Alternatives & Prevention

Alternatives & Prevention

Ages 12-17
Across NYC

Preventing Disruption in Young People’s Lives

Bad decisions and increasingly delinquent behavior can often lead to further court involvement and eventually placement in a juvenile justice facility or jail time for young adults. This disruption can halt progress in school, in the family, and across life experiences. For young people who do not pose an imminent threat to others, the ability to explore the root causes of such behavior and find a way to redirect their trajectories while still able to participate in the community is preferable. In various ways, we work to provide therapeutic services, create systems of support, and help youth explore alternative paths forward.

Mentoring Programs

Rising Ground provides several opportunities for youth to share their experiences, concerns, and ideas with others who have similar experiences to envision a new path forward and create a system of support between youth and adults. We conduct two mentoring programs — Plus Mentoring for youth referred by the Department of Probation and My Next Move. Our My Next Move program supports both young men leaving residential placement as well as those who have been court involved and those who are at risk of involvement. Participation in this program is voluntary, and we invite youth and their families to reach out to us about how this program can help prevent further court involvement. Learn more here .

Family Respite

The Rising Ground Family Respite Program provides temporary respite for families with youth who are at risk of becoming court involved or risk further involvement with the juvenile justice system. The Family Respite program helps families during times of crisis by giving them a break from the daily challenges they cope with. This can be in response to a court mandate or through voluntary admission when delinquent behavior poses a threat to the family’s functioning and youth risk court involvement. A respite gives them youth and families a chance to refocus and gain perspective. Respite periods range from 1-21 days, depending on the need. Rising Ground supports youth in all five boroughs of New York City.

ATLAS Program

Rising Ground partners with the NYC Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice to provide community services through the Atlas program. In the past few years, New York City has significantly reduced arrest and incarceration rates while shifting toward support-oriented safety strategies. We provide services to young adults, typically 18-24, who have been released from court on their own recognizance and remain court involved. Referrals are made based on a recognition that those with elevated risk factors for involvement in violent or criminal behavior can benefit from therapeutic, as well as community and neighborhood, supports. Our credible specialists provide outreach and tailored, voluntary, evidence-based programs — such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), Functional Family Therapy (FFT), intensive employment and job training, and education supports.

Alternatives to Incarceration

Another way Rising Ground is working with New York City is through our Alternative to Incarceration (ATI) programs. Courts and schools refer youth to Rising Ground to receive services that provide support to youth engaging in delinquent behavior while avoiding placement in a juvenile justice facility and avoid disruption of school and home life. ATI programs citywide reduce the court’s reliance on incarceration, lower the jail population, and allow people to remain in their communities while increasing stability and well-being. We provide a wide array of services to meet the specific needs of youth referred to us. These can include mental health and substance use treatment, vocational and educational supports, and trauma-informed individual and group counseling, as well as supervision and regular reporting to the court.

Recognizing the unique needs and challenges of young women and LGBTQ+ and gender non-conforming youth, we also have partnered with the City to create JustUs , a similar diversion program that is tailored to meet the unique needs of these populations.

Contact us to learn more about our Alternatives and Preventative programs.

Contact us to learn more

  • Melanie Jacks, Division Director, Justice For Youth & Families Programs