Delinquency Prevention Program: Aurora House

600 words | 3 page(s)

As part of its efforts to reduce and prevent delinquency, the Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court of Arlington, Virginia, offers several services to juveniles currently involved in court cases. The Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court website provides a list of programs and services available to these juveniles. One of the services it lists is Aurora House, which is what this paper will examine.

Aurora House describes itself as a “residential counseling center for girls’ ages 13-17 and certified by the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice, Aurora House offers long-term community-based treatment to a group of up to 12 girls” (The City of Falls Church, 2013). Its emphasis on counseling means that residents of the House participate in individual, group, and family counseling during their stay. They also have access to recreational activities, both onsite and off; residents are encouraged to develop and pursue personal interests and hobbies as well. Since the residents are school-aged, and most are truants from school, educational support is also provided in the form of education counseling or tutors. Residents of Aurora House must be enrolled in an appropriate educational program. Aurora House also offers aftercare to its graduates; this aftercare usually takes the form of counseling, transitional assistance, and crisis intervention.

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Aurora House’s mission is to create an environment in which “court-involved female adolescents” (The City of Falls Church, 2013) can receive the encouragement, structure, and support they need to cope with the problems they are facing, as well as helping the families of the girls to make positive changes. Its primary objective is for most of the girls to return to their families under better circumstances. Its goals include providing females the court has identified as delinquents with a place to live; decreasing delinquent and illegal behavior in those females; providing a positive, nurturing environment in which the females may receive counseling; promoting positive change in the females in different areas of their lives (like family, self-esteem, and peers); returning the girls to the families and communities after graduation from the program; and evaluate each girl, based on Aurora House criteria, to determine appropriateness for group home services.

Aurora House has been in operation since 1991 when the City of Falls Church established it. It uses daily points and levels systems which it has determined promotes positive change and behavior adjustment. Vocational services are also available. Aurora House contributes its effectiveness to the home-like atmosphere and “effective communication and teamwork” among the Aurora House staff (The City of Falls Church, 2013). However, the site does not provide details regarding the successfulness of its program. However, since it appears to have been in continuous operation since 1991, it would appear that it is somewhat effective.

One thing that could be changed to enhance this program is the inclusion of regular, required community service. Residents would have to perform regular community service during their stay at Aurora House. This could help the residents appreciate the value of community and how delinquency affects the community. It would demonstrate to them how their actions can negatively impact the people around them, beyond their families. It could also help them with personal responsibility.

Another change that could be made to enhance this community could be having successful graduates of the program to serve as volunteers or tutors for the girls. In this way, the girls could see positive change modeled right before their eyes. Seeing successful graduates would demonstrate to the girls that the program is useful and is worth trying and participating in.

  • The City of Falls Church, VA. Aurora House. http://www.fallschurchva.gov/Content/Government/Legal/AuroraHouse.aspx?cnlid=342. Published 2013. Accessed December 1, 2013.

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