Delinquent Youth in Custody now have options for learning and career development programs
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (WDEF) – Tennessee youth placed into the custody of the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services for delinquent behavior will now have new options for learning and career development that will help prepare them for a successful next chapter in life.
“One mistake or a few mistakes that they make as a youth should not define where they are in opportunities that they should have when they are 25 or 40. We all make mistakes,” says Nicole Polk, Communications for Wayne Halfway House.
Depending on the options chosen by young men and women participating in higher education programs, they can earn college credit toward an associate degree or begin a vocational career track by the time they leave the youth treatment facilities and return to their communities.
“There are youth from Chattanooga placed in these programs and when they exit these programs they will be coming back to your community. These youths are coming back with these college credits and with this certificate is such an exciting thing. They are going to get out and return to their communities and you want them to return ready to be productive citizens,” says Commissioner Jennifer Nichols, TN Department of Children’s Services.
The youth will have advanced education options through partnerships with Bethel University and the Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) statewide network.
“It makes them that much more employable. They will have a skill, have an education or a trade that when they leave us they have something that’s with them for a lifetime,” says Polk.
“They will walk out sometimes further along in their education than their peers were when they came into custody,” says Nichols.
Officials believe that the advanced education program has the potential to become a more established initiative and grow across Tennessee’s network of providers that offer services to delinquent youth.
The educational programs are federally funded and will allow the residents to continue their education even after they have returned to their homes.