Southwest Key Programs

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Community-Based, Youth Justice Programming


Southwest Key believes that kids are best served when they are at home with their families and in their communities, not locked up in institutions. That’s why we use alternative models for our youth justice work. Male and female youth that are involved in the juvenile court system receive structured, rehabilitative programming that holds them accountable for their actions and motivates them to abstain from delinquent behavior while allowing them to remain at home. And because rehabilitating a kid and dropping them back into a broken system is self-defeating, Southwest Key caseworkers partner with a youth’s family to address every area of that young person’s life. That can even extend to helping mom or dad improve their chances at gainful employment, helping them find childcare for a sibling, or reentering society after spending time in a justice system institution. Safety of the community is of upmost importance, so Southwest Key has developed programs to keep track of the progress our clients are making while holding them accountable for their actions. If you’re interested in learning more about how Southwest Key’s Youth Justice Program models can work for your jurisdiction, give us a call or send an email and we’ll be happy to provide more details about the programs listed below.

Continuum of Service

Our Program Models

Family Keys: Status Offender Diversion

Selected as a Best Practice Model by the Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), Family Keys is an early prevention and intervention model designed to keep status offenders from becoming formally involved with the juvenile justice system. This model focuses on behaviors like running away, curfew violations, and truancy by combining principles of wraparound case management and crisis intervention to create a holistic approach to guiding youth and families. Case managers make face-to-face contact within 24-72 hours of receiving a referral and are available 24/7 for crisis intervention and conflict resolution. All services meet families where they are in their homes or communities, and staff provide discharge and aftercare support to ensure families have a natural support network (neighbors, teachers, extended family, community centers) to thrive after exiting the program. Southwest Key operates four Family Keys program in Texas and two in New York. The model is being replicated by an outside agency in Delaware. National Outcome Data for 2014: • 95% remained in community/home • 95% no new offenses FAMILY KEYS FACTSHEET (PDF)  STATUS OFFENDER DIVERSION FACTSHEET (PDF)

To read our latest research on the Family Keys Program supporting Latina youth please download our toolkit. (PDF)

Staff members Tossing Balloons up into the Air

Community Connections: Wraparound Approach

The Community Connections program model integrates concepts of Wraparound and Positive Youth Development to support youth who have been adjudicated delinquent and are considered at risk for out-of-home placement or are scheduled to return home within one month of program enrollment. Program services include 24-hour crisis intervention; evening monitoring; clinical assessment and support; youth and family-driven service planning; linkages to community resources; skill development and care coordination. As a key component of its service model, Southwest Key coordinates Youth and Family Support Teams that meet regularly to create, implement, and monitor a Youth and Family Service Plan designed to address the unique needs of each youth and family. The Annie E. Casey Foundation is currently conducting a 3-year research study on our Community Connections model. National Outcome Data for 2014: • 82% remained in community/home • 83% no new offenses

ARTICLE: Southwest Key Community Connections Helping Youth in Buffalo, NY

YJ PD Meeting Atlanta 2014

Functional Family Therapy (FFT)

This evidence-based program ( is effective with medium to high risk youth who have behavioral issues, substance abuse, or delinquent behavior. Highly respectful of the family and its dynamics, licensed clinicians meet clients weekly in their home and bring parents and siblings together to help the entire household strengthen their ability to solve problems and work together. The program is designed to divert youth from out-of-home placement and lasts an average of 4 months for 15 sessions. FACTSHEET (PDF)

Evening Reporting Centers

Intensive, short-term afterschool program for youth on probation or pending charges. We provide meals and transportation from school to the program in the afternoon, then home at 8pm each night. Youth participate in daily group counseling, tutoring, recreation, and community service. Activities focus on developing positive identity, increasing youth motivation for achievement in school, developing life skills that encourage positive self-esteem, allowing them to make responsible choices and feel they have control over their futures. We establish a learning center that addresses the real needs of young people who view themselves as 'on the fringe' and the 'outsiders' in their schools, neighborhoods and community. FACTSHEET (PDF)

Back of T-shirt

Alternative Schools (JJAEPs) & Day Treatment Centers

In 1996 we opened our first Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Program (JJAEP) in Texas for students who have not succeeded in traditional school environments. This program works to recreate the expelled student’s view of educators, create positive relationships with adult role models, and focus on a student’s strengths. We prevent hundreds of youth from dropping out of school each year by providing them with full-day individualized education in a therapeutic setting with small class sizes, case management services to address the needs of the whole family, daily group counseling, recreation, support transitioning back to the student’s home school, and credit recovery and GED services, if needed. Southwest Key currently operates 6 JJAEPs throughout Texas, and a gender-specific Day Treatment Center in Milwaukee.Texas Statewide Outcome Data in 2013-14: • 92% no new offenses • 74-77% improvement math and reading

Reentry & Workforce Services

This model is designed to facilitate a youth's transition from an out-of-home placement back to the community and/or family environment. Services are designed prepare young adults to enter the workforce and increase their long term labor prospect, including mentoring, intensive case management services that include assessments of skills, abilities and aptitude, the development of an individualized service plan, goal setting for educational gains, career planning to establish a career pathway for each participant and identification of barriers preventing youth from advancement with supportive services to remove obstacles. Southwest Key Programs was one of four recipients of a national Department of Labor grant selected to serve as the fiscal and management agent to oversee nonprofits for the operation of programs in 4 sites: Atlanta, GA, Buffalo, NY, Houston, TX and Milwaukee, WI.

Miguel F. is fixing up an old cruiser bike with his mentor Gabriel Cruz-Letelier at The Yellow Bike Project.

Youth Mentoring

The Southwest Key Youth Mentoring Program is currently a grantee of OJJDP’s Multi-State Mentoring Program with sites in San Jose, CA, Austin, TX, Atlanta, GA, Milwaukee, WI and Buffalo, NY. We work with youth on probation or at-risk of probation that are not typically served by mentoring organizations. The goal is to establish mentoring relationships that have a long-lasting, positive impact. Clients are matched with mentors from throughout the community for a minimum of one year. Our unique mentoring model involves an extensive screening and matching process, monthly structured group outings, and monthly mentor support sessions and trainings with a focus on parent engagement, school support and case management for clients. FACTSHEET (PDF)

Watch Interviews with Southwest Key Youth Mentoring Program Participants 

Apply to Be a Youth Mentor

GPS Tracking

An alternative to detention for pre-adjudicated youth utilizing daily face-to-face and telephone contacts and 24-hour electronic monitoring/Global Positioning Unit (GPS). The goal is to ensure that youth appear at their scheduled court hearings while preventing acts of delinquency and to help them complete probation within their communities. Georgia Statewide Outcome Data for 2014: • 99% returned to court as required FACTSHEET (PDF)

Watch a Georgia GPS Tracking Video

Intensive Support & Supervision

Designed to operate as alternatives to detention for pre- and post-adjudicated youth for 30 to 60 days of programming, which includes two daily face-to-face and telephone contacts. Designed to prevent acts of delinquency while awaiting court date or as a sanction, our case managers take a team approach to care coordination and provide structured support and supervision, advocacy, and crisis intervention. National Outcome Data for 2014: • 91% returned to court as required FACTSHEET (PDF)

YJ Artwork

Specialized Treatment Services: Substance Abuse And Mental Health

Licensed clinicians provide weekly individual counseling and crisis stabilization in the home as a reentry service for youth transitioning out of secure facilities. All services are strength based, trauma informed and client-centered. Evidenced-based methods consist of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Motivational Interviewing embedded in the treatment curriculum. Southwest Key is available to provide these home-based services in any Texas county. FACTSHEET (PDF)

Licensed Substance Abuse Treatment Facilities

Southwest Key operates a licensed outpatient treatment facility in San Marcos, Texas to provide intensive substance abuse treatment services aimed at reducing the risk of relapsing upon return to their communities via use of evidenced-based approaches and curriculum. The Southwest Key Substance Abuse Treatment Program utilizes a strength-based and client-centered approach to treatment, with daily group counseling, weekly individual counseling, crisis intervention and discharge planning services. FACTSHEET (PDF) 

Youth Justice Leadership Team

If you are interested in bringing culturally-responsive youth justice alternatives to your community, we look forward to hearing from you. Email any member of our Youth Justice national leadership team below, or contact us at, 512-583-2509.

Joella Brooks

Joella Brooks
Chief Operations Officer
Southwest Key Programs
25 years with Southwest Key Programs

Veronica Delgado-Savage

Veronica Delgado-Savage, LCSW
Vice President of Youth Justice Services
Southwest Key Programs
Eighteen years with Southwest Key Programs

Cindy Leon

Cindy Leon
Southwest Regional Executive Director
Youth Justice Services
Southwest Key Programs
18 years with Southwest Key Programs

Judy Tremonte

Judy Tramonte
Northeast Regional Executive Director
Youth Justice Services
Southwest Key Programs
24 years with Southwest Key Programs

Stephanie Davis Williams

Stephanie Davis-Williams
Georgia Regional Executive Director 
Youth Justice Services
Southwest Key Programs
17 years with Southwest Key Programs

Erica Harry

Erica Harry, LCSW
Georgia Clincial Regional Executive Director 
Southwest Key Programs
1 year with Southwest Key Programs

Layla Fry

Layla Fry
Director of Operations
Youth Justice Services
Southwest Key Programs
10 years with Southwest Key Programs