Mark is a 17-year-old male who was arrested and charged with third degree assault as a result of his involvement in a fight in his neighborhood. Because of his age, Mark’s case was seen in the Bronx Criminal Court’s Adolescent Diversion part, where he completed a pre-plea clinical assessment with the Bronx Community Solutions Youth Justice Social Worker. The assessment identified Mark’s many emotional and behavioral issues as well as his issues with school attendance – Mark had not regularly attended classes for nearly a year. Mark was already receiving intensive, in-home services for his emotional and behavioral issues from a community hospital; however, these services were not adequately addressing his educational and employment needs.
In exchange for participating in SOAR (a three-part adolescent group on violence intervention offered by Bronx Community Solutions) and completing two individual counseling sessions with the program’s youth justice social worker, Mark pleaded to a violation, allowing his case to be sealed one year from now. As a result, Mark will be able to avoid the long-term consequences of acquiring a criminal record. During his individual counseling sessions, Mark worked with the youth justice social worker on a plan to continue his education – ultimately, he decided to pursue a GED. He also was given a referral to YAIP, the Young Adult Internship Program at the Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation. Mark attended an informational session and signed up for the next cycle of the program, where he will participate in job-readiness workshops, a paid internship, and a GED preparation program. Having successfully completed his mandate, Mark continues to check-in regularly with youth social worker. Together they continue to address his emotional and behavioral challenges. Mark has stated that he has experienced an increase in his self-esteem after having rededicated himself to his education.- Rebecca Stahl, Bronx Community Solutions Youth Justice Social Worker