According to Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, 65% of the youth in the care of the Department of Juvenile Justice have a mental illness or substance abuse issue. Examined more closely, the data shows that 32.9% of all youth committed have a history of mental health problems and 53.4% are currently using drugs. These numbers are disproportionately higher for girls with 48.8% of committed girls having a history of mental health issues, and 55.7% abusing substances. Treating mental health and substance abuse issues before a child enters the justice system could save the state an estimated $53,665 per youth- and would avoid potentially worsening mental health, as youth may develop trauma and trauma-induced disorders like PTSD that can compound their existing mental health needs (FDJJ, May 2016). Community Connections for Life recently introduced the Youth Prep Psycho Social Rehabilitation (PSR) Program. Although this program utilizes family-based interventions focusing on developmental stage acquisition, parents may still feel a lack of support and connection with other parents that share their circumstances. Since children and youths with mental health issues have unique needs, and parents of these children have increased need for emotional, behavioral, social support, and structure to help them during this critical time. This group will be set to meet the psycho educational needs of this population.
The purpose of Positive Parenting Group is to enhance a positive bonding relationship between parents and children with mental health issues. The group envisions to empower parents with troubled children so that they can get help with brainstorming thoughts for how to react to a difficult child. They will discover comfort recognizing they are not alone and gain a feeling of hope from parents whose children are making progress.