DYS Administrative Services

Administrative Services provides support in carrying out the mission, goals and objectives of the Colorado Division of Youth Services. Expand the sections below to explore administrative services program areas:

Colorado Youth Detention Continuum

The Colorado Youth Detention Continuum (CYDC) is implemented locally within each of the State's 22 Judicial Districts. The Department of Human Services, Division of Youth Services has oversight of CYDC. The Colorado General Assembly appropriates funds for the CYDC programming to the Division of Youth Services. The Statewide Advisory Board is then responsible for developing an allocation formula and allocating the funds.

The Division's Colorado Youth Detention Continuum (CYDC) office consists of the Statewide CYDC Coordinator and program assistant. The Statewide CYDC Advisory Board or "working group" is comprised of juvenile justice professionals from across the state representing all juvenile justice disciplines. The advisory board advises DYS on policy issues related to CYDC. Each local CYDC program has a Juvenile Services Planning Committee (JSPC) and a local CYDC Coordinator to have oversight of the implementation of local CYDC Services. Detailed descriptions of the program structure and roles of CYDC staff, along with the enabling statutes can be found in the CYDC Reference Manual.

Local Judicial Districts are responsible for the screening of all youth referred to secure detention and for an assessment of risk. CYDC programs provide an array of services based upon each Judicial District's unique Juvenile Services Plan.

Colorado Youth Detention Continuum (CYDC) History

The Colorado Youth Detention Continuum (CYDC) created state statute that provided the basis for a "detention continuum." The initiative, still referred to as "CYDC", provides structure and funding to local jurisdictions for a continuum of services designed to ensure that youth are supervised/incarcerated at a level that is commensurate with their risk to the community. Prior to the 1991 Legislative Session, the projections for future Division of Youth Services (DYS)detention populations were indicating the need for approximately 500 additional state secure detention beds in the DYS system. Discussions among the Executive Director of the then Department of Institutions, DYS Staff, Legislators, and Joint Budget Committee Staff included the possibility of local service options as a viable alternative to building expensive state detention youth centers. These discussions culminated in the development of CYDC, which was introduced and adopted during the 1991 Legislative Session. One provision of the bill provided for the establishment of a Juvenile Services Fund that would provide resources to local jurisdictions on or after July 1, 1993, to fund alternative to incarceration services described in local juvenile services plans developed by each jurisdiction. Plans were to include, but not be limited to, such services as "intervention, treatment, supervisions, lodging, assessment, bonding programs, and family services." These services were to be designed, for appropriate youth, as viable alternative to placement in State-funded detention and commitment facilities.

During fiscal-year 1993-1994, local juvenile services plans that provided for alternatives to incarceration were developed, approved, and implemented in each of the twenty-two judicial districts. Colorado Youth Detention Continuum (CYDC) programs were viewed as an important element in meeting DYS bed capacity needs. It was therefore determined that DYS budget documents, and the General Assembly's formula for funding DYS capacity needs, would assume that CYDC programs would be 70% successful in preventing the placement of at-risk youth in state-operated youth centers. Thus, all funding decisions since that time estimated that CYDC program services would reduce the need for State-Funded beds.

Senate Bill 1363, enacted during the 1996 Legislative Session, deleted the list of potential services included in the Colorado Youth Detention Continuum and replaced it with language stating that juveniles services funds should be expended for services that are intended "to prevent the juvenile from being held in detention prior to adjudication or prior to being sentenced to detention or committed to the department of human services, or to reduce the length of time the juvenile is held in pre-adjudication or post-adjudication detention or in a commitment facility."

Senate Bill 286, enacted during the 2003 Legislative Session, placed a statutory limit on state funded secure and staff-secure detention beds of 479 beds. Each of the State's 22 Judicial Districts receives an allocation of secure and/or staff-secure detention beds. Judicial districts are required to develop plans to manage the number of allocated beds to ensure that the judicial district does not exceed its allocation.
The Colorado Youth Detention Continuum Statewide Advisory Board serves several functions. The Board fills the role of the "working group" identified in statute. The Board's functions are the allocation of juvenile detention beds, develop a formula for allocating funds to judicial districts, development of the criteria for placing a youth in detention and the criteria for committing a youth to the custody of the Colorado Department of Human Services


Assessment Services functions as the point of entry for all youth committed to the Division of Youth Services. DYS Assessment units are located in two areas of the state. The Western region has an assessment unit at Grand Mesa Youth Services Center in Grand Junction, and the Front Range has an assessment unit at Mount View Youth Services Center in Lakewood, at Platte Valley Youth Services located in Greeley, and at Spring Creek Youth Services Center located in Colorado Springs.

The DYS assessment process consists of working collaboratively with community partners to create a comprehensive, individualized, and interdisciplinary assessment plan. Assessment team members apply evidence-based evaluation practices to highlight youth and family strengths and identify criminogenic risk and need factors that are contributing to the probability of engaging in future criminal behavior. All evaluation service results are reviewed at a multidisciplinary team staffing comprised of behavioral health staff, education staff, caregivers, advocates, and facility staff. The multidisciplinary team relies upon empirically supported evaluation findings to make cooperative decisions surrounding placement and individualized, targeted youth and family recommendations for treatment.

A number of unique and specialized areas of evaluation are considered throughout the assessment process. For instance, all youth are provided with a mental health and substance use screening and assessment to ascertain any salient mental health and/or drug and alcohol concerns that may need to be addressed. Educational and vocational needs are evaluated using standardized and validated instruments, as well as through a thorough review of past educational records. When indicated, youth undergo Neuropsychological Screening to rule out the occurrence of brain injury, to determine current medical status, to identify areas of concerns, to determine individualized treatment needs, and to determine if further Neuropsychological testing is needed. Sex Offense Specific Evaluations are provided to all youth who have been either adjudicated for committing a sexual offense or whose charges include a sexual offense as the underlying factual basis. Lastly, each youth is administered the Colorado Juvenile Risk Assessment (CJRA) to identify risk, need, and protective factors that are contributing to the probability that a youth will re-offend. Results of the CJRA are combined with findings from the assessment disciplines described above to enhance understanding of each youth's criminogenic risk, protective, and need factors.

Education Services

The Division of Youth Services provides educational services to adjudicated youth committed to the Department of Human Services in six state operated secure commitment youth centers. The educational programs in place meet the complex needs of a diverse student population and include both general and special education services. The programs are varied and comprehensive with a focus on leading a youth to achieve a diploma, obtain a G.E.D, or access career/technical education and training. The education program service delivery system includes State employed educational staff, contracts for services with local school districts, and contracts with private providers.

Youth in secure State-operated youth detention centers are provided educational services through local school districts.


Although the State of Colorado, Division of Youth Services operates the secure detention youth centers, the responsibility to educate youth residing in secure detention centers belongs to the local school district in which the detention youth center is located. There are eight state operated detention centers in Colorado. The typical length of stay in Colorado detention centers is brief, with an overall average of 15 days. General and Special Education services are provided for youth and all detention programs meet Colorado Department of Education requirements.


Once committed, each youth completes a thorough, multidisciplinary assessment process that includes an educational assessment. By statute, this process is required to be completed within the first 30 days of commitment. As part of this process, the DYS Educational Assessment Specialists will request previous educational records to include transcripts, requests any existing Individualized Education Plans (IEP), administer academic testing to determine current level of academic performance, and complete a career assessment with each student. Educational Assessment Specialists join other professionals at the multi-disciplinary team staffing held for each youth to detail findings from all assessed areas and determine the most appropriate placement for each youth. Also in attendance at this placement meeting are the youth, the youth's parent/guardian, and the youth's client manager. While completing this assessment process, youth are enrolled in educational programming, attend classes and earn academic credit.

Colorado State Revised Statutes mandate that the expense of providing educational services for youth committed to the Department of Human Services, Division of Youth Services in the six state operated secure youth centers is the responsibility of the Department of Human Services. Each of these youth centers has a comprehensive education program specifically designed to meet the needs of each youth. A graduation plan is developed for each youth that outlines credits needed to graduate, which is used to determine placement in academic classes. Youth who have a high school diploma or G.E.D. have a post-secondary plan developed that addresses their academic, vocational and/or work experience programming needs.

The Colorado Department of Education (CDE) academic standards and mandates are met by the DYS education programs. All teachers and principals are licensed by CDE. To assure adherence to CDE and Department/Division requirements, annual audits are performed by the DYS Education Office.

Food Services

The mission of DYS Food Services is to provide healthy nutritious meals to the youth we serve. As participants in the National School Breakfast, Lunch, and Snack programs, DYS Food Services is subject to Federal regulations tied to nutrition and recommended daily allowances of vitamins, minerals, and fats.

Weekly menus cycle every four weeks and offer a diverse selection of foods. With a registered dietitian on staff, DYS Food Services has the ability to create menus for any special diets as needed.

DYS Food Services also has a youth work program in the commitment, treatment and multi-purpose youth centers. The program consists of 13 units, beginning with basic sanitation and food safety and graduating to food preparation. The goal of the program is for youth to learn basic culinary and life skills.

Clinical Services

The Division of Youth Services (DYS) Clinical Services Unit incorporates the collective knowledge of highly qualified, trained professional staff within the Division to promote a cost-effective and integrated system of evidence-based practices and services to assist youth and families involved in the juvenile justice system. DYS oversees the provision of services to each DYS youth, including the right type and intensity of medical, dental, mental health, substance abuse, and sex offense specific treatment. Services provided are individualized, strengths-based, and comprehensive and delivered at the appropriate time. DYS Clinical Services upholds the highest level of health care services within each DYS youth center that meets or exceeds community standards, including managing external medical specialty-care referrals and psychotropic medications without compromising the youth's health, and maintaining the highest level of confidentiality and security of protected health information. The budget is managed by the Clinical Services Unit in a manner that maximizes resources, collaborates with community agencies and programs, surmounts challenges, develops opportunities, and demonstrates a high level of accountability in resource allocation.

Additional Clinical Services Unit functions include: 1) continuous evaluation, development, and revision of clinical policies, standards, and procedures, 2) management of contracted services provided by individuals, programs, or agencies including, but not limited to, medical, dental, psychiatric, and mental health needs, and 3) provision of training and technical assistance to all clinical service providers who serve DYS youth, with an emphasis on a seamless continuum of services for youth and families. Direct services offered for DYS youth include: 1) initial and ongoing medical consultation and treatment, dental evaluation and treatment, substance abuse education, intervention, and treatment, sex offense specific evaluation and treatment, mental health evaluation and treatment, including individual, group and family treatment. Staffing in the Division includes 7 Central Office centralized positions, approximately 35 Medical contracted and state FTE, and approximately 80 mental health, substance abuse, and offense specific clinical service providers.

Client Services

Client Services provides leadership, support and oversight to the regional Client Management and Parole systems through the work of the Client Services Coordinator. The Colorado Division of Youth Services operates an over-arching case management system. Client Managers function as case managers for committed youth beginning at initial assessment and eventually become the youth's parole officer. Client Manager/Parole Officers are based in the four Regional Offices. The Client Services Coordinator guides the Regions in the implementation of client management practices, policies and procedures associated with the Division's Continuum of Care. These policies, practices and procedures include actuarial risk assessment, overarching case management, multi-disciplinary team decision-making, transition/parole planning, and parole supervision. The Commitment Continuum of Care integrates a number of initiatives designed to establish best practice throughout all aspects of the organization. The Client Services Coordinator supports the link between these various initiatives and ensures consistent communication and practice statewide. This involves coordination with the Regional Directors, the Regional Client Manager Supervisors, Client Managers, Program Area Managers and the Juvenile Parole Board.

The Client Services Coordinator also provides oversight and coordination of the Division's transition and parole resources. These resources allow for the provision of critical services to assist and support youth and families during the process of transition from residential care back to their home communities and while on parole. Services include but are not limited to multi-systemic therapy, functional family therapy, educational and vocational services, mentoring and substance abuse relapse prevention. The Coordinator monitors these funds and provides leadership to a team of four regional Transition Coordinators responsible for oversight of their respective regional transition and parole services.

Client Services works closely with the Division's Office of Staff Development to support the professional growth of regional Client Managers and Client Manager Supervisors. Training emphasizes the development of skills specific to the Client Management and Supervisory functions in an effort to ensure effective services for the youth committed to the Division's custody. Training includes a focus on the use of Motivational Interviewing skills, implementation of Restorative Community Justice principles, and effective administration and use of the Colorado Juvenile Risk Assessment. Supervisor and Client Manager training needs are assessed on a regular basis to ensure on-going professional development and best practice.

In addition to supporting internal practice and regional coordination, the Client Services Coordinator serves as the Liaison to the Juvenile Parole Board as well as the Colorado Department of Human Services Administrative Review Division to ensure on-going collaborative working relationships to best meet the needs of the youth we serve.

Victim and Restorative Community Justice Services

Integral to the Division of Youth Services' Mission Statement is a commitment to Restorative Community Justice (RCJ) principles. Restorative Community Justice principles and practices are incorporated into many day-to-day applications and services. RCJ practices and principles have been utilized over many centuries and by a variety of cultures to engage individuals who have done harm to their communities. RCJ beliefs and activities work to restore individuals and relationships harmed by crime to the extent possible. RCJ practices continue to develop and evolve across all of the Division's business units.

An RCJ approach to juvenile corrections differs significantly with a punishment focused "retributive" response. By embracing RCJ, the Division seeks to provide youth, victims, and communities the services and opportunities to address the harm experienced, become involved in processes and activities that aid individuals to become increasingly whole. DYS uses a number of informal and formal processes to help youth build new skills. RCJ involves a number of highly structured and intensive processes that take place in various arenas at different levels of intensity and structure. RCJ activities may take the form of apology letters, facilitated victim empathy classes, accountability circles, conflict mediation, victim offender mediation, and family conferencing.

Quality Assurance

The Division of Youth Services Office of Quality Assurance is responsible for the oversight of a quality assurance process that includes residential youth centers, regional offices and the development of Division policies.

Residential audits are conducted annually for the Division's secure State-operated youth centers as well as staff secure private youth centers. Audits are performed over a four day period for most youth centers, looking in-depth at over 350 standards in treatment centers and over 290 standards in detention centers. The audit process allows for a supportive approach in order to evoke positive change in the youth centers, and a means to assuring quality programming for the youth. In addition to annual audits, monitoring visits are conducted each trimester for all youth centers, to include Secure Residential Therapeutic Centers (SRTC), Therapeutic Residential Child Care Facilities (TRCCF), Residential Child Care Facilities (RCCF) and Child Placement Agencies (CPA).

The Office of Quality Assurance consists of four full-time employees and eight Subject Matter Experts that attend each audit, offering their knowledge and expertise. Areas of expertise include safety and security, human resources and training, education, clinical services, medical services, food services, sanitation and programming.

In addition to auditing youth centers, the Quality Assurance team audits each of the four regional offices, develops and revises Division policies, oversees the Division's risk management to include Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance, and emergency planning.

Staff Development

The Colorado Division of Youth Services Office of Staff Development (OSD) is a centralized unit responsible for providing or facilitating staff training opportunities and professional development programs for employees of the Division.
OSD provides pre-service training to all new employees, coordinates training programs for all employees to meet the annual training requirements, and provides or coordinates professional growth opportunities in order to enhance treatment services and program effectiveness. OSD provides consultation, support and assistance in planning, scheduling, and conducting training that is responsive to staff needs and provides greater protection to the public through an improved level of services to the juveniles in its custody and care.

Data and Analysis

The Division of Youth Services Data and Analysis Unit is comprised of researchers with expertise in statistics, policy analysis, evaluation, juvenile justice, evidence based practices, client management, and data systems.

The core responsibilities of the Data and Analysis Unit include:

  • Producing and distributing monthly and annual reports
  • Providing data in response to inquiries from management personnel, regional staff, program providers, legislature, and state/federal agencies
  • Conducting statistical analyses (utilizing SPSS, excel, crystal reports, and TRAILS extracts)
  • Communicating the results, outcomes and implications of statistical analyses
  • Ensuring data integrity and quality control
  • Assisting in improving current methods of data collection
  • Advocating for Evidence-Based Practices
  • Evaluating DYS programs
  • Overseeing outside evaluations
  • Developing formal presentation materials
  • Attending and presenting at meetings and conferences

Data and Analysis Resources

Capital and Financial

The Division of Youth Services budget is established annually through legislation. The Finance unit within the Division is responsible for developing and executing an internal budget for the Division's various functions. This unit provides financial expertise to youth centers, regional offices, and central office functions. Other responsibilities include analysis of legislation for fiscal impacts, determination of IV-E eligibility &, billing, analysis of funding streams and recommendations for long term financial plans. This unit coordinates with the Department of Human Services Accounting and the Department Budget Services unit.

Personnel within the Finance unit provide expertise and technical support to the rest of the Division for the creation, maintenance and monitoring of contracts. The Division contracts with vendors to provide residential and non residential services, treatment services, transition and parole services as well as a wide variety of other functions. The finance unit ensures adherence to State Fiscal and Procurement rules as well as internal procedures for the procurement of goods and services.

Interstate Compact

The Association of Juvenile Compact Administrators is dedicated to the cooperation amongst states and jurisdictions party to the Interstate Compact on Juveniles, providing for the welfare and Protection of juveniles and the public, promulgating rules and regulations, and ensuring that the provision of this Compact are uniformly administrated.

The roles of the Association of Juvenile Compact Administrators are:

  • To provide for the uniform cooperative interstate supervision of juveniles on probation or parole.
  • To provide for the prompt return, from one state to another, of juveniles who have run away, escaped, or absconded.
  • To promulgate rules and regulations as empowered by the governing statute, to effectively carry out the terms and provisions of this Compact.
  • To cooperate with and observe the sending States' terms of supervision while maintaining the quality supervision that the receiving state would afford to its own juveniles.
  • To provide training to its members and other juvenile justice professionals.
  • To provide additional measures for the protection of juveniles and of the public, which any two or more of the party states may find desirable to undertake cooperatively

The Colorado ICJ office is responsible for processing all juvenile parole and probation cases on youth wanting to relocate to Colorado and on Colorado youth wanting to relocate to another State. The Colorado ICJ office processes approximately 600 cases per year. The ICJ office monitors compliance with Federal Laws, State Statute, and Probation/Parole conditions. The ICJ office serves as a liaison between the Compacting States, Court Personnel, Law Enforcement, Probation &, Parole officers and the youth's family. The ICJ office is responsible for interpreting Colorado Statues, Federal laws and other States laws to various practitioners upon request.

The ICJ office is also responsible for returning delinquent and non-delinquent juveniles to their home states once their due process rights have been met and any pending charges are disposed of. The returns are completed or made within a 5-day time frame. The ICJ office also provides Airport Supervision to unescorted juveniles flying through Denver International Airport. The ICJ office is responsible for training all Regions and Judicial Districts on the Juvenile Interstate Compact.

Prison Rape Elimination Act

DYS has a zero-tolerance policy relating to staff sexual misconduct, youth sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and consensual youth sexual misconduct. It is DYS policy to fully cooperate in the investigation and prosecution of those who are involved in such conduct, if in fact a crime has been committed.

Visit the DYS and the Prison Rape Elimination Act page to learn more.