The EXCEL program is designed to improve the quality of life for female offenders through a short-term comprehensive wellness approach that includes counseling, education, life skills development and positive role modeling for participants. Wellness includes the following six areas:
- Intellectual - Financial, medication and consumer
- Social - Relationships, sexuality, and communication
- Spiritual - Meaning and purpose
- Occupational - Career discovery
- Emotional - Stress and depression
- Physical - Fitness and nutrition
The EXCEL program is located within the boundaries of Custer State Park and the Black Hills National Forest in Southwestern South Dakota. The city of Custer is approximately 13 miles from the program and is a major tourism location during the summer months. It is common to see deer, bighorn sheep, mountain goats and bison while visiting the EXCEL campus.
The living area is designed in a dormitory style housing 24 girls between the ages of 14 and 17 (they may turn 18 while in placement). The girls each have their own bunk, dresser and storage area as well as a changing area with closets for each girl. Within the same building are administrative offices for staff, counseling rooms, a cafeteria and rooms to accommodate group interaction or meetings. A short walk allows the girls to attend school and utilize the gymnasium that are located on campus as well.
The girls that are served by EXCEL have all been placed in the custody of the DOC by the court system for a variety of reasons. Both Delinquent Children and Children in Need of Supervision may be placed at EXCEL at the direction of the Director of Placement. The girls are primarily non-violent offenders.
EXCEL is licensed as a Group Care facility in accordance with all regulations established by the State of South Dakota, the Department of Social Services and Federal regulations. An example of these regulations is that the staff to student ratio must be 1 staff to 8 students during waking hours. The designation allows the DOC to utilize multiple treatment strategies to effectively serve the girls in the program as well as provides additional measures for quality control and evaluation.
EXCEL serves girls that have in many cases violated their conditions of probation, have truancy or behavioral issues in school and may have difficulty in family relations. A typical stay at EXCEL will be four months and involves the girls participating in counseling, life-skills development, educational classes, physical activity, learning structure and self-discipline.
Each girl is placed on an Individual Treatment Plan within 30 days of entering the program. The student, parents, guardians, Juvenile Corrections Agent and Youth Counselor are all involved in identifying strengths and needs of each student. Each plan consists of goals and objectives for the student to address during their placement. Specific time frames are established to allow students to measure their progress against the established plan.
Students are provided with clothing and essentials during their stay at EXCEL This prevents students from potentially identifying with any gang or social status groups based on the type of clothing they may wear. Students are encouraged to maintain contact with their family, if appropriate, during their stay. Each student is provided one phone call per week to family members at no cost. Students may also have visitors on a weekly basis in accordance with the DOC visitation policy. The amount of personal property a student may possess during the program is limited due to space availability. Parents should contact program staff prior to sending any items through the mail or transporting them during a visit to ensure it is an allowable item. Students may have written communication with family members as often as desired. The DOC will provide each student with 3 stamps and envelopes each week. The EXCEL program also incorporates family weekends during the student stay in the program. These weekends are designed to provide counseling and reunification services to the student and family members.
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|Address:|| 25292 Badger Clark Road
Custer, SD 57730