Juvenile Justice Services

Leake & Watts' Juvenile Justice Services include both secure and non-secure programs for court-involved youth.  Both programs are based on the belief that young people with histories of delinquency need support, education and other tools to return safely and successfully to their communities and break the cycle of delinquency.

Woodfield Cottage is a secure detention facility for youth ages 10 to 16 who are accused of committing crimes and are awaiting court action.  Youth-centered services are offered in a structured, caring, albeit in a high-security, environment. Regardless of how long a youth remains at Woodfield Cottage, each resident goes to school, receives life skills training, and therapeutic services.

At Woodfield Cottage, our education and therapeutic interventions provide youth skills that they can use in the community and in the workforce to reduce recidivism. For youth with academic deficits, a team of teachers engage youth through music, art and drama to foster confidence and promote literacy. Youth are encouraged to express themselves and find new outlets for their anger and frustration. Events are arranged to expose youth to positive and new experiences that they may not have had previously. These events include having sports stars, music celebrities, mayors, judges and former Woodfield residents who have overcome adversity address the youth and demonstrate previously unknown possibilities for their success. Many of the youth that arrive at Woodfield Cottage have suffered abuse, neglect, violence, and trauma. For some, a stay at Woodfield Cottage is the first time in their lives that they can count on a warm, safe bed and three meals a day.

Supportive Services at Woodfield Cottage include:

  • Individual and Group Counseling
  • Anger Management
  • Life Skills
  • Gang and Violence Prevention Classes
  • Full-day School Program
  • Family Outreach
  • Medical Services
  • Aftercare Planning
  • Religious and Spiritual Services
  • Sexual Health Education
  • Job-seeking and Resume-writing Skills

The Leake & Watts Non-Secure Placement Program is a residential program supporting adjudicated youth ages 12 to 17.  Our program is community-oriented and family-focused, using the nationally recognized treatment method the Missouri Model.  This method involves grouping youth into small cohorts of 10 to 12 peers, with whom they live, attend school, participate in recreational activities and receive counseling.  We ensure that youth are able to develop their academic, pre-vocational and communications skills while in our care.

For those in our Non-Secure Placement Program, the Missouri Model promotes positive peer relationships and provides a supportive community for all participants.  All treatment occurs in group meetings with a counselor, where youth act out real situations and help each other develop constructive solutions.  Our staff help youth to understand the roots of the delinquent behavior and provide them with tools to address their personal challenges.  Youth learn how to manage their emotions, how to have a more positive attitude about themselves, learn stronger social skills and are supported in their efforts to adopt healthy behaviors.  Our staff also work with family members to maintain and strengthen the youth's connection with his or her family.  Overall, our program strives to prepare youth for a successful and permanent transition to the community.

In 2015, we launched an innovative, city-wide Respite Care Program for youth who have been court involved, at risk for court-involvement, or who may have a PINS petition and are at risk of foster care or residential placement.  Our program provides up to 21 days of respite services to youth in the homes of respite families in the community using an adaptation of the evidence-based Multi-Dimension Treatment Foster Care (MTFC). Leake & Watts already successfully uses the evidence based model MTFC in our family foster care program, working with children who have behavioral challenges, and we are pleased to bring this successful treatment model to a new population.  The program assists families by helping to de-escalate crisis and conflict between parents/caregivers and youth, help families learn new conflict resolution strategies, provide guidance and support that will improve school attendance and academic performance, connect families to ongoing community support, and thereby prevent the need for long-term out-of-home placements, future arrests and further contact with the juvenile justice system.