In an effort to help juvenile justice system-involved youths, the Yuba County Office of Education is going to offer new services to help them transition after release and offer them positive role models. 

The office of education was awarded an $891,864 grant from the Board of State and Community Corrections for the Hall 2 Home and Tri-County Mentoring programs that will provide services for those who enter the Tri-County Juvenile Rehabilitation Facility, which serves youth from Yuba, Sutter and Colusa counties. 

Bobbi Abold, assistant superintendent of instruction at the Yuba County Office of Education, said the Yuba County Office of Education oversees the educational services for the facility and they applied for the grant and brought the other counties on as partners.

Brendon Messina, youth advocate for the Yuba County Office of Education, said the Hall 2 Home Program will have a facilitator with a contractor they partnered with who will provide case management while a juvenile is still incarcerated. Once the juvenile is released into their community and adjusting, the transition person can connect them with employment services, education services, make sure their mental health needs are being met and more. 

“We don’t want to say this is our curriculum for all students because all students have different needs, whether it’s substance abuse education, employment services, post-secondary education,” Messina said. “So really it depends on how the facilitator or the person that’s case managing them determines what their needs are.”

Messina said one of the things he likes to highlight in the program is the “warm handoff.” 

Abold said instead of just giving the youth a list of things to do to help them be successful or, for example, just telling them to go to a counselor, they will help the youth connect with resources. 

“The at-risk population, when they’re released, sometimes, the ball gets dropped on what kind of resources we can connect them to because they get scared, they get nervous, so there’s a person that actually walks beside them and puts them in those resources,” Messina said. 

The other program that’s funded by the grant is the Tri-County Mentoring Program for probation-involved youth. 

Messina said it starts with a planning phase where staff recruits mentors and creates a pool of mentees. 

There’s also a vetting process, interviewing, interest matching and then the mentors will be matched with mentees based on things like interests and hobbies. 

Following that, there’s an implementation phase where they participate in social activities.

“The mentor can just be that guidance, that positive role model out in the community whether it’s going to lunch, ice cream or whatever that may look like so they have someone to depend on that’s a positive role model,” Messina said. “... The mentoring is completely prosocial because when you look at the Hall 2 Home program, it fulfills more of that needs gap or that achievement gap. 

The mentoring program is more of an exposure-type program.”

Messina said every youth that goes into the juvenile hall that has to stay for more than 21 days receives full services – which aligns with law. 

They are also aiming to serve 15 collective youth from the three counties to start in the mentoring program but want to grow it each year.

Abold said they are in the employment phase of the programs – such as hiring a facilitator for the Hall 2 Home program and a prevention assistant for the mentoring program. 

Messina said that the programs are estimated to be implemented in February.

The grant they received for the programs is a three-year grant but they have plans to reapply or find more funding based on outcomes, Messina said. 

“It is part of Yuba County Office of Education’s strategic plan to support our entire community of youth and their families, but especially at-risk youth,” Abold said. “... We support our school districts in supporting all students, but then as their needs cannot be met there, that’s where the county office of education comes in.”

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