Chapter 5: State and Local
Assistance Grants Programs
Community Prevention Grant Program
The Title V Incentive Grants for Local Delinquency Prevention Program provides funds to local communities to start juvenile crime prevention programs. Though only 5 years old, this program has produced promising results.
Passed by Congress in 1992, the Title V Program, commonly known as the Community Prevention Grant Program, encourages communities to design and implement programs that prevent juveniles from entering the juvenile justice system. Communities must base their programs on an assessment of risk factors associated with the development of delinquent behavior. This risk-focused prevention strategy underscores the idea that the factors contributing to the development of a problem must be identified and addressed in order to prevent it from occurring.
Local communities participating in the Community Prevention Grant Program have designed a variety of strategies. For example, Marquette County, WI, developed a child at-risk program that provides family management skills training and parenting education.
Other communities have developed counseling and intervention services, health services, school-based programs that target truancy and other problems, economic development and training programs such as job readiness, law enforcement programs such as community policing, and programs that streamline available services for youth and families.
The success of the Community Prevention Grant Program is due in part to OJJDP's extensive training program, which helps local planners design and implement prevention strategies. OJJDP provides this training and technical assistance at no cost to help communities organize key leaders in their communities and help them establish a risk-assessment prevention plan.
The training includes two workshops. The first is a 1-day workshop for the community's major policymakers, business leaders, and agency executives. The second is a 3-day workshop with hands-on exercises and activities for local prevention policy board members and staff. Local policy boards are made up of various members of the community representing sectors that provide services for children, youth, and their families. The training shows them how to use research to identify and assess their community's risk factors and resources, and how to collect and analyze data to prepare a 3-year delinquency prevention plan. To date, more than 4,300 leaders representing nearly 500 communities have received OJJDP's risk-focused delinquency prevention training.
Because a State or local government is required to provide a 50-percent cash or in-kind match for each grant, the level of community ownership and investment in these programs is impressive and contributes to the programs' success. Many communities contribute more than 90 percent of the cost of their program. In 1996, the General Accounting Office found that Title V has been instrumental in uniting broad groups of community residents to design prevention programs based on their specific needs. For example, the momentum created by the risk-assessment forums in Tallahassee, FL, resulted in a core of 350 volunteers who were ready to help implement the area's community prevention initiative. Taking advantage of the skills of those who volunteered, the program plans to have professional family and marriage therapists supervise student therapists, who will provide counseling to low-income families in the community and at the same time earn the practical experience they need to graduate.
Congress appropriated $20 million for the Title V Program in both FY 1996 and 1997; 54 States and Territories received grants each year. OJJDP awards grants to States for transmission through State advisory groups to qualified units of general local government that implement local delinquency prevention programs.
To ensure the effectiveness of the Community Prevention Grant Program, OJJDP is evaluating individual local projects in addition to the national program. The Office also published the Community Self-Evaluation Workbook in 1996 to help local communities assess and improve their delinquency prevention programs. The Workbook provides user-friendly guidance on collecting data, analyzing program progress and impact, and using evaluation information to refine plans and programs as needed. These self-evaluations are a critical way to conserve resources. In 1997, OJJDP held four regional training sessions to help juvenile justice specialists across the country learn how to use the Workbook to evaluate local prevention programs. The Workbook is available from JJC.
The success of the Community Prevention Grant Program is discussed in greater detail in the 1996 Report to Congress: Title V Incentive Grants for Local Delinquency Prevention Programs, available from JJC.