Our community programs help children – aged 12 to 18 years – and their families succeed in their home, local school, and community by supporting emotional and behavioral needs.

Working with the whole family is essential to our approach to achieve positive outcomes in their home environment.


Credible Messengers

Credible Messengers is an intensive mentoring/coaching and advocacy program for justice-involved youth that uses a unique match between youth and staff with lived experience. Credible Messengers aim to provide 24-hour support, structure, guidance, and skill-building techniques to youth and families while fostering links for them within their communities.

Credible Messengers aim to have at least seven hours of contact per week per client/family and will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to support success with a “whatever it takes” philosophy.

Funded by the Judicial Branch Court Support Services Division (JBCSSD), clients served are males and females, aged 13 to 18 years, identified as high-risk, high-need, justice-involved youth as determined by the PrediCT assessment tool. Eighteen-year-olds on both juvenile and adult probation can be served on a case-by-case basis.

Program capacity is 16 clients at any given time with no more than five clients per Credible Messenger. The average length of stay is based on treatment goals. Clients are referred to the Credible Messengers program through Waterbury Superior Court Juvenile Matters (SCJM).

Location where CM is available


Mathew Kingsbury, MS, Program Director

Linking Youth to Natural Communities (LYNC)

CJR’s LYNC program provides services to court-involved young people and their families to assist them in making sustainable behavioral changes that will reduce future court involvement.

Funded by the Judicial Branch Court Support Services Division (JBCSSD), the LYNC program is based on a three-phase system and designed to identify needs, select relevant services, and focus on establishing community connections that will provide ongoing support after program completion.

LYNC also prepares young people to enter the workforce by teaching soft employment skills, such as time management and interviewing techniques, and helps participating young people explore volunteer and internship opportunities within their communities. The average length of service is six months but may vary based on individual needs.

CJR provides bilingual (English/Spanish) services in all of its programs. CJR also can deliver services in Portuguese in many programs, including REGIONS. For other languages, CJR Program Directors regularly collaborate with probation and JBCSSD personnel to secure the services of an interpreter.

Referrals for LYNC are made by Juvenile Probation Officers.

Locations where LYNC is available


Brian Smith, BA, Program Director


Noemi Rivera, MA, LPC


Brian Smith, BA, Program Director


Gigi Valentin


Noemi Rivera, MA, LPC

CJR’s Success Always Follows Education (SAFE) Program

SAFE is an after-school program for middle and high school students with a focus on making good decisions about identified life options and creating a sense of belonging through community service actions. It is designed for students aged 12 to 17 years, and individuals are encouraged to remain in the program until high school graduation.

The SAFE program is divided into six levels, with each level containing 30 to 40 lessons of 30 to 50 minutes in length, including: Family Life Education, Academic Assessment and Assistance, Lifetime Sports and Recreation/Self-Esteem Enhancement, Job Club/Entrepreneurial Program, Culinary Arts, and Video Production/Graphic Arts.

Referrals to the SAFE program are through the Waterbury School System. Once referred, individuals are screened and assessed to ensure they match the following identified high-risk criteria:

  • Academic
  • Behavioral
  • Truant or a history of truancy
  • History of needing social and clinical-based supports

The SAFE program is funded by Waterbury Public Schools.

Location where SAFE is available


(for students in the Waterbury school systems)
Joanne Medina, BS, Program Coordinator

Multidimensional Family Therapy (MDFT)

MDFT is an intensive family and community-based approach for the treatment of adolescent substance abuse and associated mental health and behavioral challenges. Treatment is provided in the client’s home, school, and community.

The primary goal of MDFT is to provide strength-based practices to develop and initiate strategies to offset and eliminate both substance abuse and antisocial patterns of behavior among children ages 9–18 and their families’ while at the same time working with the family to improve family relationships and encourage positive changes.

Treatment typically consists of three sessions a week during the active phase of treatment. There is an individual session with the client, a session with the parent or caregiver, and a session with the family as a whole. All three of the sessions can be accomplished in one day or over the course of the week. MDFT therapists are available to the family via telephone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The therapist also has ongoing communication with the school and other community resources involved with the family.

Referrals to CJR’s MDFT Program can be made from a Juvenile Probation Officer, DCF Worker, or any community provider, in addition to schools, hospitals, and families themselves. Referred youth who are identified as having substance abuse issues or being at risk of developing a substance abuse issue can greatly benefit from MDFT.

Locations where MDFT is available



Allyson Nardi, Licensed Professional Counselor
Program Director

Multisystemic Therapy–Family Integrated Transitions (MST-FIT) Program

For youth aged 12 to 18 years, MST-FIT is designed to reduce criminal and antisocial behaviors, empower the family to develop and use proactive parenting skills, and decrease the likelihood of new arrests and future residential placements. All family members and anyone within the youth’s sphere of influence are encouraged to participate in treatment, which is conducted over a period of three to six months.

Using dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), which is delivered in a variety of settings (from home to school to residential facilities), MST-FIT seeks to effect change across multiple systems simultaneously. During this time, MST-FIT therapists conduct sessions with individuals and their families three to five times a week. Therapists are also available to families 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to provide support during any crises that occur.

A key feature of MST-FIT happens prior to discharge from a residential facility, when therapists work with the parents/guardians in the home and the youth in their residential facility simultaneously. This approach is designed to support transition back to the community from residential placements and ensure that DBT skills learned during residential treatment are reinforced in the home setting. This program serves up to 60 boys, girls, and their families annually.

Referrals for MST-FIT come from Juvenile Probation Officers.

Location where MST-FIT is available


(with services across Connecticut)
Monty Sabolcik, LCSW, Program Director

Multisystemic Therapy (MST) Program

CJR’s MST is a unique, family-focused, evidence-based program that annually serves 30 young people, aged 12 to 17 years, and their families. Treatment is delivered in the natural environment (home, school, and community) and is designed to reduce criminal and antisocial behaviors while empowering the family to develop and use proactive parenting skills. All family members living in the home and anyone within the youth’s sphere of influence are encouraged to participate. For a treatment period of three to five months, MST therapists are available to referred families 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Therapists visit the family home three to five times a week and also have ongoing communication with the attended school.

Funded by the Judicial Branch Court Support Services Division (JBCSSD), referrals for the MST program can come from Juvenile Probation Officers or the Department of Children and Families (DCF), as well as from community providers (e.g., Wellness Centers) and self-referrals.

Locations where MST is available


For more information, contact
Alexandra Favale, LMSW, Program Director

Teen Outreach Program (TOP)

CJR’s TOP is funded by the Department of Social Services (DSS), and is provided for Waterbury and East Hartford students, aged 12 to 17 years, with a capacity of 50 students at any given time. TOP consists of three interrelated components: supervised community service, group discussions, and activities related to key adolescent social and developmental tasks.

In each program, individuals work in small groups with a facilitator. During these sessions, discussions center on values, growth and development, relationships, managing family stress, and issues relating to the social and emotional transition from adolescence to adulthood.

Participants learn to develop communication and decision-making skills and also participate in service projects that combine education and community service, which are then implemented within their home environments.

Referrals to TOP come from select schools within the communities in locations where TOP is available.

Languages Spoken

CJR delivers family therapy to Spanish-speaking caregivers on a regular basis. If a family speaks another language, translation services can be provided.

Locations where TOP is available






Akeem Carter, BA, Program Coordinator

Learn More

For any questions about CJR’s community-based programs, please contact: