More students in Division of Youth Services programs have completed their secondary education than ever before. DYS emphasizes therapeutic rehabilitation and educational services instead of punishment for delinquent young people. That focus on education seems to be working, in fiscal year 2008 more than 76 percent of eligible students in the program got their GED, add students who got their high school diploma and it increases to 78 percent.
"They have an enhanced opportunity to be productive many of them are going to attend college or technical school and this will help them," said Division Spokesman Brian Hauswirth.
Many students enter a DYS program behind in school, he said. Some have learning disabilities, mental health issues or substance abuse problems. The individualized education plans and overall emphasis on education are behind the program’s success rate, Hauswirth said.
"Our staff will assess their educational strengths and their needs," he said. "Then there’s a learning plan that’s developed with every student and their family, the parents are very important in this because they know their children better than anyone, then the instruction is individualized."
Some students who don’t get their diploma or GED, re-enter the public school system after leaving the DYS program and graduate from there, Hauswirth said.