Youth Services Division
Captain Gordon Howey
The role of the Youth Services Division is to investigate reported criminal offenses where the victim is a juvenile, enforcement of laws regarding juveniles, and the resolution of juvenile citations issued by police officers by counseling or referring the offenders to the appropriate agency in an attempt to prevent future delinquent behavior. The Division also investigates crimes that occur in schools during school hours, on the way to and from school, at school bus stops, and at school functions.
This section investigates the deaths of children under the age of thirteen and assaults when the victim is a juvenile. They also investigate cases involving runaway or missing children, child custody issues, child neglect, child abuse, kidnapping, drug overdose of minors, accidental injuries, or any other case where there expertise may be needed. The types of crimes investigated in the schools include most personal and property crimes including assaults, burglaries, thefts, and vandalism.
The Counseling Section provides early assessment and short-term intervention counseling for juvenile offenders (Juvenile Citation Recipients) and unruly non-offenders. Police officers issue citations to offenders at the scene of the violation, instead of taking them into custody to Juvenile Court. The Juvenile Citation Program allows some offenders to receive counseling as a result of violating a status or misdemeanor offense. Police officers issue citations to offenders at the scene of the violation instead of taking them into custody to Juvenile Court. The Request Counseling Program makes counseling available to unruly offenders whose parents or guardians need further assistance or guidance, for the youth and the family. A counseling session is focused on a comprehensive assessment of the juvenile's behavior in the home, school, and community. Juveniles and their parents/guardians are advised of the enforcement of laws and the consequences of violating these laws. If needed, referrals can be made to other community resources.
Strengthening Families Program
Youth Services started facilitating the Strengthening Families Program (SFP) in January 2011. This is a nationally and internationally recognized parenting and family strengthening program for high-risk and regular families. It was developed in 1982 by Karol L. Kumpfer, Ph.D. In 2013, Metro Nashville Police Department partnered with Family and Children's Service and the Davidson County Sheriff's Office.
SFP is an evidence-based family skills training program found to significantly reduce problem behaviors, delinquency, and alcohol and drug abuse in children. It is also used to improve social competencies and school performance. SFP is therapeutic, but not therapy; therefore personal disclosure is not required. SFP makes family life less stressful and more rewarding for parents and strengthens the family unit, thus reducing risk for many risky behaviors in children.
The Strengthening Families Program is currently a 9 week program, is free to the community, and the target age group is 10 to 16 years old. Sessions are held once a week. We have 4 groups per calendar year. During the nine week program, we take the families on a concentrated jail tour and they also go on a college tour and or attend a college fair. Both tours equip the families with knowledge and insight of life choices and how their choices not only impact them, but the community.
As of March 2016, we have had one hundred and seventy eight families to graduate from the program successfully. The program is full of learning opportunities and valuable resources for the youth and families. We are not only helping the families to develop additional family skills, we are also another resource for them.
For more information about this program, please contact the Youth Services Division: (615) 862-7417.