Role of the Youth Services Bureau

(As described in the CT State Department of Education's Youth Service Bureau Annual Report for 2004-2005)

The role of the youth service bureaus is to serve as an advocate for youth and "as the coordinating unit of community-based services to provide comprehensive delivery of prevention, intervention, treatment and follow-up services" for children and youth. These services are designed to "meet the needs of youth by the diversion of troubled youth from the justice system as well as by the provision of opportunities for all youth to function as responsible members of their communities" (C.G.S. section 10-19m; see Appendix A). A YSB is "a non-coercive, independent public agency established to divert children and youth from the justice system by:

  • mobilizing community resources to solve youth problems,
  • promoting positive programs to remedy delinquency breeding conditions.
  • strengthening existing youth resources and developing new ones, and

A town may operate its YSB directly or combine with one or more other towns to jointly operate the YSB, or a town may designate a private agency to act as its agent for the purposes of providing services to youth.

The YSBs have a broader scope of service than most other youth-serving agencies. In addition to providing direct services like other agencies, YSBs are responsible for assessing the needs of youth, identifying gaps in services, and coordinating services for youth in order to fill gaps and avoid duplication of services. Many youth service bureaus also play a special role working with the juvenile justice system to meet the needs of children and youth found to be delinquent or identified as being in a family with service needs (FWSN).