The Council’s Drug-Free Youth Program was developed for vulnerable youth who exhibit problem behaviors that have led to involvement in the criminal justice system.
Funding from Houston’s DA’s office in April 2012 helped the Drug-Free Youth (DFY) services for Harris County’s Juvenile Probation Department expand into a comprehensive program available at seven Community Unit Probation Services (CUPS) offices. The licensed counselors provide on-site substance abuse prevention/intervention services to youth and their families who show early warning signs of substance abuse and related problem behaviors.
The Drug-Free Youth program offers six areas of support that have proven the most
effective for early intervention for 10-17 year-olds:
- Screening for substance use issues,
- Assessment to identify risk factors and referral to counseling and other support services,
- Individual and family counseling,
- Case management services,
- Crisis intervention support provided promptly,
- Education to increase protective measures and decrease risk factors.
Studies show that the earlier adolescents begin using alcohol and other drugs, the more likely they are to continue the behavior and escalate to riskier behaviors in their later teen years. The Drug-Free Youth program shows remarkable effectiveness in keeping young people at-risk from becoming more deeply involved in the criminal justice system, by equipping them with the skills to cope with peer, family and environmental issues in order to shift their life path away from problems and toward positive behaviors.