Methodist Home for Children operates the Alternatives to Commitment program in a successful public-private partnership with the NC Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice and local Juvenile Crime Prevention Councils.
The program was launched as the Wayne County Demonstration Project and renamed in 2011. Although it operates now as the Alternatives to Commitment Program, the mission and goals are unchanged: To provide parent and youth counseling in the community as an alternative to commitment to a Youth Development Center.
Alternatives to Commitment provides up to four months of community-based counseling to teens, ages 10 to 17, who are on Level III and II status or on post-release status with adjudications for charges such as armed robbery, breaking and entering, assault, destroying school property and substance abuse. Youth are referred by juvenile court counselors in Judicial District 8.
Once a treatment plan is in place, staff meet weekly with the teen to identify strengths and change negative behaviors. Staff meet also with the parents/guardians each week to teach techniques for managing discipline and behaviors. Weekly contact with court counselors is required, as well as monthly child and family team meetings to support the treatment plan.
Teens and families in the program are expected to report less conflict and improve family functioning. Teens are expected to return to the community, attend work or school and incur no new complaints during service.