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DYS - About Us

A little information about Youth Services

About our Commissioner

Peter Forbes was appointed Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services (DYS) in June 2013. Forbes was re-appointed as DYS Commissioner by Governor Charles Baker and the Secretary of Executive Office of Health and Human Services, Marylou Sudders in February 2015.

For more than 30 years Commissioner Forbes has provided, in numerous capacities, steadfast leadership to the Department of Youth Services. Forbes’ long-standing service with the DYS began in January of 1983 when he was first hired as a direct-care worker at the Connelly Secure Treatment Unit.  Following several years with the Department, he was promoted to DYS Regional Director for Boston and served in that role for more than 10 years. As Regional Director, Forbes established a series of constructive relationships with public agency and community-based partners that improved services and strengthened positive outcomes for DYS youth.

In 2005, Commissioner Forbes was promoted to DYS Assistant Commissioner for Operations.  For seven years, Forbes supervised field-based operations, and initiated and implemented policy and practice changes including providing oversight to ensure that the residential continuum is safe for both youth and staff. Commissioner Forbes was also instrumental in the design and implementation of a structured community reentry model for youth who are returning to their home communities. Forbes was later appointed Deputy Commissioner where he managed field operations and ensured quality residential programming, community transition and supervision critical to the effective daily operations of the Department.

Commissioner Forbes remains committed to sustaining efforts that ensure low-risk youth do not penetrate the deep end of the juvenile justice system, and that youth in DYS custody receive appropriate services where and when they need them most.

Under Commissioner Forbes’ stewardship, the Department prioritizes improved data-entry and quality directed at positive youth outcomes as well as providing valuable educational, employment and training opportunities for DYS youth. These priorities are centered on the Department’s long-term goals of reducing recidivism and improving public safety.

In 2014, Commissioner Forbes was recognized for his leadership in implementing positive youth development practices, reducing the use of room confinement in residential treatment, and for fostering a forum for collaborative learning among national juvenile justice administrators by the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrator’s “President’s Award.” Forbes received the 2012 “Capstone of the Year” Award from the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown University for his efforts in strengthening the case planning pathway for youth involved in child welfare and juvenile justice systems.

Forbes holds a Master of Science in Human Services with a concentration in Administration from the College of Public and Community Service at the University of Massachusetts, Boston and an undergraduate degree in Sociology from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell.

DYS Mission

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. Our mission is to make communities safer by improving the life outcomes for youth in our care.  We achieve our mission through investing in highly qualified staff and a service continuum that engages youth, families and communities in strategies that support positive youth development.


Every young person served by the Department of Youth Services (DYS) will become a valued, productive member of their community and lead a fulfilling life.


  • We are unwavering and persistent in the pursuit of the positive development of youth in our care.
  • We promote safer communities by providing prevention, intervention and rehabilitation services.
  • We actively engage and support youth, families and communities as our partners.
  • We actively support a safe and healthy environment for our diversified and highly skilled workforce.
  • We work collaboratively with our public and private partners.
  • We adhere to the highest ethical and professional standards in all our work.
  • We respect and embrace diversity.


  • Ensure the “right youth, is in the right place, for the right reasons” through juvenile justice reform strategies that engage public, private, community and family partners.
  • Improve youth success through a continuum of services based on the science of adolescent development and proven and promising practices in juvenile justice.
  • Youth sustain the gains they made while in DYS custody through improved discharge planning   and continuing community supportive partnerships.
  • Develop and focus DYS’ human, physical and organizational capacity necessary to execute the various strategies to efficiently and effectively achieve the agency’s operational goals and, ultimately, its stated mission.