Media reports of gang violence make headlines in the papers. But after
the arrests are made, what happens to adolescent gang members? Some end up at the
Mid-Valley Youth Center in Los Angeles County, a residential and educational program
enrolling 84 residents aged 11-18.86
Opened in 1988 under contract with the Los Angeles County Departments of Probation and
Childrens Services, Mid-Valley has developed expertise in rehabilitating troubled
youth. The Advocate School on Mid-Valleys grounds provides full-time individualized
instruction with student-to-staff ratios of three-to-one, including counselors.
Advocate School staff are doubly challenged. Not only do their students bring with them
a history of delinquency, the students have also been diagnosed as being severely
emotionally disturbed. All students at the Advocate School are eligible for special
education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The rate per-pupil
for the Advocate Schools day program is approximately $90 per day.
The typical student coming to the Advocate Schools is two to three grade levels behind
in academics and remains at the school for 9 to 18 months. Students attend both the school
and the residential-treatment program. Over half the students have been referred to the
Advocate School and the Mid-Valley Youth Center by the state Department of Probations.
Says school director Kathryn Delzell, "almost all students at the Advocate School had
previously been gang members or functioned at the periphery of gang culture."87