Press Release

Press Release  DYS Announces Resource for Parents of Youth

For immediate release:
9/08/2023
  • Department of Youth Services

Media Contact   for DYS Announces Resource for Parents of Youth

Commissioner Reardon with members of DYS' Family Advisory Committee

BostonFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 8, 2023

CONTACT
Kathryn Laverriere, DYS | Kathryn.a.laverriere@mass.gov

Massachusetts Department of Youth Services (DYS) Announces New Resource for Parents of Youth in the Juvenile Justice System

Launch event celebrates co-authors who share their lived experiences as DYS-involved parents in new booklet aimed at improving family engagement

BOSTON - Yesterday, the Department of Youth Services (DYS) announced the release of "Sisters in Strength,” a booklet co-created by members of DYS' Family Advisory Committee (FAC). The booklet serves as a resource for parents and guardians of youth involved with DYS, staff, and community partners.

This initiative is led by the FAC, which is made up of families of both current and former youth involved with DYS and seeks to integrate their perspectives into the care provided with the goal of improving future experiences for families. The FAC aims to engage, encourage, and empower families to actively participate in their child's treatment across DYS’ continuum and to ensure families know they are not alone.

"Sisters in Strength" shares the importance of family voices in ensuring positive youth development and reintegration into society. It represents the collaborative effort needed to improve the lives of youth involved with DYS, and it serves as a beacon of hope and support for families navigating this journey alongside them. Creation of the booklet was co-facilitated by The Rest of the Story, a trauma-informed, community-based storytelling curriculum.

DYS Commissioner Cecely Reardon joined DYS staff, FAC members, The Rest of the Story leaders, Roxbury Youthworks, Inc., and other community partners at More Than Words to hear from the authors of the booklet and present awards to the FAC members involved in the creation of this booklet.

“ ‘Sisters in Strength’ gives voice to the strength of families whose unique perspectives and experiences are integral to the treatment, service, and quality improvements of our young people,” said Commissioner Reardon. “Family engagement and support is essential for the positive youth development that ensures long-term public safety.  The FAC serves as a vital bridge between DYS and families, and we are grateful for the expertise and wisdom our families bring to the table.”

"The Family Advisory Council (FAC) is thrilled to announce the public release of the Sisters in Strength booklet. We created this booklet to share our lived experiences with families in similar situations as us,” said representatives from the Family Advisory Council. “The goal of this booklet is to serve as guidance to the parents and guardians who will make up the next FAC cohort. Our hope is that Sisters in Strength will empower families to play an active role in their child’s healing by embracing the booklet as a tool for change and a source of hope."

The FAC is funded in part by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Second Chance Act Smart on Juvenile Justice Grant.

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Media Contact   for DYS Announces Resource for Parents of Youth

  • Department of Youth Services 

    As the Juvenile Justice agency for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Department of Youth Services promotes positive change in the youth in our care and custody.
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