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How do we prevent youth from entering the juvenile justice system?

Lead Agency 

Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS) 

Acting Director:

Sam Abed

Fiscal Year(s) Funded

FY23 - present




John Mein

Program Summary 

The DYRS Violence Prevention Initiative (VPI) will launch in Spring of 2023 and works with youth and their families over an intensive 16 weeks with supports lasting for a year. Groups of 10 youth start each month and participate in twice-weekly group sessions focused on developing resilience. Parents are encouraged to join weekly sessions for guardians. Youth will also travel to the VPI campus in Laurel, MD and participate in an outdoor education program for 3 nights and 4 days. Programming is focused on family involvement and participation in service learning in their communities.

How does it help? 

Youth and their families learn how chronic stress affects their minds and bodies.  Group sessions encourage members to practice skills to cope with sadness, frustration, anxiety, and anger. These skills are important, particularly for those who have faced repeated stress and difficult experiences.

How much is invested?

In the fiscal year 2023, $2,000,000 is invested in startup funding. In the fiscal year 2023 and in the future $1,966,112 is invested each year. 

Who uses this program?

Youths ages 10 to 14 years old that are at immediate risk of entering the juvenile justice system who live in the District of Columbia and their families.

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