Helping Today's Youth Become Tomorrow's Leaders

South Arkansas Youth Services, Inc. (SAYS) is a private, nonprofit corporation established in 1977 by concerned citizens of Magnolia, Arkansas, who realized that there was an increasing need to provide emergency shelter services for adolescents.  During 1978, six to eight youth at a time were housed in a residential hall (Green Hall) on the campus of the Southern Arkansas University.  Today, SAYS, Inc. employs 322 staff in similar operations. 

By 1995, SAYS was providing shelter, casework and counseling, and medical and psychological treatment to a population of between 25 to 30 youth a day.  To maintain family units and provide services in the least restrictive setting possible, an outreach program was established in 1984. 

Currently the SAYS serves 600 youth per youth year in the 13th Judicial District. The Outreach Program has utilized the National Blueprint Model of IAP for the past that three years in which the recidivism rate was reduced by 60 percent.  Outreach workers provide both group and individual therapy in anger management, criminal thinking error, relapse prevention planning, substance abuse, female responsive services, gender specific programming, and specialized aftercare services to help clients make smart choices.

In 1986, SAYS realized its dream by acquiring 28 acres of land and a residence in Columbia County.  This residence is capable of housing 22 youth.  Additional acquisitions provided for a 12-bed long-term residential treatment facility, an educational facility, and a female residential facility. 

While some of the youth attend public school, many require one-on-one educational assistance.  Certified teachers work directly with the youth in a home-bound educational program.  All clients receive tutoring and homework assistance in the afternoon after school.  Appropriate individuals receive GED Training.  Recently, in cooperation with the Magnolia School District, the agency began working with expelled youth in a program to provide them with one last chance to obtain a high school diploma and move on to college.

SAYS is well known and respected as a staff-secured residential program serving youth 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  The agency has good working linkages with juvenile courts, school districts, community agencies, and local universities throughout South Arkansas.  For more than 30 years, SAYS has served delinquent offenders in lieu of commitment to detention facilities.

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