Direct Services - Advocacy
A direct service strategy aimed at reducing minority overrepresentation need not, and should not, be limited to the provision of supervision and substantive interventions to decrease delinquency and other problem behaviors. Indeed, minority youth and their families may benefit from assistance in successfully navigating the complex procedures, overwhelming multitude of social services agencies, and circuitous organizational tiers that often comprise a juvenile justice system response to a young offender (OJJDP, 2001:40). In general, advocacy connects youth and families with a variety of social networks and service providers to integrate services that multiple agencies provide, ensure continuity of care, and facilitate the development of a youth’s social skills (Sheldon, 1997). Advocacy is a “client-level strategy for promoting the coordination of human services, opportunities, or benefits” (Macallair, 1994:84) that helps youth and families move through this maze.
Advocacy services can take many forms. Advocates can assist youth and families in understanding the juvenile court process from arrest to disposition and the roles of the various system representatives. They also can help parents and other family members overcome distrust of and hostility toward the system. Advocates can assist youth and families in gaining improved access to counsel and in understanding their legal rights. They also can facilitate coordination within the justice system and/or between the justice system and other services.
Early Intervention ProgramsDiversion Programs Alternatives to Secure DetentionAlternatives to Secure Corrections
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