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McLaughlin Youth Center

During the last couple of years, several McLaughlin Youth Center living units have been reorganized or combined to improve services and increase efficiency.

The following breakdown outlines the current name, number of rooms and the target populations of at-risk youth each program serves.


Community Detention:

Community Detention offers detention alternative programs that allow arrested juveniles who are not a serious risk to the community to return or remain in their homes for a period of close observation and supervision. Four different program options meet the various needs of the youth, families, and the community. School sessions, skill building groups, and community service are scheduled for program participants.

Community agencies are involved with the youth each day and juveniles actively participate in community improvement projects at local agencies such as the Salvation Army and the Food Bank of Alaska throughout the year.

In addition, the Community Detention program, in partnership with the Anchorage School District, initiated Step Up, a school for students who have been expelled or placed on long term suspensions for dangerous behavior. The school provides a way for these students to continue earning high school credits and helps with their transition back into the district. The Step Up program also includes groups such as Aggression Replacement Training and community service opportunities. The Step Up program now offers 24 slots for Middle School and High School participants.

Transitional Services Unit:

This unit consists of probation and facility staff. The program participation is based on the need of juveniles who are in a transitional period.

The McLaughlin Transitional Services Unit programs are designed to ensure each youth leaves the institution with an individualized reentry plan identifying the skills and strengths obtained while in treatment, and the support services required for a successful reintegration into the community.

Intensive supervision and support, along with graduated responses are the key components in the facilitation of the youth’s individualized reentry plan. Through community partners, MYC TSU brokers the necessary services for community reentry with the key component being the utilization of these services while the youth is still in long term treatment. Prior to release, youth participate in multiple reintegration activities designed to allow the youth to apply the skills and strengths obtained while in treatment. These reintegration activities include participation in groups such as Applied Life Skills, Employment preparation, building/maintaining positive successful relationships and vocational training. MYC TSU is also tasked with the facilitation of the MYC Volunteer program and Workforce Investment Act vocational training program, both having a positive and significant impact on service delivery to youth in preparing them for a return to their community.

Girls Treatment Unit:

The MYC Girls Treatment Unit can have up to 18 girls located on the unit. They are the only treatment unit for females in the state.

The unit serves a variety of treatment from, drug use, trauma, victim impact, self-esteem, life skills, independent living skills, and many more.

Boys Treatment Unit:

The MYC Boys Treatment Unit can have up to 20 boys located on the unit. The main focus of this unit is towards substance abuse.

However, they also offer treatment on other levels, such as victim impact, self-esteem, anger management, life skills, etc.

Core Cognitive Restructuring:

The CCR Unit can house up to 25 residents and provides treatment to male juveniles who have been adjudicated for sexual offenses, or non-sex offenses with significant inappropriate sexual behaviors in their histories. The program itself is based on a relapse prevention model educating young offenders in the strategies and skills they will need in the community to remain offense free.

Secure Units

Detention Court Unit:

This unit is utilized as the Court Unit. Court meets Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 1:30 PM and on Wednesdays from noon to when the last case is completed. If there is a disposition hearing downtown, staff will escort juveniles for those cases. This area also has a conference room used for Review Board, and also an extra training/meeting room.

Boys Detention Unit:

This unit can have up to 25 male juveniles sleep on the unit. However, during the day the numbers can be anywhere up to 35.

Any additional juveniles are transferred to DSPU to sleep. BDU is the unit for any juveniles who have not yet been adjudicated on their charges. The average stay can be from 3 days up to a year, based on their charges.

Even though the main function is a detention unit, BDU holds many staff led activities and educational groups. There are groups where the juveniles can learn about anger management, stress reduction, substance abuse, and healthy life skills.

Detention Special Programs Unit:

This unit can hold up to 24 juveniles, 12 for the Girls Detention side, and 12 for the Special Program side.

The Girls Detention unit is a program that detains female juvenile offenders in a secure and structured environment until the court determines what actions are to happen based on the crimes they committed. Residents are provided with individual counseling, and offered self-help groups as well as recreational and skill developing activities.

The Special Program wing provides individual management for male residents within MYC on a short to intermediate term basis. The programs provided for male residents are individualized, implemented and adjusted to manage the residents’ behavior and assist them to regroup so they may return to their regular living unit.

Secure Treatment Unit:

This unit can house up to 20 male juveniles. Majority of youth that are housed in this unit, have some type of mental health diagnosis as well as behavior/anger control issues. Treatment groups and individualized treatment plans are tailored to their mental health needs, cognitive development, and or conduct disorder issues. STX also serves as a structured environment for youth who were unable to participate in less restrictive environments like the Boys Treatment Unit or other treatment units throughout the State. If a youth is able to show his ability to work in treatment while dealing with their anger appropriately, he could be considered to be transferred to a less restrictive environment to practice newly learned coping skills in a more open setting.

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