The Missouri Department of Social Services, Division of Youth Services' (DYS) mission is clear: to protect communities from juvenile offenders in the Division's care and custody and to provide appropriate services to youth and their families.
The message may seem complex to some in a nation where recidivism amongst troubled youth is on the rise, and where those incarcerated spend their time served in boot camp atmospheres behind bars and surrounded by guards.
But this is not the case in Missouri where DYS has chosen to address the fundamental reasons why the delinquent behavior occurred in the first place.
In the Spring of 2010, DYS selected ARCHS to deliver its Community Mentoring Services Program (CMSP) to youth in the Greater St. Louis area. CMSP's goals are to decrease social isolation and exclusion, increase safety, increase stability and increase the control of choices and the meaningful use of mainstream resources. Simply put, help transform troubled youth into productive citizens and in return make positive changes in a community.
"ARCHS has outstanding connections with both agencies and informal and formal natural support networks, and a successful track record of managing transition partnerships, such as its experiences with adult (ex-offenders and welfare to work) transitions," said Tim Decker, Missouri's DYS Director. "As far as leveraging resources, we know that when we invest a certain amount, ARCHS will return a greater value and has the ability to monitor outcomes. By our partnering with ARCHS, there is a better chance to get better outcomes. It is sort of like an insurance policy."