3. Overview of the Title V Community Prevention Grants Program|
The Community Prevention Grants Program provides communities with the following critical ingredients for successful delinquency prevention:
3.1 Key Principles of the Community Prevention Grants Program
A major impetus behind the development of the Title V Community Prevention Grants Program was the National Association of Counties' (NACO) observation that local jurisdictions had been paying the expensive "back-end" costs of the juvenile justice system -- enforcement and treatment -- and, in the process, depleting the funds that could otherwise be used to support prevention activities. Without an infusion of money from alternate sources (e.g., State and local governments) that could be applied to the "front end" of the system, cities and counties became entangled in a cycle whereby cost effective opportunities to prevent crime and avoid justice system involvement were lost. In 1992, NACO testimony before the Subcommittee on Juvenile Justice of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary recommended helping communities to develop a more balanced approach to juvenile crime that could be tailored to their specific local needs.
In the 1992 reauthorization of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (JJDP) Act of 1974, Congress established Title V -- Incentive Grants for Local Delinquency Prevention Programs. Title V created a Federal grants program to fund collaborative, community-based delinquency prevention efforts along the lines of what had been recommended by NACO. The program integrated the following six underlying principles:
3.2 The Grant Award Process
The Community Prevention Grants Program structure is designed to provide communities with a guiding framework for building healthy communities in an objective, systematic, and comprehensive manner. The program grant award process -- as set forth in the final Program Guideline in the Federal Register, August 1, 1994 (Volume 59, Number 146) -- authorizes the State to award grant funds to units of general local government and allows for broad local discretion in applying funds toward community- based delinquency prevention activities tailored to the needs of the specific locality. In conjunction with the grant award process, OJJDP has awarded a contract to provide national training and technical assistance to help communities that wish to build their capacity in delinquency prevention planning and implementation. The program's grant award process and capacity-building activities are illustrated in Exhibit 1.
Program funds are distributed to local communities in a two-step process. In the first funding step, OJJDP awards grants to States. Each State, as well as the District of Columbia and U.S. Territories (subsequently, "the States"), is eligible to apply for program funds provided that it has a State agency designated by the chief executive under Section 299(c) of the JJDP Act and a State Advisory Group (SAG). As provided by Section 223(a)(3) of the Act, the SAG is an advisory board appointed by the Governor with 15 to 33 members who have training, experience, or special knowledge concerning the prevention and treatment of juvenile delinquency or the administration of juvenile justice. Statutory responsibilities of the SAG include participating in the preparation and administration of the State's juvenile justice plan, advising the Governor and legislators on responding to juvenile justice needs, and reviewing grant applications related to juvenile justice and delinquency prevention. Program grant amounts are based on a formula determined by the State's population of youth who are subject to original juvenile court delinquency jurisdiction under State law, with a minimum State award level of $100,000 and a maximum of $2,354,000. (Territories are each eligible for $33,0000, with the exception of Puerto Rico, which receives an amount based on juvenile population.)
In the second funding stage, the State agency, with concurrence of the SAG, awards subgrants to units of general local government through a competitive process. Units of general local government are defined as any city, county, town, borough, parish, village, or other general purpose political subdivision of a State, and any Indian tribe that performs law enforcement functions. In order to be eligible to apply for a subgrant from the State, a unit of general local government must first:
Exhibit 2 presents the requirements for local applicants' comprehensive delinquency prevention plans. The grant application process calls for broad-based community involvement and specifically requires evidence of key leaders' support and designation of a multidisciplinary Prevention Policy Board to mobilize and oversee the prevention effort. The grant application process also requires data collection and thorough assessments of community readiness, risks, and resources before delinquency prevention strategies are developed and funded. These assessments form the basis for an empirically-based plan to implement and/or expand community-based programs and services for children and families.
As a consequence of the locally-driven assessment and planning processes, the type, scope, and combination of programs and services implemented vary from community to community. While one community may respond to its risk profile and resource gaps by implementing a family support program, another may identify the need to implement after-school recreation services and youth leadership development activities; yet another may focus on a widespread media campaign to mobilize the community to reduce the risks youth face. Each community creates, in essence, a unique delinquency prevention initiative tailored to the specific conditions, risk profiles, and existing resources in that community.
The Title V Program model emphasizes that the most effective response to crime and delinquency problems is not always new services. Rather, the solution may lie in the integration and coordination of existing services and/or systems change efforts. This might include, for example, working with local bars and liquor stores to better regulate the sale of alcohol to minors and banning alcohol at community or sports events where youth are present.
3.3 Community Capacity Building: Training, Technical Assistance, and Evaluation Support
To support communities in conducting quality risk and resource assessments and developing sound delinquency prevention plans, OJJDP has, since the project's inception, offered training and technical assistance to States and communities across the country.1 State Juvenile Justice Specialists, who are responsible for administering juvenile justice grants at the State level, coordinate the provision of training and technical assistance to interested communities in their States. The training and technical assistance are designed to enhance participating communities' abilities to plan, develop, and implement risk- and protection-focused delinquency prevention strategies.
A core component of the training and technical assistance that is provided to States is Communities That Care (CTC). Training on the CTC prevention model is delivered in two phases. The first phase -- The Key Leader Orientation (KLO) -- consists of a 1-day workshop that orients key community leaders and high-level executives to the principles of risk- and protection-focused delinquency prevention. The second phase of training -- The Risk and Resource Assessment (RRA) -- is a 3-day "hands-on" workshop for members of the community's Prevention Policy Board on how to conduct community risk and resource assessments, including data collection and analysis. In addition, some States have accessed, through a variety of funding sources, a third segment of CTC training entitled Promising Approaches. This segment presents communities with a variety of programs and strategies that have shown positive outcomes in addressing the various risk factors that contribute to juvenile crime and delinquency.
OJJDP selected the risk- and protection-focused approach used in the CTC strategy as its delinquency prevention training model because of its strong empirical basis and systematic approach to community-based, collaborative assessment, and planning. Based on 30 years of research on factors associated with adolescent problem behaviors, this risk- and protection-focused approach incorporates only those risk factors that have been demonstrated to predict the development of a problem behavior and stresses the need for programs that enhance protective factors to buffer high-risk juveniles from the impact of risk factors. CTC provides an overall conceptual framework that facilitates community-wide involvement in assessing risk and protective factors and planning delinquency prevention programs that respond to these locally identified factors. Although communities are not required to apply the CTC strategy, it is well-suited to support communities in their implementation of the Community Prevention Grants Program.
OJJDP also makes other technical assistance available to States and communities on an as-needed basis. Assistance is available to strengthen the conceptual understanding of the risk-focused prevention model that was presented in the training sessions, provide information related to other risk- and protection/resiliency-focused prevention models, and to help with technical aspects of planning or implementing delinquency prevention strategies.
In addition to supporting States and communities in planning and implementing their delinquency prevention strategies, OJJDP has provided a valuable source of evaluation assistance with its Title V Community Self-Evaluation Workbook. Published in 1995, the Workbook consists of easy-to-complete forms and step-by-step instructions that guide communities through evaluation activities in three key areas:
3.4 National Evaluation of the Community Prevention Grants Program Implementation and Outcomes
OJJDP is currently conducting a long-term, national-level outcome and impact evaluation of the Community Prevention Grants Program. The evaluation design is based on input from leading national experts on designing and conducting evaluations of comprehensive program initiatives and draws extensively on existing data sources and data collection instruments. The evaluation activities include technical assistance to build State and local capacity for ongoing evaluation of local Title V initiatives.
The national evaluation is intended to examine the viability and effectiveness of the Title V delinquency prevention model. Very broadly, the national evaluation will address the following research questions:
The evaluation also is testing the key theories, or assumptions, on which the Title V program model is based. As shown in Exhibit 4, the model assumes that Federal assistance will enhance communities' ability to effectively implement the program model, which will lead to more effective prevention planning processes, which, in turn, will lead to the implementation of promising prevention programs and approaches. These programs and approaches are expected to result in changes in community systems, values, or norms and individual knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors, which will lead to reduced risk and enhanced protective factors, and, thus, ultimately will reduce juvenile delinquency and other adolescent problem behaviors.
The evaluation design consists of three interrelated levels:
The evaluation was designed to be responsive to both methodological and resource requirements. The six State sample -- Michigan, Pennsylvania, Nebraska, Vermont, Virginia, and Hawaii -- moderates the cost of the evaluation, maintains adequate statistical power, offers geographic and demographic diversity, and includes levels of variation in implementation and outcome factors sufficient to fully investigate the research questions. Despite their differences in approach and composition, the States share a strong commitment to the Community Prevention Grants Program conceptual model and a willingness to participate in the evaluation data collection activities.
An initial round of site visits has been conducted in all six of the study States, with follow-up evaluation assistance and support also provided to a number of local communities. In general, these visits have been used to foster a shared understanding of the evaluation goals and objectives, gain a detailed understanding of the "State context" (e.g., State prevention policy and support for prevention programs through funding, technical assistance, and training), conduct interviews with key State and local stakeholders, and build community evaluation capacity through technical assistance and training workshops. While this multi-year evaluation is still in the early implementation phase, the foundation has been laid for meaningful, ongoing data collection activities with the participating communities. Some of the findings from this early, intensive work with the study States and communities are presented in Chapter III of this report.
The national evaluation is intended to result in: