Programs and services for youth in detention
Learn about the programs and services that are offered to youth who are in detention.
We offer services, programs, and activities for youth while they are in detention. We are committed to making sure every youth in detention has access to educational, therapeutic, skill-building, and recreational programs.
Other opportunities for youth include religious services and strengthening life skills. Many of these programs are provided through contracts and partnerships with community-based organizations and volunteers.
Health clinic: medical and mental health services
Youths receive medical, substance abuse, and behavioral health treatment through an on-site clinic. This clinic operates through partnerships with Seattle Children's Hospital, University of Washington Schools of Medicine and Psychiatry, and community-based mental health organizations.
Every youth receives a full screening by health clinic staff for medical and mental health needs on arrival to secure detention. Youths are also assessed by the health clinic's medical provider, including completion of annual well-child assessments.
Health clinic staff address each youth's medical and mental health needs. They may treat the youth on-site or refer them to an outside facility.
Youths are also offered the following sexual health services:
- Screening/diagnostic testing and treatment of sexually transmitted infections
- Confidential HIV testing and counseling
- Education on the prevention of sexually transmitted infections
- Reproductive health care
- Pregnancy testing and prenatal health care for pregnant youth
The health clinic also helps connect youth with health services in the community.
Youths receive an oral screening from a medical provider upon admission into the facility. The screener assesses any significant dental history in addition to current or ongoing concerns.
A youth who is identified as having the following needs is referred to a community dentist for further evaluation and treatment:
- Never received a dental exam in the past
- Ongoing, chronic dental concerns
- Acute dental concerns
Youths who have acute dental health needs are evaluated by a medical professional and given a treatment plan.
Youths receive an eye exam from a medical provider upon admission into the facility.
Any youth with an abnormal eye exam is referred to a community optometrist for further evaluation. If the optometrist issues a prescription for eyeglasses, the youth can meet with the on-site medical provider. The medical provider will review the prescription and help order eyeglasses.
Youths receive follow-up vision exams during their annual wellness checks or whenever new concerns are noted.
All youths in custody have the opportunity to study standard school curriculum through Seattle Public Schools’ Interagency Academy.
These are the subjects offered:
- Language Arts
- Life Skills
- Online classes in a variety of academic subjects
We base the curriculum level on the individual's age, school progress, and prior level of success. Special Education curriculum is available if needed. Tutoring is also available. Youths may also work towards their GED.
Meeting social and emotional needs
Our scheduling provides detained youths with daily programming designed to meet their social, educational, and spiritual needs as well as to promote physical and mental well-being.
Youths have access to games, art supplies, puzzles, and workshops that teach expression through writing and music. There is a gym within the detention facility, and a recreation yard within each living hall.
The King County Library System has a library branch within the secure detention area. Youths have access to over 6,000 reading materials and a computer lab. Youths may check out books for research projects or enjoyment. Librarians also provide activities to promote intellectual growth and creative outlets.
Chaplaincy and religious services
Structured religious services are available weekly. Chaplains are available to consult with youth during the week. Youths may request chaplains from any religion to visit and support them while they are in detention.
Our kitchen can accommodate faith-based dietary restrictions on request.
We work with community partners and volunteers to provide positive learning experiences for youths. Some examples of programs and activities include:
- Theatre workshops
- Painting and clay sculpture
Interested in getting involved?
There are a variety of professional opportunities available at the Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention. Learn more about working with DAJD.