An alternative to a sanction that will result in a record transgression is the Intensive Prevention Services (IPS) program, a Philadelphia initiative under the auspices of Mayor Jim Kenney.
This program supports young people between the ages of 10 and 19 to face challenges at home, at school and in the community, providing them with tools that allow them to model appropriate action when facing adversity.
The Intensive Prevention Services (IPS) program aims to prevent young people from entering the Juvenile Justice System. According to a press release from the City Mayor’s Office, “the power of IPS is its proven ability to build up the self-esteem of each person in the program and to guide them toward a more positive direction in their lives.”
Five years ago, the Department of Human Services began working with the School District of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Police Department to provide IPS services to youth as an alternative to arrest. Since that Police School Diversion Program began in 2014, 1,486 youth have been diverted from the courts to our IPS programs. Referral to IPS also increases their chances of staying in school and reduces the risk of future arrests.
Damon Trent, DHS Juvenile Justice Services Prevention Supervisor, said, “IPS provides a safe haven for young people, mentors young people, and engages them and their families” (…) “Exposes them to new experiences by providing essential tools and life skills to take our young people out into the world. That is where the success lies.”
Linda Huss, journalist from the Philadelphia Mayor’s Office’s Human Services Department, asked “What is the secret IPS sauce?”
The institution answers that “It provides programming after school, when youth are more likely to engage in the kind of high-risk behaviors that could land them in court. Each participant who walks through the door of an IPS provider also receives a customized plan to address the specific behaviors that brought them into the program. The plan varies by person, but the goals are the same: to strengthen their sense of self-worth, build life skills, provide academic support, and improve their relationships at school, home, or in the community.”
Youth come to IPS through families, schools, the court system, or the police. Services are free and available in six locations across Philadelphia.
Translated by: José Espinoza