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Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families

Division of Youth Rehabilitative Services

Behavior Management

Cognitive Behavior Training

The Division of Youth Rehabilitative Services has implemented a uniform behavior management system, Cognitive Behavior Training (CBT), in all Secure Care facilities: New Castle County Detention Center, Stevenson House Detention Center, Ferris School for Boys, Grace Cottage, Snowden Cottage, and Mowlds Cottage.

CBT is an evidence-based practice that focuses on helping youth change their thinking patterns and make better choices in their lives.  The goal of the program is to change behavior by helping residents examine the beliefs and thinking patterns that happen before they behave in an inappropriate way.  Once the youth is aware of these thoughts, they can learn to change these thoughts and attitudes so that they can get along with others appropriately and be successful both within the facility and in society.  The program provides youth with instruction in decision-making, anger management, interpersonal relationships, cooperation, hygiene and social skills.  It is our hope that once youth transition into the community, they will be able to apply these skills at home, school, the workplace, and other settings.

Residents have the opportunity to earn points throughout the day for demonstrating positive behavior called norms.  The five main areas of norms are:

  1. Ignoring inappropriate behaviors
    Resident consistently maintains his/her own behavior as if things he/she is supposed to ignore does not exist.
  2. Cooperation and participation
    Resident consistently makes an effort to follow directions, accepts decisions, and helps others do so as well.
  3. Appropriate talk
    Resident maintains polite talk and voice tone
  4. Gestures (i.e., nonverbal behavior)
    Resident consistently demonstrates effort to clean up after self and others, as well as to maintain overall cleanliness and order of the area.
  5. Area (i.e., remaining in the assigned area, keeping the room neat)
    Resident is very polite and respectful.  Resident consistently demonstrates and maintains good physical gestures.

The residents earn “coupons” throughout the day for demonstrating positive behaviors, which they can redeem at the CBT store, such as games and extra snacks.

Residents are also assigned weekly goals that seek to help them improve on a personal target behavior.  Residents who attain their goals earn reinforcement at the end of the week in the form of a “plus party” in which residents have the opportunity to participate in special activities.

Consequences are implemented when norms are broken.  If a norm is broken, youth will receive time outs or Administrative Intervention.  During this time, youth cannot earn points or coupons, but if they comply immediately, they will return to the program at the end of the designated period.  In addition, while on a time out the youth complete assignments that help them understand how their thinking contributed to the behaviors that caused their consequences and how to change that behavior.