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SACF Funds Youth Assessment and Screening Instrument for ARC program

Updated: Jan 23, 2023

The Sturgis Area Community Foundation is helping youth in our community through a recent grant to support a new community program geared toward helping troubled teenagers. The ARC (Adolescents in Recovery) program is a partnership between St. Joseph County Family Courts and Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services of St. Joseph County.

The program is a year-long intensive designed to help teenagers that have been repeated offenders in the juvenile system. It focuses mainly on the mental health of its participants and brings together community leaders from each part of a child's life to support rehabilitation.

Each week, participants meet with a team including their parents, an educational representative, a representative from CMH, and a legal representative. Participants in the program are provided treatment for mental health difficulties through CMH regardless of their insurance.

At the center of the ARC program is a crucial component known as the Youth Assessment and Screening Instrument (YASI™). Funded by a grant from the Sturgis Area Community Foundation, YASI™ is an innovative juvenile risk assessment tool that measures risk, needs, and protective factors in at-risk and juvenile justice-involved youth. The tool gathers and analyzes information from multiple parties (juvenile probation officers, caseworkers, youth service managers, social workers, etc.) to assess the likelihood of recidivism and develop well-informed, individualized case planning. The goal of the assessment is to produce good decision-making and create individualized service plans to reduce problem behavior.

Kevin Kane, Juvenile Director at the 45th Circuit Court -Juvenile Division, offered insight into the ingenuity of the program and the possibilities for the future positive impact. Mr. Kane explained that the program helps caseworkers find red flags and develop better solutions. In contrast, previous assessments sometimes created a roadblock to solutions that could have drastically changed a situation for a child. Mr. Kane stated the program "makes these kids believe in themselves." He looks forward to seeing a continuing impact and hopes a similar program could transfer to an Adult Recovery Court.

The goal of juvenile justice is rehabilitation and guiding youth onto a better life path. Through multiple community partnerships and a grant from the Sturgis Area Community Foundation, better assessment tools are available, which means better case planning and better outcomes for the ARC program and the youth of our community.

Through philanthropic services, strategic investments and community leadership, Sturgis Area Community Foundation helps people support the causes they care about, now and for generations to come. For more information on grants or donor services, email

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