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Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families Logo

Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families

Division of Youth Rehabilitative Services

Ferris School

Photo of Ferris School for Boys

Ferris School is a secure care, ACA accredited treatment facility providing services for up to 72 court committed males, ages 13 to 18. The average length of stay is six months, followed by a six-week transition program. Youth committed to Ferris are identified as serious and/or chronic repeat offenders, who pose a risk to themselves or others and require intensive rehabilitative treatment.

Ferris offers a structured learning environment that integrates all elements of rehabilitation: Education, programming, treatment, and therapeutic clinical programs at the start of each day. Programming is individualized and prescriptive to meet the needs of the youth. Staff is trained to view every interaction with the youth as a learning opportunity to enhance their pro-social skills. Throughout the youth’s stay, treatment staff maintains contact with the family to assist with a successful family reunification.

Youth programming includes: Drug and alcohol treatment, conflict resolution, aggression replacement training, violence prevention, gun violence, victim sensitivity, and youth mentoring services. Treatment staff facilitate programming and are required to have a bachelor’s degree in education or behavioral science.

In 2018 Ferris School was honored to receive the Barbara Allen Hagen award from PbS (Performance Based Standards) for their improvement plan of reducing youth assaults and fights.

Academic Education

In addition to having certified teachers through the Department of Education, Ferris School also has an established mentorship program to enhance the academic learning environment.  The Ferris Mentor Program currently has 25 active mentors. Learn more about Academic Education

Seven Challenges

The Seven Challenges is a holistic, comprehensive counseling program for youth and young adults that incorporates work on drug problems, co-occurring problems and for remediating life skill deficits

Family Engagement

  • May 16th Mother’s Day Celebration
  • June 20th Father’s Day Celebration
  • July 18th North Cluster- TBD
  • August 15th Ferris School through the eyes of a parent
  • September 19th Family Fun Day
  • October 17th Back to School Night
  • November 21st Thanksgiving
  • December 19th Christmas
  • December Newsletter

Behavior Management

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, Grace Cottage, Snowden Cottage, and Mowlds Cottage.


Residents are allowed to receive visits from immediate family members.Visitors include immediate family, attorneys, agency personnel, clergy and others.  Your visitors must follow the following procedures:

  1. Visitation is every Tuesday from 5:30pm – 6:30pm. and Saturday and Sunday from 12:30pm – 2:30pm.
  2. A maximum of three (3) visitors, including children, are allowed per visit.  An adult must accompany all visitors under the age of 18.  Your visitation list may include six (6) family members: mother, father, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, and grandparents. Your visitation list can only be changed with the approval of the Program Manger.
  3. The Treatment Specialist or the Treatment Supervisor is responsible for contacting your family members to schedule your visitation.  All visitors attending must have their names placed on the visitation list.
  4. All visitors over the age of 12 must present valid photo identification.
  5. Visitors are not allowed to bring any items into the facility.  Visitors must report 15 minutes prior to scheduled visit, or visitation may be denied.  Visitors are subject to prosecution for illegal violations, i.e., passing on illicit drugs, cigarettes.
  6. The Ferris School visitation dress code allows males to wear pants (short or long) and a shirt or T-shirt.  Women are permitted to wear pants, dresses, or skirts provided they are no shorter than knee length.  Any printing on clothing should not encourage or condone alcohol or drug use or be sexually explicit.  Ferris staff reserves the right to make final determination.
  7. Ferris School is a smoke-free facility.  Cigarette smoking is not permitted in any building on campus.
  8. Residents have the legal right to visit with their attorneys at any time.  Family Court counselors, social workers, and ministers may visit a resident at any reasonable time.  The resident will also be provided with a reasonable place/area for confidentiality.
  9. Visitation by clergy, social workers, attorneys, and community service workers may occur daily between the hours of 9:00am and 4:00 pm, provided that such unscheduled visits do not pose a security problem.  Visitors are urged to telephone prior to visiting.
  10. Visitors who are suspected of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs will not be allowed in the facility.

Phone Privileges

During the resident stay, he is permitted to have available telephone access regardless of level or phase to maintain family and community ties, as well as have access to attorneys and other support services with reasonable amount of privacy.  Upon arrival youth are offered two free 10 minute outgoing telephone calls to parents, legal guardian and/or foster parent.

Outgoing Calls:  Resident is entitled to a weekly 10 minute outgoing telephone call to a parent and/or guardian. Each Cluster has designated days and times telephone calls will occur based on the programming schedule.

  • The facility offered Collect Blue Telephones for the resident use Sunday through Thursday from 2:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
  • The resident is given a 5-digit Personal Identification Number to use when placing outgoing calls on a Collect Telephone.  Residents unable to make collect calls will still have at a minimum one 10 minute telephone call per week to a parent or guardian. To foster and support healthy family and community ties the treatment specialist can authorize more calls based on treatment and programming needs.


Residents are permitted to send and receive mail. Incoming and outgoing mail will be distributed daily. For safety and security reasons mail may be read, censored, or rejected when there is a suspicion that the contents are contrary to facility interests, order and security, i.e., pornography.

Residents are supplied with paper, pencil, and envelopes upon request. Resident Incoming/outgoing mail will be sent to the mail room in the Department’s Administration building within twenty-four hours for letters and within forty-eight hours for packages, excluding weekends and holidays. Mail will be stamped free of charge and delivered to the post office vial mail carrier.

Ferris School Contact Information


959 Centre Road
Building #15
Wilmington, DE 19805
Email: yrs.dscyf@delaware.gov


Main Number: (302) 993-3800
Facsimile: (302) 993-3820