Sometimes the kids arrive because home isn’t such a good place to be. Sometimes they are brought because they’ve missed too much school, or the disagreements at home are out of control. Whatever the reason, Open Door Youth Services gives them a safe, supportive place to live. Some children stay a couple of days and some have to stay for months or even years. We are proud that our residential program outcomes show great success every year. Some of our proudest accomplishments include providing family counseling in-house, growing a garden maintained by our kids, and children who visit and write years after they leave.
A Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist conducts therapeutic groups with the children weekly. He is also available for individual, family, and crisis counseling. All residential staff receives extensive clinical training by the therapist.
We are also proud to provide a staff person devoted to academics. One-on-one homework help, daily study time, tutoring, and supplemental instruction are provided to residents. Regular contact with teachers, guidance counselors, and other school staff is maintained. Accommodations are also made for all children not enrolled in a traditional school program.
New Directions is an after-school program in area elementary schools that provides prevention education to children utilizing the Social Decision Making Model. Children often stay in the program for several years establishing strong connections with each other and staff. Some of the children’s parents are former participants themselves. This program also promotes literacy by providing free books to children in the program through a partnership with the City of New Albany.
Floyd County Teen Court is a deterrent program targeting first time offenders. Several states and counties throughout Indiana use Teen Court as an alternative to official juvenile courts. Teen Court is a legally binding court that uses youth volunteers as the court participants instead of adults. Youth volunteers from local schools act as prosecution, defense attorneys, jurors and other court room personnel. The Judge is either an active Judge in Floyd County or a local volunteer attorney. All defendants that participate in Teen Court must admit guilt and serve at least once as a future juror. The jury made up of six to twelve teens decides the sentence to be handed down to the defendant, giving a true definition of “jury of your peers.” The idea is to target those who, with some encouragement, have the best chance of staying out of future trouble.
Floyd County Teen Court collaborates with New Albany- Floyd County Schools to offer assistance with the schools growing truancy problem. The program offers weekly court for truancy offenses at New Albany High School and allows Hazelwood Middle School to directly refer truancy offenses to the court without going through juvenile probation. The Teen Court Coordinator offers training and court sessions during regular school hours at New Albany High School.
The Floyd County Teen Court Coordinator is Krystal Craig. She is assisted by attorneys from the law firm of Waters, Tyler, Hoffman & Scott, LLC and Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs LLP. The volunteer attorneys offer trainings to all youth involved. The coordinator and the attorneys work hand in hand to develop new ideas and engage the youth volunteers. The coordinators collaborate with the Floyd County Juvenile Probation department and the New Albany Floyd-County School system for referrals. Juvenile defendants are referred to Our Place Drug and Alcohol Services for drug and alcohol education, LifeSpring for Problem Solving Skills and other community partners for counseling. Staff collaborates with parents, teachers and probation officers to ensure all defendants complete their sanctions.
Floyd County Teen Court is an ongoing project that runs year around. The program allows youth volunteers year round community service opportunities while offering alternatives for the local juvenile probation department and New Albany Floyd County Schools. Teen Court consists of two coordinators, fifty active youth volunteers, and nine attorneys. Trials are held in Superior Court III. The program is set up to allow at least eight to fourteen youth on the docket each month, therefore having the capacity to serve approximately eighty youth in Teen Court per year. Since every defendant has admitted guilt, the jury cannot use jail as a sanction. Teen Court has written sanctions that the jury follows however; they can recommend other sanctions with the judge’s approval.
Through a partnership with Bloomington Meadows Hospital, we provide outpatient psychiatric care for children at our location via teleconferencing equipment. The medical professionals are located in Bloomington, while Open Door provides case management locally to ensure children receive the full scope of services associated with outpatient psychiatric care.
With a referral by the Indiana Department of Child Services or Juvenile Probation, children and families can receive various types of psychological testing. This testing can help to determine the right intervention for children as soon as possible, keeping them from being shuffled around between various programs.
Prevent Child Abuse of Clark and Floyd Counties coordinates with the Prevent Child Abuse Council of Clark and Floyd Counties in providing prevention awareness and educational information to communities in Clark and Floyd counties with the emphasis on abuse and neglect being preventable.
Problem Solving Skills Group, provided in partnership with LifeSpring Mental Health Services, is an eight week program for teens that focuses on common difficulties and practical solutions. Often children in the residential program participate, but this group is open to any child referred by Juvenile Probation.
Homemaker/Parent Aide Services are provided by Open Door in conjunction with Associates in Counseling and Psychotherapy. Families referred for Home Based Therapy and/or Case Management with ACP are eligible for this in-home practical assistance in managing a home day to day. These services are especially helpful after a child is discharged from residential care.