More than a dozen people have graduated this year of a pilot Ft. Worth, Tx., program designed to help young people caught up in family violence, says the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram. Key to the program is intensive counseling aimed at helping participants make better choices the next time they find themselves in bad situations.
The program, Youth Offender Diversion Alternative, or YODA, is aimed at addressing the rise in Tarrant County of family violence cases involving people ages 17 to 25 and nonintimate relatives such as mothers, fathers, or siblings. A combined effort of Judge Jamie Cummings’ court and the University of Texas at Arlington’s Center for Clinical Social Work, it is funded by a $92,000 grant from the Amon G. Carter Foundation. “The majority of these kids have never gotten in trouble before,” said Lieu Huynh, a licensed social worker and therapist who serves as case manager for the program at UTA. “They really want to be a part of their families. A lot are really saddened by this.”