Secure Youth Treatment Facility (SYTF)

On May 14th, 2021, Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill (SB) 823 which closed the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) and shifted funding and responsibility for the highest-need youth to local counties. The legislation provides that this shift is necessary to ensure that youth are closer to their families and receive age-appropriate treatment that is evidence-based and will improve the outcomes of youth and public safety, while also reducing the transfer of youth into the adult criminal justice system. To that end, the legislation provided that intake services at the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) would stop as of July 1, 2021. SB 92 added a new article, Secure Youth Treatment Facilities (SYTF) to the Welfare and Institutions Code setting forth a new dispositional option for juveniles aged 14 and over.

To be considered for an SYTF disposition, a ward must be age 14 or older and the most recent offense for which the ward was adjudicated must be listed in Welfare and Institutions Code Section 707(b). The court must set a baseline term and a maximum time of confinement. The court must review an individual rehabilitation plan for the ward within 30 days of making a commitment to a SYTF. The court must also schedule and hold a progress review hearing for each committed to a SYTF at least every six months. The probation department or the ward may make a motion to transfer the ward from an SYTF to a less restrictive program. The purpose is to facilitate the safe and successful reintegration of the ward into the community.

Youth who are in the SYTF program may participate in ARISE Gang Prevention, Moral Reconation Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Anger Management, The Boys and Girls Club, Individual, Family, and Co-Parenting Counseling, Alcohol and Substance Use Treatment Services, Art programs, Equine Therapy, Music, guest speakers, and many other recreation and programming activities.

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