Program Report-Juvenile Delinquency

Question

Write a report about Juvenile Delinquency program that addresses the following:
The type of family system in crisis the program was designed to help
The mission of the program
How the program was designed
How services are delivered
Intervention strategies used in this program
How the program is evaluated
Research in regards to program effectiveness or ineffectiveness.

Sample paper

Program Report-Juvenile Delinquency

Juvenile delinquency is an issue that is affecting millions of families in the United States. Every rear, there are thousands of juveniles who enter the criminal justice system due to a wide range of delinquency cases. The criminal justice system has come up with juvenile prevention programs to assist the juveniles change their behavior and adopt a positive outlook towards life. There are several programs ranging from state detention centers to private counseling facilities. Juveniles who start engaging in criminal activities early in childhood have higher chances of becoming serious offenders than those who start offending as adolescents. Juveniles who engage in activities that can be considered criminal even when done by adults are known as delinquents. Such crimes include drug offences, crimes against property or an individual. Prevention programs are aimed at addressing the cases of juveniles who are exposed to the risk of delinquency and those who have already committed delinquent crimes where the juvenile justice system is involved.

The type of family system in crisis the program was designed to help

There is a wide range of delinquent prevention programs implemented for different reasons. The main reasons for having these programs are to prevent juveniles from becoming delinquents or to stop them from participating in delinquent activities.  Delinquencies particularly expose juveniles to substance abuse and addiction, adult crimes, early pregnancy, incarceration and put them at high risks of dropping out of school. In the 1990s some juvenile programs such as Boot Camps, DAPE, Scared Straight or prosecuting juveniles in adult courts were implemented but they were not effective. The most effective programs are the Southwest Key programs that advocate the fact that children should be helped when they are with their families but not when locked up in prisons or jails.  Southwest Key is a Hispanic nonprofit organization that seeks to help children improve their lives. The services of the organization are available in six states across the United States. The organization uses the performance management approach to enhance the effectiveness of the program and to improve their services (Southwest Key Programs, 2017).

Southwest Key has been offering shelter, quality education and alternatives to incarceration for many youths for 29 years. In addition, the organization empowers the families of these youths to become economically independent. The organization partners with government agencies to offer different types of services throughout the country. These are juvenile justice programs, schools, workforce services and shelter services for young immigrants. The programs have been so instrumental in helping the youths alter the courses of their lives and shape a better future.

Southwest Key helps young male and female populations who have been linked to the juvenile justice system by offering structured and rehabilitative programs that enable them become accountable. In addition, the programs also motivate them to shun delinquent behavior while allowing them to live in their homes. Rehabilitating a child and taking them back to the same broken system can be ineffective. Thus, Southwest Key caseworkers partner with family members of these youths to make sure that problems in every part of their lives are addressed effectively. One way of doing this is helping their parents better their chances of getting employment, helping them find a reliable daycare for any siblings or helping then reenter the community successively after being in the justice system institution. It is always important to make sure that the safety of the community is not compromised. Southwest Key has put programs in place to monitor their clients to ensure that they are accountable for their actions.

Delinquent cases have been on the increase over the years. When the children and youth commit crime, they not only put the community members at danger but denies these youths a chance at a better life. This brings out the importance of addressing this issue as soon as it surfaces. The justice system has a responsibility of making sure that the future of the youth is not lost by ensuring that their behavior is straightened on time. Statistics show that more than 600,000 American youths enter the juvenile detention centers each year. In addition, there are approximately 70,000 youths are placed in juvenile correctional facilities every day. These numbers are alarming since they indicate the number of youths who are separated from their families. This can be traumatizing more than it can be helpful which is why Southwest Key programs assist the youths while they are in their homes and communities. The youth in the juvenile justice system are three times more likely to have mental disorders than those in the general population. Studies indicate that between 65 to 70 percent of the youths who have been in the juvenile justice system has at least one diagnosable mental illness. In addition, 60 percent of them have substance abuse issues and 30 percent of them require immediate treatment due to the seriousness of their issues (National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice, 2017).

A big number of the youths are wrongfully and unnecessarily placed in the system for minor and non-violent offenses. In most cases, the reason behind these rising numbers is a misguided attempt to offer them treatment services that are not available in their communities. However, research by the United States Department of justice indicates that the treatment services offered in the juvenile system are inadequate and ineffective. This exposes the youths to more problems and distressful situations.  The incapability of the juvenile justice system to provide wholesome services to the youths has led to the rise nonprofit, nongovernmental organization that based in the communities to offer the best treatment interventions that to the youths and their families. One of these organizations is Southwest Key which is rated as the fifth best Hispanic nonprofit organization.

 The mission of the program

Located in Austin Texas, Southwest Key offers transformative education, decent shelter and makes sure that youths are not incarcerated but rather helped. The program offers help to the youth while they are still in their homes. For at least 29 years it has helped thousands of youths and their families by making sure that the issues in their lives are addressed wholly. The program is also focused on ending the problems that come with the incarceration of the youths. Wrongful or unnecessary incarceration opens a loophole for other serious issues. Addressing these issues enables them to continue with their education and adopt a positive attitude towards life.

How the program was designed and how the services are delivered

Southwest Key was founded in 1987 to help keep the young population out of institutions and give them the tools they need to succeed. The caseworkers are focused on making sure that the juveniles change their behavior. They pay attention on behaviors such as violations of curfews, absenteeism or runaways to make sure they do not become full blown and become breeding grounds for serious crimes.  The organization adopts a complete approach by incorporating, case managing and crisis intervention. This also includes involving the families of the juveniles so that they can learn how to keep them in check. For families with financial problems, they are given an opportunity to make sure that the juveniles live a stable life that is conducive for their journey.  The case managers respond to referrals in between 24 and 72 hours and they can be available 24/7 to respond to any issues that may arise. Conflict resolution and crisis intervention requires the team to be alert since every second in such a domain matters a lot. The services are also meant to ensure that the families of the juveniles have a reliable and genuine support system so that the youths can stay true to what they have acquired during the program even after leaving (Recinos, 2013).

Southwest Key also offers an evidence based program that is targeted towards the youths with serious behavioral issues, delinquent behavior or substance abuse. The case workers assigned to such cases are highly respectful of the family dynamics. They have weekly meetings held at the client’s household. They involve parents, siblings and the entire household to make sure that their ability to respond to and solve problems is strengthened.  The goal is to build a united front that can work together to address the problems that weigh on them. The program lasts for about 4 months and it is done in 15 sessions to completely divert the youth from the delinquent activities.

Intervention strategies used in this program

There are several intervention strategies applied during the program. The Functional Family Therapy (FFT) is a program targeting average and high risk youth who have issues such as criminal behavior and substance abuse issues.  Families meet weekly with certified case managers to address problems from the family level. This enables the case manager to understand the conditions of the family and determine the suitable crisis intervention method.

The Youth Mentoring targets juveniles on probation or those at high risk of being placed on probation. The goal of the program is to cultivate and maintain mentoring relationships that positively influence the juvenile. The juveniles are paired with mentors within their communities who take them through their behavior change journey for at least one year. The Specialized Treatment Services: Substance Abuse and Mental Health targets the juveniles with mental and substance abuse issues. These services are client centered, trauma informed and strength based.  Finally, the evidence based programs involve motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioral therapy.

How the program is evaluated and its effectiveness

The Southwest Key program is evaluated using the program evaluation model that has been applied in the Family Keys program. By using an internal performance evaluation structure, the organization has been able to save money and time that is channeled in other programs. This is particularly made possible by reorganizing and making sure that there is no need for an external evaluator. The program has effectively offered life changing services to juveniles for almost three decades. The main reason why the program is effective is the fact that the minors get all the help they need without going through the juvenile justice system. The ability to successfully address the problems of the juveniles and their families is what makes the program unique and effective.

In conclusion, it is obvious that the issues of juvenile delinquency need to be addressed. Juvenile justice services have been diversifying through training and other methods. Current programs should be reliable and ready to reform the juveniles.  Innovations should be put in place and programs that interact with juveniles and their families administered to make sure that delinquent cases will decrease.

References

National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice, (2017). Better Solutions for Youths with Mental Health Needs in the Juvenile Justice System. National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice. Retrieved 8 February 2017, from http://www.ncmhjj.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Whitepaper-Mental-Health-FINAL.pdf

Southwest Key Programs,. (2017). Southwest Key Programs: Community-Based, Youth Justice Programming. Southwest Key Programs. Retrieved 8 February 2017, from http://www.swkey.org/programs/youth_justice/

Recinos, M. (2013). A Case Study of Southwest Key. Social Solutions. Retrieved 8 February 2017, from http://www.socialsolutions.com/wp-content/uploads/pdf/Southwest-Key-US-CS.pdf

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