CASES Expands Adolescent Portable Therapy for ATI Youth with Focus on Queens

Over the past year, CASES has expanded Adolescent Portable Therapy (APT) services as a supplement to our Court Employment Project, CASES’ longest-running alternative-to-incarceration (ATI) program for young people age 16–24 who would otherwise face felony jail or prison sentences.

First established by the Vera Institute of Justice in 2001, APT is a flexible in-home family therapy model specifically designed to address a young person’s current challenges and deter them from future justice involvement. APT clinicians carry small caseloads of six families so that they can tailor services to the unique needs and strengths of each young person and his or her family. APT services typically last 4-6 months and include clinical assessments, individual cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) sessions, caregiver/family sessions, crisis intervention, and weekly telephone calls to a young person’s family.

CASES assumed operation of APT in fall 2014. In FY 2016, the program served 52 youth and families, with 81% of participating youth successfully completing APT. Among all participants at exit (including both successful and unsuccessful exits), APT youth achieved the following:

  • 88% improved family functioning
  • 81% mental illness symptom reduction
  • 62% improved engagement in education
  • 88% avoidance of remand/placement (in correctional facility)

Vera primarily utilized APT as a service for youth on probation and at risk for violation and consequent remand. While continuing to serve probation youth, CASES has expanded APT as a supplement to the Court Employment Project (CEP). Annually serving 250 young people age 16-24 who would otherwise face jail or prison as the result of felony charges, CEP provides a six- to 12-month alternative to incarceration that includes community supervision, education, employment, and behavioral health services. The latter now includes APT, which provides mobile, in-home family services that can help particularly high-risk CEP youth to successfully complete their court mandate and thus avoid incarceration. The APT model allows CASES staff to better serve participants who may live further from our central offices in Brooklyn and Harlem. Specifically, in the coming year, CASES will target APT as a supplement to CEP for youth residing in Queens as part of work to expand diversion options for youth in that borough.

“The APT approach is short-term and flexible and specially designed to address consequences of involvement in the justice system,” said Co-Director of APT Services Eric Kolb. “Over my 11 years offering APT services, In the 11 years I’ve been working in this way, I’ve seen the ways that justice involvement can separate families, and I’ve seen the ways that families want to come together.

“I have seen the model’s positive impact on young people and their families and am thrilled the program will serve more than 80 families this year.”

CASES is able to offer APT services to at-risk youth in New York City thanks to generous grants from the Robin Hood Foundation, New York City CouncilNYC Department of Probation, and NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services.