The Vacca campus is a secure juvenile correctional facility serving adjudicated committed male youth, the majority of which are below the age of 16.  Services include educational, substance use education and treatment, medical and behavioral health services that include individual and group counseling and other basic services important to positive youth development. Each Youth is assigned a case manager who works with the youth to address factors related to their committing offense(s) and work toward developing skills needed in preparation for transitioning out of DYS custody.  The development of an Individualized Service Plan (ISP) is a key component of the case management work with youth. Developed using a multidisciplinary team approach, youth and families are important members of the team contributing to the ISP. Youth are provided opportunities for pro-social interaction that support youth meeting their educational, residential, and rehabilitative goals to successfully transition back to their families and communities.  The overarching goal is to meet the Department’s vision to change a youth’s trajectory.



Youth with substance use needs receive substance use treatment provided by the University of Alabama (UAB) who also provide substance use education to youth placed at Vacca. Program components include assessment and group therapy. Individual and family counseling are available as part of the program.


The Short-term alternative reach and redirect (STARR) program serves youth considered to be low to moderate risk need youth who need an intense level of services over a short-term period of time. Program services are designed to promote positive youth development, build social and emotional regulation skills, increase positive decision-making and challenge faulty thinking through a diverse set of interventions.

General Population Program (GAP)

The youth in the general population are generally medium to high risk youth with committing offenses related to person, property, public order, or violation of probation/aftercare. Individual and group counseling is offered to youth and includes topics ranging from social skills, grief counseling and anger management, to release and aftercare preparations. The programs and services offered by Vacca Campus are designed to provide an opportunity for youth to return to their communities and function as lawful and productive citizens.  Substance Use services/treatment is also available to GAP youth.



Vacca Campus offers motivational speakers throughout the year to motivate and encourage youth to set goals for themselves and strive to achieve those goals. Spiritual needs are met by a dedicated faith based volunteers from the community. Parents of youth are offered many opportunities to visit their youth and engage in activities to strengthen family relationships.

WhyTry/Botvin Program

The WhyTry/Botvin Program is a contracted service emphasizing a variety of life skills including, but not limited to, Goal Setting, Effective Communication, Managing Stress, Decision-Making and Managing Stress, Anger, and other Emotions. Youth participate in an 8-week didactic program that culminates in a graduation/completion day in which participants receive a certificate recognizing successful completion.

A. G. Gaston Boys and Girls Club

Boys and Girls Clubs of America have a long-standing history of providing curriculum and extracurricular recreational activities. The A. G. Gaston Boys and Girls Club of Birmingham partners with DYS to provide curricula that teaches pro-social behavior, educational and career development, and positive engagement through groups and structured recreational play. Known to provide a safe haven for youth, the Vacca Boys and Girls Club is the second site to operate in such a unique setting.

Alabama Blues Project

The Alabama Blues Project (ABP) is a nonprofit organization that specializes in providing Blues music lessons for children ages 6-18 in the areas of vocals, harmonica, guitar and drums. Students are taught by the best Blues musicians in the state and learn about the history of the Blues as well as how to perform the blues. The Alabama Blues Project programs pass on Alabama’s rich Blues culture to the next generation while teaching self-esteem, discipline, cross-cultural understanding, interaction, and teamwork. Vacca Campus served as one of the program’s latest sites.

Educational Services

Youth attend the McNeel School, which is located on-site and are provided the opportunity to receive educational services year round.  Youth attending McNeel School complete assigned coursework aligned with the Alabama State Courses of Study in the various curriculum areas and receive Carnegie unit credits towards their high school diplomas.  The school day is divided into seven class periods. Youth are generally assigned to take the four core academic subject areas of English, mathematics, social studies, and science as well as physical education and two electives. Academic instruction is individualized to meet the specific needs of each youth. An individual program is developed for each youth based on the previous school records; inform diagnostic techniques, and TABE results. The curriculum is both remedial and developmental depending on the needs of the individual youth. Programs are developed to include one of the following: (a) Continued development of skills necessary to return to school on grade level, (b) Mastery of basic skills or (c) Preparation for the General Education Development (GED) test. The school has a fully staffed media center with materials and resources available for youth to research and check-out.

Vacca Campus Contact information

8950 Roebuck Blvd., Birmingham, AL 35206
1-(205) 838-4900

Monthly Visitation Days and Times

Family engagement is encouraged and welcome at the Vacca Campus.

Visits are scheduled through each youth’s assigned case manager.

Visitation is available the 1st Thursday of each month from 1p-4p
and the 3rd Saturday of each month from 1p-4p