Select a language:

Youth Guidance Center

Youth Guidance Center Exterior

Youth Guidance Center

3030 N. Hesperian Way
Santa Ana, CA 92706
(714) 836-2700
View Map

Youth Guidance Center (YGC) is a 5-unit, 125-bed facility offering substance abuse treatment and transitional services for male and female youth ranging from 12 through 25 years of age. Programs include Sobriety Through Education and Prevention (STEP) for female youth and Substance Abuse Education and Recognition Treatment (ASERT) for males.

YGC’s programs treat youth with substance abuse problems and focus on the wide range of needs of juvenile offenders. The program goals include providing cognitive-behavioral interventions to encourage pro-social thinking and help youth develop emotionally, behaviorally, vocationally. Special emphasis is made on preparing youth to transition successfully into the community.

Each program establishes individualized treatment plans geared towards a youth’s specific needs. Treatment teams include the assigned facility case manager, a deputy probation officer, mental health worker, an instructor or educational specialist, and other youth advocates. The team meets with the youth to establish objectives and goals and monitor progress throughout their custodial stay.

All youth are required to participate in an academic program at Rio Contiguo High School. The scope and level of educational services will vary with the youth’s age, skills level and school credits. Qualified youth may attend online and off-grounds college courses, and vocational training.

Work experience is an integral part of life at YGC. Both male and female youth engage in the culinary arts program, auto detailing, facility laundry, basic housekeeping, building maintenance, carpentry, horticulture, and landscaping. The youth gain work experience on-site which can be a catalyst for job opportunities once they are released from custody.

Youth Guidance Center



The A.S.E.R.T. program (an acronym for Addiction, Substance Abuse, Education and Recognition Treatment) provides education and intervention services for minors committed to juvenile institutions for 6 months to one year. Case plans are individualized to address the varying needs of each participant. Minors take part in activities designed for emotional, behavioral, educational and vocational development through the collaborative efforts of Deputy Juvenile Correctional Officers, Clinical Psychologists, a substance abuse counselor, the Orange County Department of Education, the Health Care Agency and the North Orange County Regional Occupational Program. Unlike the Breakthrough program, participation is not voluntary.


S.T.E.P. (an acronym for Sobriety Through Education and Prevention) is a comprehensive treatment program designed with the specific needs for the female population in mind. Drug education along with classes in Anger Management, Parenting, and Life Skills/Self Concepts help form a base for the program. Sexual Assault/Victimization groups, Drug Relapse groups, Narcotic Anonymous/Alcoholics Anonymous along with a dedicated Psychologist (who provides individual as well as family therapy) and a dedicated Drug Counselor add to the core of the program. Guest Speakers are brought in to augment the various segments and the use of VIP’s and Mentors are also used as an augmentative tool. An integral part of the program is “Baby Think it Over”. A “real baby” simulator is used by the participants for a two-week period at which time they have to address their peers on what it was like to be a full time parent to a newborn. Treating the whole girl and addressing the issues, not the symptom, is the goal of the program.