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Congratulations to the Missouri Division of Youth Services (DYS), Department of Social Services, for being named the winner of the prestigious 2008 Annie E. Casey Innovations in American Government Award in Children and Family System Reform.  DYS has long been noted for its comprehensive treatment and rehabilitative approach toward juvenile offenders in its network of regional facilities statewide that keep youth close to their families.  Making education, job readiness skills and work experience a priority, DYS prepares youth to re-enter their communities as law abiding and productive citizens.  DYS has one of the lowest recidivism rates in the country with less than 10 percent of youth re-entering the juvenile justice system or adult corrections.  As the award winner, DYS will receive $100,000 to assist toward replication of the program around the country.  This innovative Missouri model was highlighted in the Casey Foundation’s 2008 Kids Count Data Book essay entitled ‘A Road Map for Juvenile Justice Reform’.

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The Innovations Program is recognized as a catalyst for transforming creative and effective ideas into best practices through the nation and around the world. The awards program is administered by the Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard Kennedy School. The Casey Foundation has funded this system reform award since 2006.