Governor Sam Brownback was in Salina on Wednesday to help kickoff a statewide effort geared toward troubled youth and their families. The governor and others celebrated Cornerstones of Care for providing a program of therapy and supervision as an alternative to removing youth from their homes or incarcerating them.
Cornerstones of Care began providing Functional Family Therapy services to the north-central section of Kansas in February.
For the past year, courts in Southeast Kansas have been employing the program as an alternative to removing youth from their homes or incarcerating them. Now this data-driven combination of therapy and supervision for juvenile offenders is being made available to youth statewide.
Cornerstones of Care will be the provider for 10 judicial districts, encompassing 29 counties in Northeast Kansas. Ember Hope will be the provider in the western half of the state.
Governor Brownback spoke to the gathering about reforms to the juvenile justice system taking place in the state. He told KSAL Newsthe new program shows great promise.
The program provides therapy and supervision of youth still in their homes to help them become more adaptive and successful. For more than 40 years in numerous states, the program has been able to reduce reliance on out-of-home placement and its negative effects on the youth and family. It has successfully reduced recidivism from 25 to 60 percent in various states.
The Kansas Department of Corrections reported recently that 89 juvenile-justice-involved youth and their families in Southeast Kansas entered the program instead of experiencing an out-of-home placement or secure confinement. Of those, just three were placed in out-of-home settings during treatment. The agency said this is much improved from results of a 2014 study that found more than 51% of Kansas youth who were discharged from a Youth Residential Center II remained out of home six months post discharge.
A group of protestors greeted the Governor as he arrived at the event in Salina. They gathered along the sidewalk near the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce holding signs in protest of the Governor, and his policies.