Daniel W. Rezende, Executive Director of the Connecticut Junior Republic, recently announced that the organization is expanding its services for children, youth and families programs in six existing locations, including Waterbury, through the establishment of new Child, Youth and Family Support Centers (CYFSC’s).
   The Connecticut Junior Republic’s Child, Youth and Family Support Center in Waterbury serves the Waterbury Juvenile Court region and is located at CJR’s Waterbury Community-Based Program at 80 Prospect Street.   The CYFSC is targeted to serve nearly 430 children, youth and families annually from the following communities:  Ansonia; Beacon Falls; Cheshire; Derby; Middlebury; Naugatuck; Oxford; Prospect; Seymour; Southbury; Waterbury and Wolcott. 
    The new CYFSC is headed by Program Director, Melitza Velez, MSW, with oversight by CJR Director of Community Programs, Ana Flamengo, MPA.  Ms. Velez was previously the supervisor of the Junior Republic’s Waterbury Family Support Center, a position she held since 2012.  Staffed by 18 full-time employees, and one part-time employee, the Waterbury CYFSC is open Monday through Friday, from 9:00 AM to 7:30 PM, with additional services provided on weekends, as needed.  All services are scheduled, structured and managed by CJR professional staff.   Members of the CYFSC staff are also available to youth and families 24 hours/ seven days a week by telephone.  It is projected that 171 boys and girls, ages 11 to 17, will be enrolled in CJR’s Waterbury CYFSC at any given time. 
   “With the opening of our new Manchester offices, CJR’s Child, Youth and Family Support Centers are now located in seven communities throughout Connecticut,” stated Mr. Rezende.  He indicated that the number of young people and families served in each location will vary, according to the size of the program.  “Each Center is a ‘multi-service, one-stop’ program,” he noted, “and designed to help boys and girls and their families build the necessary skills and support systems that will enable them to be successful.
   The population served by CJR’s Child, Youth and Family Support Centers includes boys and girls who have been referred because they are at risk of running away, truancy, breaking school rules and acting out, or are already involved with the Courts as the result of escalating behaviors.  “The children and youth we serve through this program would be at significant risk if they are not helped,” stated Mr. Rezende.  “The goal of this program is to provide comprehensive services which incorporate evidence-based practices and focus on changing behavior and reducing recidivism by providing support for the entire family,” he explained.

   The program expansion associated with the new CYFSC Program in Waterbury will significantly increase the number of children, youth and families served by the Junior Republic in the Waterbury region and has been made possible by contracts awarded recently by the Judicial Branch, Court Support Services Division (CSSD) for new Child, Youth and Family Support Centers (CYFSC’s).  The Junior Republic was awarded contracts in six locations where the organization previously operated Family Support Centers (FSC’s) and Youth Equipped for Success! (YES!) Programs, and in one new location – Manchester, Connecticut.  CJR was also awarded a contract to provide a Multi-Dimensional Family Therapy (MDFT) Substance Abuse Treatment Program for youth, ages 12 to 17, referred by the Rockville Superior Court, Juvenile Matters, at an additional site in Manchester.

   “In July, 2014 the Judicial Branch Court Support Services Division (CSSD) began implementation of the Child, Youth, and Family Support Centers (CYFSC) in an effort to more efficiently provide services to juveniles with delinquency charges and all status offenders referred to juvenile court.  Through a competitive bid process, the CT Junior Republic (CJR) was awarded seven CYFSC contracts,” stated Stephen R. Grant, Executive Director of CSSD.  “The CYFSC’s incorporate research and evidence based programs and services. Essential ingredients to ensure positive outcomes are 1) adherence to the fidelity of the model and 2) service delivery executed by highly qualified and well trained staff.  Through our many years of experience in working collaboratively with CJR, we are immensely confident in their capacity and professional commitment to effectively implement programs of this caliber.  The complex needs of youth and families present many challenges and the Judicial Branch/CSSD welcomes the opportunity to continue the partnership with CJR in fulfilling our mission of changing behavior and strengthening communities,” he stated.
   CJR’s other new CYFSC programs are located in Danbury, Manchester, Meriden, New Britain, New Haven, and Torrington.  Each location will serve from 150 to nearly 560 children, youth and families annually, significantly increasing the total number of young people and families that CJR serves in each location.  As a result of these combined program expansions, the Junior Republic expects to serve more than 2,500 youth and families annually – an increase of 60 percent over the number of Connecticut children and youth helped last year – and approximately triple the number served five years ago.
   Mr. Rezende noted that involvement with families in the CYFSC Programs ranges from assessment and service recommendations to more intensive support, including multi-modal, center-based care.  Services provided by each Child, Youth and Family Support Center include crisis intervention, clinical assessment, family mediation, individual therapy, case management, educational advocacy, substance abuse treatment, support groups for parents, gender specific, psycho-educational and skills-based groups, as well as trauma-informed groups, cognitive behavioral interventions, anger management group, as well as life skills and job readiness training, and after-care, following discharge from the program.  He indicated that a critical strength of all CJR Child, Youth and Family Support Centers is the focus on providing strength-based, “wrap around” services to meet the needs of the entire family.  According to Mr. Rezende, the length of involvement with the program will vary based on risk and needs but will average about four months.

   “The Connecticut Junior Republic’s Board of Directors is fully committed to the expansion of services to better meet the increasingly complex needs of children, youth and families in the Greater Waterbury community and across Connecticut,” stated CJR Board President Patrick J. Boland.  “The Junior Republic was awarded these contracts based upon the measurable results of our services,” he continued.  Anticipated outcomes of CJR’s Child, Youth and Family Support Centers include decreased court involvement, improved educational and family functioning, increased resiliency and improved community connections.   “Our mission is to help young people become contributing members of their homes, schools and communities,” said Mr. Boland.

   Founded in 1904, the Connecticut Junior Republic (CJR) provides care, treatment, education and family support for vulnerable at-risk, special needs and troubled young people so they may become productive and fulfilled members of their homes, schools and communities. 
   The Junior Republic conducts residential programs for court-referred young men on its Litchfield campus.  Regular, special, vocational and alternative education programs are provided for boys from communities throughout Connecticut
at CJR’s Cable Academic and Vocational Education Center, which is also located on its Litchfield campus.  Enhancement, transition and related services are provided for enrolled students.
   CJR also provides residential care for boys at its group homes in East Hartford and Winchester and short-term, residential crisis intervention for girls at its Center for Assessment, Respite and Enrichment (CARE) in Waterbury.  A broad spectrum of prevention, early intervention, family support, and intensive home-based services, and aftercare programs are provided for boys and girls through CJR’s locations in Danbury, East Hartford, Manchester (two sites), Meriden, New Haven, New Britain (two sites), Torrington and Waterbury. 
   A private charitable organization, the Connecticut Junior Republic is accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA) and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).  CJR is supported by gifts from individuals, businesses, foundations and organizations, and through service contracts funded by the Judicial Branch, Court Support Services Division (CSSD), the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF), the Connecticut Department of Social Services (DSS), and by Connecticut’s public schools.  For further information, please contact Hedy Barton, Director of Development and Public Relations (860) 567-9423, extension 252; or by email:  hbarton@cjryouth.org.