Transition and Reentry

Reentry refers to the planning activities and functions for young people that promote successful transition from confinement to their community or home. A collective support team assists with this planning.

Reentry is a process that begins when a youth or young adult initially enters the Juvenile Rehabilitation (JR) system and ends with the individual being successfully reintegrated into the community as a contributing member of society.

Why Focus on Reentry?

As part of DCYF’s Strategic and Racial Equity Plan, creating successful transitions to adulthood is one of the agency’s key priorities. The goal of reentry planning is to lower recidivism rates and promote long-term self-sufficiency for young people by increasing their skills to maintain a healthy, productive, and crime-free life.

Every year around 550 individuals release from JR facilities. Of those, only 50% receive aftercare services in their home community. A recent DCYF recidivism analysis shows a 51% recidivism rate, with young adults of color being twice as likely to receive a new felony conviction than white young adults. This typically occurs within six months of release for those over 18 – an age group that experiences incredibly high re-incarceration rates and poor educational and employment outcomes.

DCYF focuses on reentry planning to set these young people up for success as they transition into their communities. This includes providing supports in the following areas: health and safety, family/living arrangements, education, substance use, employment/vocation, peer group/friends, use of free time/recreation, and legal needs/requirements.

The focused agency work to accomplish these priorities includes:

  • Expanding least restrictive environments
  • Strengthening therapeutic environments
  • Enhancing availability of services and supports
  • Enhancing stability and quality of adult relationships

Developing and Implementing a Comprehensive Plan for Successful Reentry

JR is building a comprehensive plan for successful reentry that is based on a strong continuum of care; effective treatment services; efficient case management practices; and comprehensive education, vocation, and employment programs. Active participation and engagement from youth, families, and communities are crucial for young people to achieve successful reentry.

What Does Reentry Planning Involve?

  • Reentry planning begins within the first 30 days after intake. Our goal is for 100% of young people and their families to participate in Reentry Team Meetings (RTMs) and that all young people release with a reentry plan in hand (see Reentry Plan section below). We know that by collaborating with families, residential programs, parole services, and the community, we can better attend to education, employment, housing, and treatment needs.
  • RTMs are a young adult- and family-driven process to develop treatment and transition plans for entering and releasing from JR care. The goal of the RTM is to plan the best possible programming, transition, and reentry decisions for a young person. These RTMs have a high level of youth, family, and community involvement. 
  • From FY2018 through FY2020, JR averaged 92% initial RTMs, 95% release RTMs, and 90% of individuals exited with a reentry plan.
  • The reentry plan connects services received in residence to ongoing community services and acts as a roadmap to the young persons’ reentry. In residence, youth and young adults receive services that address target behaviors and promote skills. For these services to be effective, young people must link to services in the community to promote positive development and strengthen a successful reentry.
  • The reentry plan is designed for the young adult to have an active role in their plans for reentry. The reentry plan is a collaboration between the young person, their family or natural supports, and key JR staff who are dedicated to supporting the identified goals in the plan.
  • Reentry plans are updated periodically throughout the young person’s stay in JR, including parole aftercare in the community, if they qualify.
Guided Career Pathways to Successfully Launching Young People

Washington Workforce Connections

  • Employment Pathway Program (MyJOB) – EET Research Based Program: DCYF partners with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), Workforce Development Council, and local school districts to provide job readiness and work-based learning opportunities for young people to support their successful transition to the community. These partnerships include connections to employment coordinators and employment opportunities when the individual returns home. Work-based learning opportunities are offered to young people to practice their employment skills and gain confidence in their abilities.


  • Young people are encouraged to continue their education. Some work toward their GEDs, some graduate high school, some receive job certificates, and some attend post-secondary education.
  • High school completion is in partnership with local school districts and Education Services Districts (ESDs).
  • Post-secondary education degrees and certificates are offered in partnership with local colleges.

Vocational Certificates

Addressing Technology and eLearning Capacity

Endless Justice Securebook Laptops

  • In partnership with World Possible Justice, JR students have access to laptops to meet their education and treatment needs. The laptops include agency-specific content and education content, and software applications. This allows young people to focus on treatment, education, vocational skills, and transition needs.
  • Endless Justice Securebooks are specially made laptops that do not have access to USB ports, networks, cameras, or peripherals that can cause security concerns. Students can have the securebooks for use in their rooms.

Secure Internet Access

  • JR is implementing secure internet to allow students access to post-secondary education and transition planning resources. Students are able to attend identified college courses and contracted pre-apprenticeship courses.  JR is in the process of implementing access to transition planning resources.
  • The level of internet access is dependent upon the student’s needs and the facility they are at. Young people in community facilities have access to an identified list of sites to meet their education and reentry needs. Secure facilities have access to an offline server that replicates the internet. In supervised settings, students may be allowed limited internet access.

Young people participate in various treatment groups to address their mental, physical and behavioral issues. Linking to community-based services allows individuals to address their specific needs. Services and programs include:

  • Individualized assessments
  • Therapeutic interventions
  • Focus on mental health and substance use treatments
  • Reentry planning
  • Least restrictive community options
  • Peer supports and mentorship

Young people thrive when they have the skills that link to independence. Activities such as banking, using public transportation, registering to vote, applying for jobs and benefits, asking for references, and filing taxes are critical to long-term success.

JR has updated the following policies to include reentry:

  • Policy 2.20 Managing Financial Obligations
  • Policy 3.10 Assessing and Placing Youth in JR
  • Policy 4.10 Developing Youth and Young Adults Through Case Management
  • Policy 4.70 Managing Youth in DOC’s Youthful Offender Program
  • Policy 4.80 Serving youth in Partnership with Children’s Administration
  • Policy 6.50 Establishing the Release from Commitment Date

Juvenile Rehabilitation Homeless Prevention Program and Services

To assist with successful reentry and transition, JR strives to ensure that every individual has safe and stable housing as they exit our residential programs. Homelessness creates a level of insecurity and instability.  In alignment with SB 6560, enacted in 2018 to “ensure that no young person is discharged from a public system of care into homelessness.” 

Visit the Homeless Prevention Program page for more information or read the Improving Stability for Youth Exiting Systems of Care report. 

Least Restrictive Settings Support Reentry

As part of our agency-wide Strategic and Racial Equity Plan, DCYF is focused on achieving better outcomes for young people by successfully transitioning them into adulthood.  Using the Risk-Need-Responsivity Model, we will ensure young people have equitable access to services that promote self-sufficiency and independence. 

Examples of Least Restrictive Options Include:

  • Juvenile Rehabilitation Community Facilities: where young people gain community employment skills, strengthen family connections through enhanced visitation and home leaves and attend public school, all in a therapeutic environment.
  • Aftercare support: Community contracts for research-based reentry case management services provided to young people without parole aftercare.
  • Functional Family Parole (FFP): Where Community counselors provide carefully planned reentry support to promote access and connection to essential community resources.  This includes employment, housing, education, and supervision to enhance a young person’s compliance with parole conditions and follow through on reentry plans they developed while in residential care.
  • Community Transition Services (launches in 2022): Expands least restrictive, therapeutic community placement options for youth to complete their legal-based rehabilitation for treatment, school, career development, employment, and skill-building. CTS promotes family engagement and community partner connections for service support to ensure self-sufficiency and independence for young people. 

How Can You Help?

JR seeks input and feedback from the young people and families we serve as we implement programs and processes. If you have feedback or would like to become involved in reentry, please contact Lisa McAllister at