day

Residential Care Costs

$113.5 M

$43.1 M *

Placements in Other States

200

0

Secure Detention Population
(daily average)

>500 Day

108 Day

State Ward Caseload (ADC)

= 3,400

620

Yearly referrals to diversion options

Unknown

1,200

Yearly referrals to prevention services

Unknown

7,500

Costs include CMO case management of youth in placement, state training schools, Lincoln Center and
all CMO purchased private residential placements. Does not include cost of county detention facility.

Choices for families I Vol. XIII Winter 2014

Page 15

What Lies

Ahead...

Partners poised to
continue innovative
initiatives
Awareness of the critical importance
of adolescent behavioral development
is emerging as a new funding priority
at the national level, both for the
juvenile delinquent, juvenile mental
health and young adult populations.
Having partnered for 15 years to create
and deliver inventive local services
based on sophisticated assessments
of risk and fidelity to treatment

needs, Wayne County Department
of Children and Family Services, the
Juvenile Assessment Center and the
Care Management Organizations are
positively positioned to predict and
respond together to any new
community building and
developmentally related behavioral
health initiatives likely to become
new system requirements.

16-year-old
on path to
independence
KESHAWN (not his real name) was a 16-year
old ward of the county. He had violated
probation and was placed at Starr Commonwealth.
He responded well to dealing with substance
abuse issues and returned home to his mother.
Soon he slipped into his old habits and had to
be removed again. Placed with Wolverine
Human Services’ Pioneer Work & Learn WCARE
program, Keshawn earned his GED, completed
the substance abuse treatment program and
returned home. This time he began
attending an AA/NA support group, enrolled
at Wayne County Community College and
got a job at a local restaurant. His CMO case
manager stayed with him through the whole process.
With almost two years of continued progress,
a court review showed Keshawn had maintained
100 percent compliance with the terms of his probation.
Released by the court, he is now an active college
student with a job to support himself.

Page 16

Choices is published by

The Juvenile
Assessment Center
7310 Woodward Ave., Suite 601
Detroit, MI 48202
Cynthia J. Smith, MSW, LCSW
Publisher
CjL Strategies, LLC
Publication Management
Volume XIII
Winter 2014

The JAC’s mission is to be the source
of accurate information and competent
recommendations that identify the unique
needs of referred youth and families in
Wayne County, and enable community
organizations to restore successful living,
increase healthy development and promote
safer communities.

To learn more about
the JAC/CMO and its
partners, visit their
websites:
Wayne County Children
and Family Services:
www.waynecounty.org
Wayne County Community
Mental Health:
www.dwmha.com/ChildrenFamilies/
Operations.aspx
The Juvenile Assessment Center:
www.the-JAC.org
Black Family Development CMO:
www.blackfamilydevelopment.org
Bridgeway CMO:
www.swsol.org/juvenile_justice,
www. Guidance-center.org
Central Care CMO:
www.ccmorg.org
StarrVista CMO:
www.starrvista.org
Western Wayne CMO:
www.growth-works.org/cmodetail.htm
Choices for families I Vol. XIII Winter 2014