The reforms initiated over forty years ago have proven to be sustainable and remain foundational to the state's juvenile justice system.The Department has a dual mandate of rehabilitation and public safety.
Massachusetts created the nation's first publicly funded juvenile correctional system in 1848 with the opening of the Massachusetts State Reform School for Boys at Westborough, later known as Lyman School for Boys.
In 1969 Governor Francis Sargent established the Department of Youth Services as a separate agency under the Executive Office of Health and Human Services.
Under the leadership of the new department's first commissioner, Jerome G.
Miller, Massachusetts initiated a bold deinstitutionalization effort with the closure of Lyman School for Boys and the Massachusetts Industrial School for Boys at Shirley.
The Client Services unit oversees the delivery of a host of clinical and support services.
Using an integrated approach, programs address the risk to re-offend by providing a variety of services, including the following: CLINICAL SERVICES The Massachusetts Department of Youth Services (DYS) provides clinical and rehabilitative services to its detained clients and committed youth based on the Comprehensive Strategy outlined by the Office of Juvenile Delinquency and Prevention.
DIALECTICAL BEHAVIOR THERAPY (DBT): This system of psychotherapy was adopted to fit the needs of the juvenile justice population by teaching youth skills from DBT skill modules (e.g., skills in emotion regulation and/or interpersonal effectiveness modules) that are basic fundamental skills underlying positive pro-social development.
DBT is used as a behavior management tool in DYS to increase skill development in youth, improve relationships between youth and staff and create a positive pro-social learning environment.
While DBT is not the only clinical treatment offered in DYS, it does serve as the structure for therapeutic work and for the behavior management system across all DYS programs in the Commonwealth.