Resources for Youth
The Youth Assistance Program
The City of Livonia initiated and has provided the Livonia Youth Assistance Program since January 1982. With the encouragement and support of the Livonia Police Department and Wayne County Juvenile Court, the program was designed to address the ongoing and increasing problem of juvenile delinquency in Livonia.
Youth Assistance is an alternative to the juvenile court system and is a method of preventing early entrenchment in the legal system for youth who are identified as at-risk or delinquent. This program seeks to aid troubled youth in becoming better adjusted, more socially conscious and more productive members of society, as well as provide a means for an offender to make reparations for the crimes they have committed. This intervention is operated at the local level, the City of Livonia, administered by the Department of Community Resources. The program is staffed by 2 city employees and contractual employees. Services are free and confidential.
County Wide Political Support
Livonia Youth Assistance is the first of its kind in Wayne County. It is the model program to other Wayne County communities. It has local and county-wide political support.
The Livonia Youth Assistance Program was copyright protected. In the mid-1980s, the copyright was removed, allowing the program to be replicated. Livonia Youth Assistance was placed into the Office of Juvenile Justice Prevention Services files in Washington, D. C. and was accepted as a national delinquency prevention model for distribution.
Juveniles are referred to the program by the police, schools, and families. Introducing alternatives to delinquent behavior is accomplished through:
- Community-work service
- For Parents, a mandatory eight-week Alternative Parenting Skills course
- Goal-focused contract
- Jail/prison tour
- Personal growth youth group called
- Random drug testing
Explore Prospecting Jobs
The Youth Employment Resource Center provides an opportunity where youth, ages 15 to 20, can explore prospective jobs available through area businesses.
Community Work Service
Youth Assistance has served over 4,000 adolescents and their families since 1982. These youth have performed over 40,000 hours of community work service. The primary goal of the Program is to eliminate recidivism (repeat offenses) of juvenile offenders. Youths are tracked for two years after discharge or up to their 17th birthday.
Livonia has a population of around 100,000 people, made up of more than 38,000 residences. Members of the community are involved in providing the solution to delinquent behavior by volunteering to work with Youth Assistance clients.
The City recognizes that in any community there is potential for adolescent problems and that dealing with those conditions are a family and community responsibility. Without community involvement, this program would not exist.
Youth Assistance addresses varying degrees of youth behavior problems such as:
- First, the youth just beginning to exhibit negative behavior; example: curfew problems, poor grades, and attendance in school, loitering, peer issues.
- Second, youth exhibiting a more regular pattern of misbehavior; example: home truancy, school suspensions, misdemeanor, and felonious acts.
- Thirdly, the youth identified as being incorrigible, a drug and/or alcohol user.
The program is comprised of components which specifically address the needs of youth and their families. These components are:
- Alternative Parenting Skills
- Alternative communication and problem-solving skills
- Mandatory eight-week course for parents
- Systematic Training for Effective Parenting Skill philosophy
- Community work-service
- Youths make restitution to the community
- Jail/Prison Tour
- Addresses consequences of behavior
- Exposure to survival in a locked setting
- Miscellaneous components
- Random drug testing
- U of M prevention programs for arson cases
- Project Impact group
- Six-week (12 hours) course for clients
- Topics include: problem-solving, communication, peer, drug and alcohol awareness
- Youth Employment
- Builds skill bank
- Employed youth have less idle time
- Employment resource center for youth 15 to 20 years old
The main beneficiaries of the program are the referred Livonia youth and their families. Youth Assistance provides early intervention to at-risk youth with the goal of deterring them from any future involvement in illegal activities. The Livonia Police Department benefits because the focus of the program is to reinforce to these youths that there are consequences to their delinquent behavior and to deter them from any further legal contact. Wayne County Juvenile Court benefits because the program frees up the court of misdemeanor offenses, thereby allowing the juvenile court to concentrate on more serious offenders. The schools benefit because Youth Assistance makes school performance a high priority and monitors such.
Mature & Responsible Citizens
The community as a whole benefits because the youths perform community work-service and learn to give back to the community in which they live. The goal is to provide these adolescents with skills that will allow them the opportunity to become mature and responsible citizens.
Parents benefit because they are introduced to innovative alternative parenting skills; the S.T.E.P. Teen concept.
The community volunteers are involved in providing a solution to delinquent behavior by volunteering to work with Youth Assistance clients. Volunteers serve as volunteer mentors, community work-service supervisors, clerical support and chaperones during jail/prison tours. The volunteer mentors are given the opportunity to help a young person during their adolescent years.
Significant Achievements of the Program
The primary goal of the Program is to eliminate recidivism (repeat offenses) of juvenile offenders. A youth is deemed
successful if they do not recidivate within a two-year period of time from their discharge date. Follow-ups are performed on each youth until their 17th birthday. During each follow-up, the Livonia Police and Wayne County Juvenile Court records are checked for contact.
Youth Assistance addendum components; Project Impact, Alternative Parenting Skills, Outdoor Adventure Challenge, volunteer mentor activities and recognition, Youth Employment Resource Center and program materials provided to clients and their families, are not included in the City of Livonia General Fund Budget. Therefore, the program must acquire grant funding and community donations to defray these costs. The Youth Assistance Program has a 1/10th mill grant through Wayne County.
Youth Employment Resource Center
The Youth Employment Resource Center is administered through the Livonia Youth Assistance Program. Youth Employment is a resource center for Livonia youth ages 15 to 20 who are interested in finding employment. Interested youths visit the office on a walk-in basis or visit online under Community Resources, where they have the opportunity to review the information posted about job opportunities in Livonia. Because the Youth Employment Resource Center is not a referral or placement agency, it is the responsibility of the youth to contact prospective employers and make arrangements for an interview.
Employers with jobs available for youth ages 15 to 20, may contact the office to have their job opportunity posted. This service is free and can be used an unlimited number of times to advertise full-time, part-time and temporary positions.