Pa. Department of Public Welfare's New Mentorship Program Will Help Troubled Teens Transition Back into the Community

Nov 06, 2012, 11:08 ET from Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare

More volunteers are needed for innovative public-private partnership

HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 6, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Department of Public Welfare unveiled a statewide mentorship pilot program that will help troubled teens from the North Central Secure Treatment Unit in Danville, Montour County, to transition safely and successfully back into the community.

The North Central Secure Treatment Unit is designed to provide structure and therapy for young women ages 12 to 21. The girls are court-ordered to the facility to complete a comprehensive rehabilitation program.

"We see a vital need for an extra support group for these teens, to help ensure a safe and successful transition into the less structured environments in their communities," Secretary of Public Welfare Gary D. Alexander said.  "This is a unique  public-private partnership designed to give young teen girls a soft landing back into the community after being accustomed to the rigidity, structure and support in the juvenile justice system."

In 2009, the Centers for Rural Pennsylvania reported 19 percent of Pennsylvania teen offenders returned to the court system at least once. The mentorship program will connect troubled teens with an adult mentor in their community, and will assist them with a variety of life skills that will help them readjust to life outside of juvenile detention. 

Mentors for the program receive training on skills for building appropriate and supportive relationships and various methods to help a teenager transition back into society. After training is complete, mentors are matched with a teenager from their hometown or community.

"Being a mentor for this program is such a small investment of time and training that will result in helping troubled teens rebuild a better and brighter future," Alexander said.

The greatest need for mentors is in the southeastern region of the state; however, there is a need for mentors statewide. If you are interested in becoming a mentor for this program, contact 717-787-1302.

For more information about the Department of Public Welfare, visit the department's website at

Pennsylvanians who suspect welfare fraud should call 1-800-932-0582.

Media contact: Carey Miller or Donna Kirker Morgan, 717-425-7606

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare