What exactly is Utah Youth Village? Is it an actual village?
Utah Youth Village is a village only metaphorically. We are a network of Group Homes and Treatment Foster Homes, united by a common treatment method with supervision and support centralized in Salt Lake City. Treatment Foster Homes are located throughout Utah in urban and rural neighborhoods and the Group Homes are located in urban neighborhoods in close proximity to Salt Lake City.
How long will it take to make concrete, lasting, noticeable changes?
Changes can be noticed immediately. Approximations to the desired behaviors are reinforced and thus a child’s behaviors are shaped over a period of time. Consistent teaching and reinforcement are required for a child to eventually internalize the skills and behaviors they have learned.
Where do Village children come from?
Children and youth are placed in our Treatment Foster Homes and Group Homes through the State Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS), Youth Corrections, and in some cases, by their families.
DCFS and Youth Corrections children are wards of the state generally because of abuse and neglect issues with their families of origin. They have had very difficult childhoods, and their behaviors reflect the chaotic and sometimes brutal lives they have known.
The vast majority of children in Village homes have failed in numerous foster homes, wilderness programs, and psychiatric hospitals. They have self-destructive behaviors. The Village specializes in the most difficult children in the state welfare system.
However, not all Village children have been victims of abuse and neglect. Sometimes a caring, loving family can be overwhelmed by their child's difficult behaviors. Utah Youth Village provides the structure and boundaries some children need to learn necessary social and ethical skills and principles.
Can children who are not wards of the state be in your program?
Yes. Many parents place their children in our residential programs. We are especially qualified to help parents who are struggling with Reactive Attachment Disorder issues that often surface in an adoption. We specialize in helping troubled children, regardless of the reason they are troubled or the functionality of the families from which they came.
Who pays for the child's treatment?
The State of Utah provides most of the funding for children in our residential programs who are wards of the state. The state also provides funding for Families First services for youth on probation. In Fiscal Year 2010, 69% of our program expenses are projected to be covered by the state of Utah and the state of California, which supports girls in Alpine Academy.
Parents and/or insurance companies pay for their child's treatment if the child is not a ward of the state. 19% of our budget came from these private placements.
6% of our budget in Fiscal Year 2010 is projected to come from private donations.
How does the Village change behaviors?
Using a proven and trusted methodology called the Teaching-Family Model, children are systematically reinforced for positive behaviors and receive humane consequences for negative behaviors. The Village parents who care for these children build family-like relationships with the children, teaching them how a normal, loving family operates. A family-like structure, with the parents in control, is most effective in shaping a child's behavior. We succeed with difficult children because we create a family environment in which the child can learn essential social skills such as trust, respect, and empathy.
Do children in Village programs undergo therapy?
All children coming into the Village receive an in-depth psychological assessment by a licensed clinician. This determines their need for ongoing mental health services. Some youth are involved in group therapy, others have both individual and group therapy. Therapeutic intervention is determined for each child on an individual basis. Many children simply need the behavioral and structural intervention provided by the Teaching-Family Model.
What happens to the children who fail in your program? What happens to the children who succeed?
Very few children fail their placement at Utah Youth Village. When they do, they usually move into a lock-down facility or a psychiatric ward.
Over eighty percent of Village children succeed. When they do, they can live in a less restrictive environment, which can include a traditional foster home, the home of a relative, or even their own home. Some Village children are adopted. Many of our graduates are older teens and are able to live on their own after they leave the Village. The Village's scholarship program, funded by individual donations, is available for graduates who wish to pursue college or vocational training.
How are Utah Youth Village's programs different from others?
Utah Youth Village is a member of the Teaching-Family Association and utilizes the Teaching-Family Model in all programs. Treatment Parents and staff adhere to the highest ethical standards and emphasize teaching, youth rights, and maintaining a structured and nurturing family environment. Treatment Parents and staff receive ongoing in-service training and certification in the treatment model. Because of the model's emphasis on treatment in a family environment, parents can easily learn and implement the concepts of the model in their own homes, and therefore sustain the behavioral improvements their child has made.
Dozens of studies have been done to evaluate the overall outcomes of the Teaching-Family Model. The results of one independent evaluation (Jones et al., 1981) showed that Teaching-Family homes had a beneficial impact on school behavior and on delinquent behavior during treatment, and had consumers (e.g. parents, teachers, caseworkers) who were more satisfied with the treatment procedures and outcomes for the youth. After treatment, Teaching-Family youths used fewer social services (e.g. therapy, probation) and continued their low rates of delinquent behavior.
What are your success rates?
Utah Youth Village has a 75% to 85% success rate in discharging children to less restrictive levels of care/treatment, which may include returning home.
An independent study conducted in Utah (Lewis et al., 1988) reviewed the success of all residential treatment facilities with contracts with the State of Utah. Utah Youth Village was the only facility using the Teaching-Family Model; the other agencies relied on medical or analytical models of treatment. The study indicated that the Village had an 86% success rate as compared to the combined average of the other agencies, which was 37%.
The study also indicated that youth from the Village remained in less-restrictive environments and remained more stable than youth in non-Teaching-Family Model homes. The Village had a success rate of 71% while the combined average of the agencies was 32%.
Further, the study showed that the Village had fewer runaways than other agencies. The Village's renaway rate was 9%, while the other agencies averaged a rate of 50% - 60%.