CDHS breaks ground on new youth services center in Adams County

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The Colorado Department of Human Services' Division of Youth Services breaks ground on a new youth services center on Oct. 3, 2018. Wielding ceremonial shovels on a windy Wednesday morning in Adams County were, from left to right, Adams County District Attorney Dave Young, District Judge Patrick T. Murphy, CDHS Executive Director Reggie Bicha, Colorado Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne, Adams County Commissioner Mary Hodge, and DYS Director Anders Jacobson.

DENVER (Oct. 3, 2018) — The Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) Division of Youth Services (DYS) today broke ground on a new youth services center to replace the current Adams Youth Services Center, which serves detained populations, aged 14 to 21 in Adams and Broomfield counties. 

This new 32,800 square foot, 40-bed juvenile detention facility will incorporate best practices in juvenile justice with an emphasis on creating a more homelike, trauma-responsive environment, allowing CDHS to continue serving the youth of Adams and Broomfield counties. The new facility will increase the Department’s capacity to serve the 17th Judicial District, one of the state’s fastest-growing juvenile populations. 

“In Colorado, our commitment to innovation in our approach to teaching the principles of restorative justice to the young people who come to the state through the judicial system is only possible with the support of a strong community like Adams and Broomfield Counties,” said Colorado lieutenant governor, Donna Lynne.  “Thanks to the support of legislators, community leaders and officials in both counties, we’re proud to break ground on this new, state-of-the-art facility to better support these kids and teens.”

The current facility was built in 1968, and is one of the state’s oldest stand-alone facilities used to house juveniles. The new Adams Youth Services Center will prioritize therapeutic care for both male and female youth with homelike environments featuring wood laminate floors, new bedding and a shelving unit and desk. Common spaces in the units will encourage small-group discussions with comfortable couches, chairs and area rugs. The new Adams YSC will also include comfortable spaces for families and professionals to lead support networks for youth, in addition to more open space on a campus setting with outdoor recreational areas, wider corridors with increased visibility, and housing arrangements that accommodate the tailoring of programmatic activities to specific youth populations.

In recent years, CDHS has moved from a corrections-focused approach to youth services, to a system based largely on providing a continuum of services to help youth in custody successfully transition back into their communities.

In support of trauma responsive service delivery, various restorative principles, facilitated practices and structured activities are introduced throughout a youth’s stay.  These elements help raise awareness and build skills, while providing opportunities to demonstrate: responsibility, repair, relationship building, respect, and reintegration within the facility community.  

“Over the past few years, our DYS leadership team has worked closely with legislators and community leaders to strengthen our approach in understanding the youth in our care by asking not what they’ve done wrong, but what they’ve experienced that translates into the behavioral choices they’re making,” said Reggie Bicha, Executive Director of CDHS. “We’re pleased to continue providing trauma-responsive care for the kids and teens who come to us in Adams and Broomfield counties, giving them their best chance at learning strong social, emotional and wellness skills and successfully transitioning back to their community"

The new Adams YSC will include one building for housing and one for program and administrative functions, totaling approximately $20.5 million, with an expected completion date of September 2020.