Least Restrictive Options Benefit Youth

January 4, 2021
Residents of Canyon View Community Facility on a nature hike stand atop a mountain and look over the landscape.

The Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) works diligently to improve the lives of young people that come into our care and prevent additional trauma. Gov. Inslee proposed investments for DCYF’s Juvenile Rehabilitation (JR) to establish a community services transition program that uses less restrictive settings and invests in case management and community support services to facilitate successful transitions to the community.

During the 2021 Legislative Session, DCYF is asking lawmakers to support the Governor’s proposal to expand least restrictive options. Least restrictive options include community facilities, aftercare support, community transitions supports, and functional family parole. These options focus on a wraparound approach rooted in connections to community-based supports for young adults to successfully transition back into their communities. Therapeutic, least restrictive options also reduce recidivism and racial and ethnic disparities.

Through least restrictive options, youth in DCYF’s care and custody are serving their time in communities while accessing resources, meaningful navigation, and family connections. Transitioning youth back into their communities with familial support and connections to education and employment opportunities helps to increase stability and successful reentry while reducing recidivism. By increasing least restrictive options, young people can return to their community sooner with the resources, skills, and support they need to thrive.

Throughout the 2021 Legislative Session, we will keep you informed on the agency’s progress in successfully advocating for our young people and share more about the benefits of least restrictive options.