PUEBLO, Colo. — Colorado State University-Pueblo (CSU-P) is helping youth who are in secure state-operated facilities with the Division of Youth Services (DYS) pursue their education.
A fairly new partnership between DYS and CSU-P allows youth who have been committed by a district court to one of these facilities, take courses through their independent study program.
DYS operates 12 secure youth centers in the state that serve youth between the ages of 10-21 who are pre-adjudicated or committed.
Education has always been a priority for those in youth services, according to the Director of the Division of Youth Services Anders Jacobson.
“We know how important education is for young people, and this is something they can achieve and nobody can ever take away from them,” Jacobson said.
He told FOX21’s Carly Moore that everyone who comes inside is asked about their education plan. A majority of students at the facility are working to complete their high school diploma or get their GED. This partnership with CSU-P allows high school students to be concurrently enrolled in college classes or begin their higher education.
“Although a young person has committed a crime or crimes against the community. This is not about simply serving time,” Jacobson said.
Kathryn Starkey is the Adult Learning and PLA Lead Specialist in the Extended Studies Department at CSU-P said the University’s independent study courses are flexible, allowing students to work at their own pace.
“Because of the technology restrictions that are in place at the facilities, the students are taking a print-based format. So everything all assignments, the syllabus any course materials they would need are printed and sent out in that original packet,” Starkey said.
The center already as a CTE program so this program allows students access to different content.
“As soon they finish their first class, they sign up immediately for their second. So we think that’s an indication that they’ve been enjoying it,” said Starkey. “It’s something new it’s something fresh.”
Currently, there are able 24 DYS students enrolled in classes through CSU-P’s extended program and five more applications in the works.
The Colorado Department of Human Service has a Division of Youth Services (DYS) that provides for the care and supervision of youth committed by the District Court.
Colorado Statute mandates that DYS provide a comprehensive assessment for all youth within the first 30 days of their commitment. The assessment includes criminogenic risk and needs, mental health, education and vocation, medical, and in some cases psychological/neuropsychological evaluation. Following the completion of the assessment, a multi-disciplinary team meets to discuss the youth and family’s needs, placement type, and future transition plan.
After the assessment, CDHS said youth are moved to a permanent placement either in State-operated secure programs or private contract placements. The Springs Creek Youth Services Center is a state-operated secure program.