What is the Juvenile Court Diversion Program

The Juvenile Diversion Program works with eligible youth to pursue an alternative course to formal adjudication. While participating in Diversion the youth address their offense in a meaningful way, ultimately reducing the chance for recidivism. By seeking out community-based alternatives youth offenders can learn to avoid problem behavior and develop effective life strategies which improve community safety and  re-offense rates.
Criminal activity is often indicator of much larger issues the youth may be experiencing. As part of the Program the Diversion Officer conducts an initial assessment and evaluation that looks not only the offense, but family relationships, home structure, academic performance, behavior, social activities, drug and alcohol use, suicidal ideation, physical or sexual abuse, neglect and general ability to complete the Program. Expectations and terms are then developed and put into a written contract with the youth.
A successful Diversion participant may complete community service, substance abuse counseling, maintain steady grades and complete any additional projects deemed beneficial to meet the greater needs of the youth. Restorative Justice Conferencing may also be implemented, bringing together victim(s), community and offender and offering them the opportunity to make amends for harm caused to the community and collaborate on ways to deal with the aftermath of the offense.
Upon successful completion of the Diversion Program, the youth will not have a record of criminal conviction, an enormous benefit to minors who are concerned about applying for jobs or to colleges. Diversion cases vary in terms of length, but an average term is 5-6 months.
For more information visit- TYFS COURT DIVERSION PROGRAM or contact Dan Oas at doas@tyfs.org.

Teton Youth and Family Services Raises a Record $64,000 at 20th Annual Golf Benefit

92 Golfers enjoyed 18 sunny holes of golf at Jackson Hole Golf and Tennis, raising funds for youth and families in need of prevention, crisis and residential services.

JACKSON, WY. On June 22nd Teton Youth and Family Services hosted its 20th annual golf fundraiser at the Jackson Hole Golf and Tennis Course raising $64,000 to provide direct services for children and families in the community.

Fundraising for these programs supports prevention, crisis and residential services for hundreds of children and family members each year. Teton Youth and Family Services is the umbrella organization for the Hirschfield Center for Children, Family Advocate Project, Teen Power, JH Leadership Program, Van Vleck Group Home, Adams Canyon Crisis Shelter, Court Diversion Services, and Red Top Meadows Residential Treatment Center.

The Benefit was a huge success this year highlighted by a stunning golf course, perfect weather, and a longstanding group of incredibly supportive sponsors and players. “It is wonderful to have such strong community support as shown by the sponsors and players. The increase in participation and funding demonstrates the importance of our services for children and families.” remarks Bruce Burkland, Executive Director of Teton Youth and Family Services.

Players were able to enjoy some friendly competition and the overall winning teams included a Men’s Team of Chet Phillips, Robert Gill, Scooter Gill, and Patrick Gill, a Mixed Team of Paul & Shirley Piper, Bob Benz, and Karen Chatham, and a Men’s Senior Team of Roger Kintzel, Jerry Carlson, Jack Howe, and John Hechinger. Contest winners included longest drive winners Chris Tarpey and Margaret Brady and closest to the pin winners Patrick Gill and Shirley Piper. The “Hole in One” Contest, honoring the memory of the late Karen Oatey, had a desirable Subaru Outback donated by Teton Motors, although many were close, a hole in one did not happen this year.

The fun, friendly and successful event was a great way to kick off the summer season and remember the importance of providing for the essential needs of children and families in the community.

Contact: Sarah Cavallaro, 307-413-2767, scavallaro@tyfs.org


Teton Youth and Family Services’ mission is to help children and families find their way to fulfilling and constructive lives. The organization has been providing services to the Jackson Hole area for 40 years.



To see more pictures and what a great time was had please click HERE

Dellenback Foundation Pilot Program

In late February, Teton Youth and Family Services was privileged to receive a grant in honor of  Robert Dellenback from the Geraldine W. and Robert J. Dellenback Foundation. The grant will be used to establish and implement the Robert J. Dellenback Scholarship Program. The scholarship will make it possible for young men struggling with behavioral, emotional and mental health issues to access services at Red Top Meadows (RTM) so that they may live healthy and constructive lives. The generosity of the Dellenbacks will allow us to develop an option for youth in need of residential care at Red Top but who may not be court  ordered to the program.

Since 2011, the Bob and Dine have supported more than 30 scholarships for the Red Top Summer Wilderness Experience and attended each  summer wilderness ceremony. They have heard and seen firsthand the impact the wilderness program has on re-directing and improving the children’s’ lives. And the couple loved hearing from and meeting the boys and staff, taking great pleasure in making the opportunity possible for students that would otherwise not receive help. In the course of attending the ceremonies, and talking with the staff and students, they developed a deeper understanding of the boys in our residential treatment program. They learned that when a youth demonstrates internal struggles, by acting out in school, becoming depressed, being suicidal or physically aggressive, or is in an abusive or neglectful home environment, the Department of Family Services will intervene with the judicial system and may place the child at the Van Vleck Group Home or Red Top Meadows Residential Treatment Center.

The Dellenbacks also learned that State financial concerns have begun to limit access for youth receiving the important  services they need, and they wanted to help make it possible for more young men to have access to our services, including our wilderness experiences. I talked with Bob about the need for youth to access care in November 2016 and he was immediately  interested in helping meet the need. Tragically he was never able to see the  scholarships reach the students they will benefit, as he suddenly passed away in December. Knowing how much this meant to Bob, Dine has elected to carry out Bob’s  commitment and we are honored to be able to  provide treatment for  young men in Bob’s memory.

The Geraldine W. and Robert J. Dellenback Foundation, Bob and Dine  specifically , will make it possible for as many as four young men who have learned to not trust  anyone and to constantly be on guard, to gain new perspectives on people, the world  and their future which will improve the rest of their lives. 

That would make Bob very happy !




Red Top Meadows School Spring 2017 Newsletter

Personal Finance (Modern World and You) Students learned how to be responsible shoppers in order to set themselves up for successful financial futures.

Math Geometry students used proofs to understand geometric theorems. The work was challenging but they overcame the challenges through independent practice, partner practice, and consistent feedback. They proved their skills and knowledge by scoring highly on a final exam. Algebra students learned how to read and draw graphs. They wrote stories based on graphs. The class is now moving into using the distributive property and writing equations. Pre-Algebra students translated written phrases into mathematical expressions. They used the distributive property and solved for variables in one and two step equations.

Language Arts In Language Arts class, students explored the use of poetry as a mode of expression. They found literary devices in songs and poems, read and analyzed famous poetry, and became proficient at writing multiple types of poems.

Reading Students read the novel Wonder by R. J. Palacio and started reading Auggie and Me by the same author. Following each reading session, students spent time responding to writing prompts to analyze and make connections with the text.

Science Biology students demonstrated their knowledge of meiosis by showing the stages as well as inputs and outputs using string, beads, and pipe cleaners. Next, students compared and contrasted the processes of mitosis and meiosis. They then learned the skills and vocabulary necessary to model the processes of transcription, translation, and mutations with K’Nex building toys. They demonstrated their understanding by acing a test that required them to model the processes with Twizzlers, Mike n’ Ikes, toothpicks, and Dots. Physical Science students triangulated the epicenters of earthquakes, determined their magnitude, built a seismograph to develop a scale for mock earthquakes, and used data to determine the age of rocks through radiometric dating.

Social Studies World History students researched prominent Roman figures and conducted oral presentations on their findings. The class also did an in-depth study of the Roman empire and correlated its downfall to current American political, economic, and social realities. U.S. History students researched individual mountain men involved in the western exploration of America and analyzed the role of the United States in the exploitation of lands and people spawned by the concept of Manifest Destiny

Life Literacy/Issues in Diversity Students read the graphic novel American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang and practiced finding evidence to support arguments about the text. All students participated in two Socratic Seminars, completely run by students, in which they posed questions, directed the discussion, and built on their understanding of themes within the book, their lives, and the world. For their final project, students prepared responses to discussion questions and presented their thinking in oral presentation. The class also viewed the film The Mask You Live In, which explores issues related to male stereotypes.

VISION: All students will acquire the academic, social, and behavioral skills necessary for success in school and in life.

MISSION: To increase students’ confidence as learners by providing multiple opportunities for academic, social, and behavioral success; to cultivate students’ capacity to generalize the process of learning in the classroom to learning in life; and to empower students’ ability to make and sustain positive change.


Dick Lundeen has retired after 35 years of working as a Therapist for Red Top Meadows. Over the course of 35 years Dick counseled well over two hundred and fifty young men and boys. Dick had a unique ability to connect with even the most challenging of young men.  Dick was passionate about serving our population,     Wyoming kids who need some guidance toward living a healthier life, and being safe, contributing members of society. During his years at RTM, Dick remained very strong in his conviction of the power and effectiveness of the Red Top approach.  This approach entails caring and trusting relationships, physical activity, individual and family therapy, gaining knowledge, and wilderness experience. Dick also served as a mentor and teacher to several decades of Red Top staff.  He was always willing to take the time to talk with young staff about how to work with kids, and how to take care of themselves while doing this challenging work.  In the course of this mentorship Dick formed many lifelong friendships and had a profound effect on the lives of many people.  Dick has given so much of his energy, spirit, and wisdom to Red Top Meadows; the kids, the staff, the facility have all benefited enormously by having Dick as a member of the community.  It has been less than two months since he retired, and his presence is missed daily.  We will continue on at Red Top, helping kids to become healthier, and we will carry on the traditions and work that Dick leaves behind after his many years of service.



Working To Prevent Child Abuse

Child abuse in the United States is a significant problem.  In 2007, approximately 5.8 million children were  involved in an estimated 3.2 million child abuse reports and allegations.  Almost five children die every day as a result of abuse; 3 out of 4 are 4 years old or younger.  It is estimated that 1 out of 5 girls and 1 out of 7 boys will be sexually abused by the time they reach their 18th birthday.  90% report being sexually abused by  someone that they know and 68% report being abused by a family member.  Over 60% of patients in substance abuse treatment centers report being sexually victimized as children.  Child abuse occurs at every socioeconomic level, across ethnic and cultural lines, within all religions and at all levels of education.  The  estimated annual cost for child abuse and neglect in the United States for year 2007 was $104 billion.  All statistics from http://www.childhelp.org/pages/statistics/. 

In Wyoming, by statute, all counties are required to have a Child Protection Team (CPT) that serves the purpose of tracking and monitoring cases where abuse has taken place.  In Teton County, our CPT meets weekly with many collaborating agencies including the School District, County Attorney’s Office, Jackson Hole Community Counseling Center, Teton County Victim Services, Department of Family Services and the Hirschfield Center.  As a team, we discuss cases and try to ensure that child victims are receiving the most appropriate services, however our vision is much larger.

Through the Hirschfield Center we facilitate mandatory reporting and child abuse trainings to Teton County schools, day care facilities, Teton County Parks and Recreation as well as church groups.  Through this approach of educating professionals in the community that spend significant amounts of time with children, we hope to identify kids where ‘something just doesn’t seem quite right.’  Sometimes these children have experienced abuse or perhaps there is a budding mental health issue, but the goal remains the same: provide early intervention.

Through the Hirschfield Center’s Family Advocate Project, we will complete a comprehensive family assessment, write a report and make recommendations for the family.  These families come to the Hirschfield Center through a number of different channels including Department of Family Services, the Counseling Center, the Court System, School District or self referral.  We will work with a family on a number of different issues including parenting education, appropriate consequences and structure for their household, and counseling and referrals to appropriate community agencies.  Our advocates will often spend over 2 hours per week with a Hirschfield Center client in order to assist in helping the family function at a higher level.


Who Goes To The Crisis Shelter?

Red Top Meadows Teams up with Department of Vocational Rehabilitation

Armed with freshly printed resumes, prepared for potential interview questions, and excited to ask employers questions of their own, the students of Red Top Meadows recently took part in mock interviews with real employers from local businesses. Avery Bedford, a teacher from the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation, along with Jamie Lasden, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, worked with the teaching staff at Red Top Meadows to organize a career exploration course. The resulting course was an engaging, relevant, and comprehensive tour of finding, obtaining, and continuing employment. The course started in November and culminated with the mock interviews the last week of January. Students spent time deciding what careers and potential after school jobs would be right for them. They filled out job applications, developed resumes, found appropriate jobs, discovered who to contact for employment, and learned how to present well to employers. Prior to the mock interviews, the students took a field trip to meet with local employers and discover some potential jobs within the valley. Additionally, Avery worked individually with our high school aged students to identify goals and resources for the future. Since beginning to work with Avery, one of our students has secured a consistent volunteer position with the Animal Adoption Center. That volunteer work is providing priceless on-the-job experience. While Avery’s work with the school has wrapped up for now, she continues to work with individual high school students and fosters career and employment awareness as well as future planning.

Challenge Grant Met!!!

Teton Youth and Family Services has the good fortune of having a large number of great friends and supporters through both good and difficult times. However, there are a few friends of the agency that really stand out. This past summer two of them (two couples) generously agreed to fund a 2 for 1 challenge grant for $100,000. The plan was for every $2 we brought in to be matched by $1, with the end result being a total income of $300,000. We decided to increase the challenge by only counting new or increased donations. Many of you have received letters, requests and invitations from us and have responded generously. We are excited to let you know, as of February 15th we have met the challenge! To receive that level of support validates the importance of our work and your commitment to children and families.

Those dollars have and will be used to fill the funding gap from reduced income from the State to maintain staff, facilities, and equipment so we can continue the valuable programs that serve hundreds of children each year. Programs that help children and families avoid crisis and others to help them out of crisis. I hope you will take a little time to read about some of those programs in the following articles.

THANK YOU to all of our generous donors throughout this year and especially to our Challenge Grant underwriters!

Challenge Grant Offers Opportunity for Kids!

We are nearing the completion of a Challenge from two families to raise $200k– with a match of $100k! We have $55k left to go and we need your help! Each new or expanded gift is eligible for a 50% match. Please consider TYFS in your year-end giving and choose an item to support from our CARE MENU.