Target Area #1: Dauphin County

PhotoDauphin County, including the State capital, Harrisburg, was selected as the first target site because it showed the greatest difference between the proportion of minorities arrested (50 percent) and the proportion of minorities (22 percent) in the at-risk population (ages 10 to 17 years). The subcommittee convened local community-based organizations serving minorities along with Dauphin County Juvenile Probation, the Harrisburg Bureau of Police, the Harrisburg School District, and other community representatives to discuss the problem.

In 1991, PCCD provided subgrant funds to initiate five prevention and intervention programs in Harrisburg for a period of 30 months:

Bullet The Business Entrepreneur Club. This program helps young minority females learn work and life skills.
Bullet Targeted Outreach. This program helps identify and recruit minority youth within its service area to take advantage of the educational, physical, social, and vocational programs available through the Boys & Girls Club of Harrisburg.
Bullet Positive Choice. This program, previously known as Teens Together, provides minority juveniles with tutoring, homework assistance, and special classes with speakers who address topics of interest and also helps youth make positive choices for their future.
Bullet Project Connect. This program, now part of the Boys & Girls Club, prevents youth from dropping out of school by improving school attendance and academic achievement and addressing other social and familial needs.
Bullet Hispanic Center After-School Program. This program helps at-risk Hispanic students improve their school performance, reducing the rate of school failure and dropping out among Hispanic youth.

The community-based organizations of Dauphin County continued to meet monthly with the directors and staff of the funded programs. Through these repeated interactions, and as the group became aware of the advantages of working together, the Youth Enhancement Services (YES) coalition was formally established in 1993. PCCD, based on a recommendation of JAC, funded YES' executive director position. Despite a sometimes fluid membership, the coalition model has continued to encourage the networking of resources and support services and has successfully driven the local planning process. A subsequent evaluation showed that these community-based DMC programs achieved levels of service provision and funding enhancement that would not have been possible without the YES coalition. For example, after the PCCD seed money expired in March 1994, the programs collectively increased their funding level by 21/2 times the original funding by expanding their funding sources and contracting with county and State youth services agencies, such as Dauphin County Children and Youth Services (Clouser, 1994).

Moreover, the DMC community assessment evaluation information was utilized extensively for the development of Dauphin County's application for a grant under the JJDP Act's Title V Community Prevention Grants Program. Through the Title V Program, which assesses risks and resources in the community, school, family, and personal domains, Dauphin County developed a delinquency and violence prevention program based on the Communities That Care (CTC) process in the same neighborhoods as the minority programs, thus expanding and enhancing the prevention efforts in targeted areas with a high concentration of minorities. The Dauphin County CTC program includes economic empowerment, family support, community mobilization against violence and drugs, and youth advisory council components.

Disproportionate Minority Confinement: 1997 Update Juvenile Justice Bulletin   ·  September 1998