Youth & Family Resources

Connecting You to the Support You Need

As young people return to their community, home, and school or the workforce, they may face unique challenges. This could be anything from getting back up to speed at school to getting a driver’s license, to tattoo removals or overcoming family trauma. Despite these hurdles, there’s an opportunity for growth.

On this page, we offer tips and resources for youth and their families that can help support a healthier, smoother transition to the community.

For Youth

Life throws us all curveballs, and sometimes we need a new game plan to stay away from the old habits that got us into trouble. If you’re ready to ditch the old script and write a fresh chapter, these resources can help.

Emotional Support

  • Social scene: Bullies, haters, and more. It’s normal to need support and positive influences after facing tough times. Check out Big Brothers Big Sisters, MENTOR, or Roca — they will connect you with mentors and groups who understand the struggle to help you build positive surroundings.
  • Reentry support: If you are looking for a mentor that has been through the justice system, sign up to find a mentor, and we will connect with an experienced mentor who can help guide you on your reentry journey.
  • Mental health: Anxiety, depression, and stress can feel like unwelcome roommates. Therapy and counseling can help you develop healthy coping skills and kick those negative thoughts. Don’t be afraid to reach out to organizations like NAMI who can offer a helping hand. You can even get counseling by text message if it’s tough for you to ask for help.
  • Family reintegration: Rebuilding bonds and earning trust is crucial. Recognize the need to repair connections with family members as a key step in your reentry journey. Engage in counseling sessions that focus on family dynamics and communication to strengthen these essential relationships. Get started with our Family and Friends Support Worksheet here.

School & Work Wins

  • Catching up: Missed classes or lost credits? Programs like The National Dropout Prevention Center and Job Corps can help you get back on track, whether you’re aiming for a high school diploma or a new career. Go here to find out more about getting your high school equivalency diploma.
  • Job hunt: Trade schools, community colleges, and workforce agencies offer training programs that can equip you with skills companies are looking for, opening doors to job opportunities. Find out more about this path on our page right here, and search for trade programs near you.

Life’s Basic Needs

  • Get a leg up: Struggling to cover food or rent? The Salvation Army, The United Way, and your local housing authority can help you meet basic needs and find affordable housing options. The fastest way to get started is through our resource map. Just enter your ZIP code, click on food/clothing and housing, and then, click search. The resources near you will pop up along with their contact information.
  • Healthcare hassles: No insurance, no ride to the doctor? Don’t let that stop you from getting the care you need. Community health clinics offer affordable or even free services. Click here, and use our map to find health clinics near you. Or go here to find out about free health insurance programs that may be available to you.

Breaking Free from Old Ties

  • Addictions: Kicking substance use can be a tough battle, but you don’t have to fight it alone. Accredited treatment centers offer medication and therapy to help you beat your addiction. Visit our resource map and click substance use to find help today.
  • Gang trap: Getting sucked back into the old crew is a real challenge, but there are people who understand and want to help you find a positive path. Organizations like The National Juvenile Justice Network can connect you with people and programs that can show you a whole new world of possibilities. GEO Reentry Connect can also put you in touch with an experienced mentor. Sign up here to find a mentor.

It’s important to realize that you’re the author of your own story. Resources like those listed above are just the opening chapter—a launching pad for a future in which you can be proud. So, take a deep breath, reach out, and get ready to write your fresh start!

A father and son play football, both beaming with joy, highlighting their bond and the positive moments families share post-incarceration. Reflecting the importance of youth services and family reentry support.

For Families & Guardians

Family members often feel hopeless or lost in how best to support their child post-incarceration. It’s important that you find support for yourself as well as prosocial ways to help your child return to the community. Research suggests that individuals with social support and positive family relationships tend to have better psychological wellbeing and a more successful transition into the community. Research also indicates that to reduce criminal behavior and delinquency among youth, effective interventions and strategies should include a strength-based approach that incorporates the following four elements1:

  • Highly structured programs to reduce the juvenile’s free time produce greater effects.
  • Cognitive skill building interventions are most effective.
  • Reentry plans that engage the family increase the juvenile’s support system, thereby increasing the youth’s everyday structure.
  • A comprehensive approach to address multiple risk factors is more effective than tackling a single issue.

Here are some ways you can support your child during their reentry journey.

Communicate Openly and Honestly in Relationships

  • Avoid placing blame during conversations.
  • Have open discussions to improve each other’s understanding of your situations and feelings. This can help reduce unwanted tension and give you a solid starting point to rebuild your trust and relationship.

Have an Open Mind

  • Approach discussions with a mindset focused on shared goals.
  • Acknowledge that discussing sensitive topics respectfully may be challenging.
  • Ensure that both sides feel heard in any conversation.

Set Clear Boundaries

  • Establish clear boundaries for comfort and respect in relationships.
  • Patience and understanding are key to creating boundaries.
  • Over time, establishing these boundaries can lead to stronger bonds within the family. Read more about what your child might be experiencing.

Find Help

To find more local services and support to ensure family and home stability, skill development, and healing of damaged relationships, use our Resource Map. We have a dedicated youth category, however most resources in the other categories can assist youth as well as adults.

1Hoge, R.D., Ph.D., Guerra, N.G., EdD, Boxer, P. Ph.D. (2008). “Treating the Juvenile Offender.” New York: The Guilford Press

Good habits formed at youth make all the difference.

– Aristotle
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