The Massachusetts Department of Youth Services (DYS) ensures the delivery of a full spectrum of healthcare services to all youth in residential placements.

  • Youth in DYS staff-secure residential programs utilize local medical providers who work in collaboration with program staff facilitating an understanding of the Commonwealth’s larger medical system. Additionally, this method of service delivery enhances a youth’ awareness of how to gain access to medical care for themselves once released from DYS custody.
  • DYS youth in all hardware-secure and a subset of staff-secure programs have medical care provided on-site through a series of five regionally based contracts.

Upon commitment to a DYS program, youth undergo a comprehensive medical assessment to gain an understanding of their own overall health status and to identify any issues which must be promptly addressed. This evaluation includes screening for communicable diseases and determination of immunization status. During a youth’s length of stay all medical concerns are addressed by a team of medical providers that include nurse practitioners, dentists, physician assistants and pediatricians

Healthcare providers diagnose and treat all routine medical conditions identified during a client’s length of stay.  DYS contracted medical providers determine the best venue to provide healthcare for each identified condition ranging from on-site within a DYS facility to a hospital-based medical specialist.  Medical providers determine if conditions identified are best treated during the anticipated period of confinement or deferred to community healthcare providers when released from DYS residential settings.

Medical care provided is framed by the guidance of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and other applicable organizations to ensure that health care provided is both culturally sensitive and delivered in accordance with the standard of care for the larger community.


This information is provided by the Department of Youth Services.