4. Leveraging Resources and Systems|
In implementing cost-effective solutions to juvenile crime and delinquency problems, maximizing the impact of limited Federal funds is critical. Strategic short-term investments of relatively small amounts of funding can provide the financial base and incentives necessary for local jurisdictions to tap into other resource pools and create comprehensive delinquency prevention initiatives. The Title V grants serve as "seed money" to grow a diversified, long-term investment in a community's well-being and safety.
The Community Prevention Grants Program is structured to foster the leveraging of other prevention resources and systems in several ways. First, local grantees are required to provide a 50 percent match of the Federal grant with State or local funds or in-kind services. Second, grantees are required to develop a three-year, outcome-driven prevention plan that supports prevention needs and objectives with empirical data. These planning efforts lend validity to community requests for local funding and, further, enable communities to use more effectively the prevention funds they receive. Third, comprehensive community-based initiatives are launched by local key leaders (e.g., mayors and chiefs of police) who frequently are well positioned to secure public and private local financial backing. Finally, the Community Prevention Grants Program encourages the expansion of existing prevention coalitions and programs, thereby enhancing the effectiveness and scope of community systems.
Many communities have found the requirements of the Community Prevention Program to be daunting in relation to the small amount of grant money available; others have discovered that the "true impact of that small amount of money can be huge." The following sections address community experiences in accessing matching funds, coordinating with other prevention programs, and securing continuation funds after the Title V grant period has ended.
4.1 Accessing Matching Funds
Several State Juvenile Justice representatives -- including those from Illinois, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Nevada -- report that the 50-percent match requirement serves as a major obstacle to potential subgrantee applicants. In particular, small and rural communities are having difficulties locating matching funds. While it is difficult to assess how many potential applicants have not applied for Title V funds because of the match requirement, evidence suggests that the match has served as a deterrent to participation in the Community Prevention Grants Program.
Several States, such as South Carolina and Virginia, draw on Title II funds to support prevention activities in communities that are unable to provide the Title V match. While these grant applicants go through Title V training and conduct preapplication planning activities (e.g., the risk and resource assessment), as grant recipients under the less restrictive Title II regulations they are not held to all of the Title V requirements (e.g., the match).
Nevertheless, the 619 communities awarded Title V subgrants to date have secured the required match successfully. This amounts to more than $30,000,000 in State and local funds and represents a strong nationwide commitment to prevention efforts.
4.2 Coordinating with Other Prevention Programs and Initiatives
States and communities are confronted with a multitude of funding streams, both large and small, that address the needs of children and families. These programs have varying application, reporting, and program requirements which can overwhelm grantees as well as grant administrators. Many community members express frustration that the multi-agency collaborative process promoted at the local level is not always evident at the State and Federal levels.
Several States and communities are finding innovative ways to integrate various grant programs within the juvenile justice system and between juvenile justice and other sectors, particularly health and human services and education. Moreover, the Title V Community Prevention Grant Program frequently serves as a leverage point or "nucleus" for the other funding opportunities.
In some cases, the Community Prevention Grant Program complements and strengthens preexisting prevention programs. When the program was introduced in Georgia, for example, many communities already had engaged in comprehensive assessment and planning activities through the State's long-standing initiative to develop children's collaboratives. The Title V funds provided a means to implement specific portions of county plans for which State and local funding was not available. Similarly, in North Dakota, communities were able to use Title V funds to implement risk-focused plans that were previously developed without implementation funding under the Department of Health and Human Services' (DHHS) Family Preservation Program.
In other instances, the Community Prevention Grant Program provides the catalyst for the community mobilization and planning processes, which then are integrated into other ongoing grant making activities. Based on PPB prioritization of risk factors and assessment of available resources and resource gaps, communities better understand how to systematically mobilize available funding. Additionally, they begin to see synergies in bringing the various funding streams together in a comprehensive, streamlined manner. In Fremont County, Colorado, for example, the community's risk assessment is made available to any service provider who needs it to support their grant writing activities. The community board will provide a letter of support for other grant applications, but only if the grant addresses the community's identified priority risk factors.
Several State juvenile justice agencies are working to coordinate efforts across multiple juvenile justice programs and create consistent requirements through joint Request for Proposal (RFP) processes. Arizona and California have created a single application package and process for their Title V, Title II, and Challenge Programs. This year Iowa is testing a single application process that combines State juvenile justice funds, Title V, Title II, Juvenile Accountability Incentive Block Grants (JAIBG), and Drug Court funding streams. These States are so strongly committed to the Title V model that they are requiring other program grantees to follow similar processes of forming a multi-disciplinary board, conducting risk and resource assessments, developing 3-year plans, and measuring outcomes. The coordination of application processes will enable communities to develop a more integrated continuum of prevention and intervention activities, all directed toward the community's most pressing problems.
States also promote coordination and cost-savings through shared training opportunities. In Montana, Title V grantees attended Communities That Care Training sponsored on behalf of the DHHS' Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) grantees. Not only does shared training reduce costs, it also forces community members to think collectively about the interrelated problems of substance abuse and juvenile delinquency and develop comprehensive, interrelated solutions. Other States, such as Pennsylvania, have adopted a "train-the-trainers" strategy and are building a cadre of certified State trainers to deliver the conceptual framework training to more communities and more participants within the communities.
Finally, and perhaps most significantly, States are contributing large sums of non-Title V funds to increase the momentum of community-based, risk- and protective-factor focused prevention activities. The Governor of Pennsylvania has set aside $4 million from this year's budget for research-based prevention initiatives. In Iowa, a total of 27 communities have gone through the Title V planning and application processes, of which 5 have received full or partial Title V funding (totaling $200,000) while the remainder share $1.5 million in State Juvenile Crime Prevention Community Grant Program money. Colorado also supplements Title V funding with approximately $500,000 annually in State "Build a Generation" monies. These States have witnessed the positive outcomes made possible through the conceptual framework embraced by the Community Prevention Grant Program and are committed to leveraging its impact.
4.3 Securing Continuation Funds
One barometer of success of the Community Prevention Grants Program is the ability to "institutionalize" the prevention programs following the grant award period. Many communities struggle with sustainability; at least 24 communities have been unable to continue with grant activities past their Title V funding period, while more have continued but at reduced funding levels.
On the other hand, 73 percent of responding States reported that at least one earlier Title V subgrantee was able to continue its service delivery after its Title V grant award had expired. More than 110 former grantees have obtained continuation funding through a variety of sources, including State juvenile crime prevention funds, children's trust funds, tobacco tax funding, foundations, school systems, and departments of health and human services, law enforcement, and housing. Local contributions to sustaining the Title V prevention activities frequently reflect the renewed sense of ownership among community representatives from the public, private, and non-profit sectors for building stronger families and healthier youth.
The State of Arizona encourages self-sustainability by awarding subgrants in diminishing amounts. During its first year, a grantee can apply for 100 percent of its projected budget. If the grantee is successful in completing its objectives during the first year, it is eligible for 75 percent of the budget the following year and 50 percent the third year. The State finds that the diminishing funding cycle builds stronger community support from other funding sources so that communities are better able to sustain their programs without Federal support following the final grant period.
Communities report that the comprehensive planning processes and collection of performance and outcome data are key factors that enable them to secure additional funding. In Kauai, Hawaii, for example, the Title V process resulted in the collection of informative community statistics, the development of a 3-year plan, and the cultivation of a shared vision, all of which "laid the framework" for them to receive a $100,000 grant from the Drug-Free Communities Support Program. This grant will build on the multifaceted prevention activities begun during the Title V grant period. Similarly, in Missoula County, Montana the community members have gained access to $100,000 from the Dewitt Wallace Foundation to continue their delinquency prevention efforts begun under Title V.