Kentucky takes pride in the fact that its facilities are small and treatment oriented. There are a total of nine youth development centers (YDC's) throughout the state. One facility has 80 beds, while the others range in capacity from 30 to 45. Youth placed in youth development centers are usually between the ages of 14 and 18. The vast majority of the youth development center population are older youth; the average age is 17. Two facilities are secure settings. The remaining eight facilities are staff-secure.
All programs have an on-grounds six hour school day. All programs offer the youth educational alternatives, such as graduation track and GED track, as well as vocational opportunities. Some youth will be able to receive college credit through the virtual university program. Individual, group and family counseling are provided. Each facility has a psychologist. Youth participate in the substance abuse prevention/intervention program Prime for Life Under 21. Other programs include anger management, recreation, parenting classes and independent living classes. Community-based education, service learning and community service options are integral components of staff-secure facilities. Youth often go camping, to sporting events and other special activities.
Whenever possible, youth are placed in the program geographically closest to home. This helps facilitate family visiting and counseling, as well as transition/aftercare services back to their home, school and community. Youth may be granted furloughs to assist in treatment and transition/aftercare planning. Some youth are discharged home after completion of a youth development center program, while others may step down to a less restrictive placement, such as a group home or therapeutic foster care.
Although aftercare is an important component for all youth, each region has one facility designated for youth determined to be at a high risk for recidivism. An aftercare liaison is employed at these facilities to work with both the residential program staff and community staff in planning for the youth's return to the community.