Youth Guidance CenterYouth Guidance Center
3030 N. Hesperian Way
Santa Ana, CA 92706
The 80-bed Orange County Youth Guidance Center (YGC), operated by the Orange County Probation Department, offers Substance Abuse rehabilitation for minors ranging from 13 through 20 years of age. The facility provides centrally located accommodations to meet the commitment needs of the Juvenile Court. Of the 80 beds at the facility 60 are for boys and 20 are for girls.
YGC offers two programs aimed at drug and alcohol abusers that focus on the wide range of needs of juvenile offenders. The primary goal of each program is to provide cognitive-behavioral interventions to encourage pro-social thinking and to develop the minor emotionally, behaviorally, vocationally and academically to prepare the minor for re-entry back into the community.
Each program establishes individualized treatment plans geared towards a youth’s specific needs. Each 20-bed unit has a dedicated on-site Psychologist and Drug Counselor as well as on site Probation Officer who, along with an assigned Deputy Juvenile Correctional Officer and the School, establish objectives and goals for the minors to follow and achieve during their stay. In addition volunteers and mentors help augment the programs.
All minors are required to participate in an academic program at the institution’s Rio Contiguo High School. The scope and level of educational services will vary with the minor’s age, skills level and school credits. Students normally attend six periods per day. However, selected minors may attend off-grounds college courses, or available correspondence and televised courses for college credit.
Work experience is an integral part of life at YGC. Both boys and girls take part in the culinary arts program as well as assist with the laundry and perform basic housekeeping along with building maintenance/carpentry and horticulture/landscaping. The Youth Guidance Center, in collaboration with the North Orange County Regional Occupational Program, also offers an on-grounds “Career Training for Transition Course” for interested minors 16 years of age or older. The youth gain work experience on-site and even assume job opportunities off-site through this collaborative effort.
Restorative Justice is also part of the program at YGC. Minors give back to the community by way of community service and volunteer work such as feeding the homeless, planting trees in the community, cleaning up the beach, volunteering at 5K runs/walks, assisting at a homeless shelter, helping out at the Wildlife Rescue Center, reading to underprivileged children, helping out at Retirement Homes, decorating the Rose Parade Floats, helping sort items at a Thrift Store and gift wrap presents for a book store.
Juveniles exercising in Gym
The A.S.E.R.T. program (an acronym for Addiction, Substance Abuse, Education and Recognition Treatment) provides education and intervention services for minors committed to juvenile institutions for 6 months to one year. Case plans are individualized to address the varying needs of each participant. Minors take part in activities designed for emotional, behavioral, educational and vocational development through the collaborative efforts of Deputy Juvenile Correctional Officers, Clinical Psychologists, a substance abuse counselor, the Orange County Department of Education, the Health Care Agency and the North Orange County Regional Occupational Program. Unlike the Breakthrough program, participation is not voluntary.
S.T.E.P. (an acronym for Sobriety Through Education and Prevention) is a comprehensive treatment program designed with the specific needs for the female population in mind. Drug education along with classes in Anger Management, Parenting, and Life Skills/Self Concepts help form a base for the program. Sexual Assault/Victimization groups, Drug Relapse groups, Narcotic Anonymous/Alcoholics Anonymous along with a dedicated Psychologist (who provides individual as well as family therapy) and a dedicated Drug Counselor add to the core of the program. Guest Speakers are brought in to augment the various segments and the use of VIP’s and Mentors are also used as an augmentative tool. An integral part of the program is “Baby Think it Over”. A “real baby” simulator is used by the participants for a two-week period at which time they have to address their peers on what it was like to be a full time parent to a newborn. Treating the whole girl and addressing the issues, not the symptom, is the goal of the program.