Skill Building Groups

Competency Development Groups

The Benton County Juvenile Department conducts educational skill-building groups to give youths in their charge tools to manage their lives more effectively.

Skill Building Groups

The Benton County Juvenile Department conducts skill building groups aimed at increasing practical life management skills. The groups are designed to teach an array of pro-social skills to adolescents who are deficient in such competencies. Groups are also an effective way to hold youths accountable for choices they make.

The Department has designed these groups to be educational in nature and not a form of therapy or clinical treatment. For example, youths may improve their communication or problem solving skills or learn how to write a resume. Youths are expected to identify thoughts and behaviors that are self-defeating and set goals for themselves with the help of the Juvenile Counselor and other group members.

Structure of the Groups

Juvenile Counselors are expected to lead groups as part of their job responsibilities. Normally, groups will be led by two Juvenile Counselors to insure both structure and continuity. Groups will last from 4 to 8 weeks or may be ongoing depending upon the number of juveniles enrolled, the ability and willingness of the participants to successfully complete the goals, and the nature of the group. Groups will meet weekly for 1 to 2 hours. Counselors have flexibility in setting up and conducting the groups.

Types of Groups

Groups offered by the Department are:

  • Job Skills
  • Girls Circle
  • Cognitive Behavioral Skills Training
  • Boys Council

Juvenile Counselors will assign youths to groups that are geared to meet their needs. This may be part of a Formal Accountability Agreement or probation conditions. Youth who fail to cooperate in the group may be considered in violation of their probation and returned to court for further sanctions. Successful completion will be determined by attendance, active involvement in group process, and mastery of pro-social skills.

As group leaders, Juvenile Counselors will present information, model skills, moderate discussions, support youths that need encouragement and reinforcement, control disruptive members, and facilitate the group process.


To insure an atmosphere where youths feel safe to discuss their issues openly, what occurs in the groups is confidential. Exceptions to this are when a Counselor learns that a youth is in danger through abuse: physical, sexual, or emotional; if a youth talks about or hints he is having thoughts of suicide or harming himself; or if a youth talks about planning to commit a law violation that puts himself or others at potential risk.

These issues are reported to the Counselor who referred the youth, a mental health professional, and if appropriate, to the State Office of Services to Children and Families in accordance with ORS419B.010.