Missouri Policy Journal


The Missouri Division of Youth Services (DYS) approach to juvenile justice has become a national model, often referred to as “The Missouri Model.” Missouri’s approach has produced positive outcomes including satisfactory discharges, high law-abiding rates, and low rates of recidivisms. Although a model for other states, the Missouri DYS Model lacks an essential component of youth rehabilitation: the family. Based on the suggestion made by Ringle and colleagues to blend out-of-home residential care with family based in-home aftercare services, this study aimed to explore Missouri DYS staff perspectives on merging Intensive Family Reunification Services into the current Missouri DYS Model of Juvenile Justice. Our findings support our claim that the Missouri DYS Model of Juvenile Justice could improve by focusing more on the youth’s family.