MILAN YDC: PBIS BUS PASS
STORY SUPPORT BY MILANIA LANE
Located in the town of Milan, a small and rural area in South Georgia, is the 120 bed facility of the Milan Youth Development Campus. Being in the countryside, the facility is located hours and many miles away from the families of the youth housed there. This distance discourages family involvement and visitation for many Milan youth which, in turn, causes a decline in behavior and academic performance.
To counteract the negative effects of family displacement, the Department of Juvenile Justice’s PBIS Program (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) created the PBIS Bus Pass to help bring Milan youth together with their family members. The purpose of the PBIS Bus Pass was to promote stronger family bonds while at the same time encouraging youth to perform and behave better at the Milan YDC. Youth who meet certain educational and behavior standards have the ability to purchase and provide bus tickets to distant family members to visit the Milan YDC facility.
When presented to the Milan youth, the PBIS Bus Pass proved to be an exciting and popular program. Youth were able to purchase a bus ticket through Eagle Village, the Milan YDC facility store. Bus pass tickets are offered bi-monthly and are a hot ticket.
For the initial PBIS Bus Pass run through, four youths were able purchase bus tickets for family members. Three of the youth were from the Atlanta area and one youth was from Albany. On March 28, 2015, three eager families were transported from the DeKalb RYDC to the front gates of the Milan YDC. For some of these families, it was the first time coming to see their child since being transferred to Milan and, for one other family, it was the first time seeing their child since being brought in the DJJ system in 2011. As would be expected, the family reunions were highly emotional and the quality time spent together was very much appreciated.
Due to the overwhelming response received from families and youth alike, the Milan YDC plans to expand the program in the coming months. To learn more about PBIS at DJJ, visit the website http://www.djjnewsandviews.org/pbisatdjj.