II. Title V In Action
3. Other Examples of Success
The seven Title V Community Prevention Grants Program efforts described in this section illustrate how other communities across the country haveemployed the Title V Program model to address their unique delinquency prevention needs. These prevention efforts include:
Ranging from school-based programs that target very specific risk factors to State-level systems change projects, these delinquency prevention efforts have shown that by providing a solid framework for developing prevention strategies that meet the needs of individual communities, the Community Prevention Grants Program can help lower juvenile crime and delinquency nationwide.
3.1 School-Based Services Pay Off Big in Buchanan County, Missouri
Targeting risk factors for early and persistent antisocial behavior, academic failure, and low parental/student commitment to education, the Buchanan County School District developed a before-, during-, and after-school program, Project Payoff, at a local middle school. Project Payoff is the result of the collaborative efforts of the schools, a conservation corps, a youth center, community-based organizations, community volunteers, outdoor sporting clubs, and a transit company to transform an in-school suspension program into a year-round comprehensive program for at-risk youth. The program combines academic, recreational, and family advocacy services with community service projects:
Since the 1996-97 school year, more than 500 youth and their families have participated in Project Payoff. The Project has logged more than 204,142 hours of activities for youth and 1,875 hours of community service during the summer. The project is showing early signs of effectiveness in addressing the primary risk factors. During the 1996-97 school year, 81 percent of students who regularly participated in the tutoring program raised failing grades in two or more core subjects to passing grades. There also has been a 78 percent decrease in truancy and a 62 percent decrease in tardiness. Additional program successes include a 31 percent reduction in the number of school discipline notices and a 33 percent reduction in juvenile crime and vandalism in the school district. Finally, two members of the after-school weight-lifting team were selected to be members of the U.S. Olympic Team and participated in the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia.
3.2 Bringing HOPE to Youth in Jackson, Tennessee
In 1994, the Madison County Juvenile Court Services collaborated with public, private, and non-profit agencies that provide services to youth and families on the development of their Title V Community Prevention Grants program. The PPB conducted its risk and resource assessment and identified a neighborhood in the city of Jacksonplagued by a number of community risk factors. The low-income neighborhood had a high rate of referrals to the juvenile court, high adult crime rates, and community norms favorable toward drug use and crime. In addition, no services were available for youth in the neighborhood.
The PPB partnered with the Jackson Family Worship Center, a non-denominational storefront church, to develop Operation HOPE (Helping Others Prepare for Excellence). The goal of Operation HOPE is to help youth set goals and to provide them with the tools they need to achieve their goals. From 2:00 to 5:30 p.m., neighborhood youth ages 5 to 17 participate in Operation HOPE. The program offers latch-key programming, after-school activities, weekend programs, and parenting services. HOPE youth are divided into four classes, based on age, which are led by one to two class leaders. Most of the program staff are parishioners from the Worship Center. Programs offered during the classes include:
The Center provides an afternoon snack for youth as well as dinner for the youth and their parent(s) Monday through Friday. On Wednesday, classleaders take youth on field trips to museums and other events in Jackson and Memphis. Weekend events include holiday dinners with performances by HOPE youth, celebration of Black History month with a dinner and a presentation by youth, and Club Friday-a social event for teens that includes games, videos, music, and snacks.
Since 1994, approximately 400 youth have participated in Operation Hope, roughly 50 of whom have participated daily. The program's success in preventing substance abuse, violence, shoplifting, and other delinquent behavior is demonstrated by the number of program youth referred to the court services unit: only 1 youth has been petitioned into court over the past 3 years. While comparison data do not exist for these years, the neighborhood traditionally had the highest number of youth referrals in the city. Other evidence of the program's success is the fact that in the beginning of the program, many youth were "suspended" from HOPE because of behavioral problems. The number of suspensions has decreased to almost zero according to program staff. Many of the program youth also are performing better academically, raising failing grades to passing grades, and program staff report improved self-esteem among HOPE participants. In addition to its positive effect on program youth, Operation Hope has led to the development of other services in the neighborhood including a GED program for parents, court advocacy by parishioners for youth, and an apprenticeship program for teenage boys with a Family Worship Center parishioner's construction business.
3.3 Student Alliance with Law EnforcementImproves School Safety in Davis County, Utah
In the Davis County program, the county School District partnered with the Layton City Police Department to address increasing school safety issues, including increased gang activity, violence, and substance abuse, in three of the county's junior high schools. Of the 13 junior high schools in the district, the North Layton, Central Davis, and North Davis Junior High Schools accounted for 48 percent of all safety violations in 1994. School officials and the police identified four primary risk factors as the cause of increased criminal activity in these schools:
To address these risk factors, school officials and the police developed a Law-Related Education (LRE) program for seventh graders. The LRE program brings police officers and classroom teachers together to educate the seventh graders about the criminal and juvenile justice system, police procedures, responsibility for reporting illegal activities, and consequences of delinquent behavior. The program also provides a forum for the development of problem-solving and conflict resolution skills. The program is offered to all seventh graders during class time. In addition, police officers spend time with youth during lunch to further facilitate bonding between the officers and the students.
The program has had a tremendous impact on criminal activity in the schools. During the 1996-97 school year (1 year after program implementation), there were 293 fewer thefts and 97 fewer acts of violence in the North Layton Junior High School. Similarly, both the Central Davis and North Davis Junior High Schools reported 200 fewer acts of violence. Teachers from all three schools report fewer classroom discipline problems. While these 3 schools accounted for 48 percent of all safety violations in the school district in 1994, they accounted for only 31 percent in 1996.
The LRE provides an opportunity for positive involvement in school and with teachers and police officers. Based on a comparison of pre- and post-program test results, roughly two-thirds of the youth that participated in the LRE program improved their attitudes toward police officers in the first year of program implementation. Police officers report other positive effects of the program -- LRE students are talking to officers outside the school and often sharing information about criminal activity. By the end of the 1997-98 school year, more than 2,970 students in North Layton, Central Davis, and North Davis Junior High Schools will have participated in the program. In addition, because of the success of the program, other schools have initiated LRE programs. In the 1998-99 school year, all 13 schools in the district will have such a program.
3.4 Building Character in Enid, Oklahoma's Future Leaders
In 1995, city officials, youth-serving agencies, and the schools in Enid, Oklahoma came together to develop a program that would nurture the leadership potential of its at-risk teens. The resulting program, the Junior Leadership Council, consists of two sequential components: a Character Development Course and an Entrepreneurial Program.
The Character Development Course is a 12-week course for youth ages 12 to 15 that provides instruction and guidance on the "interstate called life." The course is designed to show youth how the choices they make now can affect their lives in the future and to help youth improve their decision making skills. The course includes tutoring, mentoring, and character-building around suchissues as communication, hope, accountability, and responsibility. Initially, participants were referred to the Junior Leadership Council by the program Advisory Board, which consists of representatives from each junior high school in Enid, city officials, and youth-serving agencies. Referrals to the program now come from the program participants themselves. Youth are asked to identify one other youth that they believe would be a good person to work with on an important project. The list of participants' referrals is presented to the Advisory Board members, who rank order youth based on their knowledge of the youth's risk level. Youth with the highest rankings are invited to participate in the program.
After completing the 12-week Character Development Course, participants graduate either to a train-the-trainer program or the Entrepreneurial Program. In the former, youth learn how to run a Character Development Course. Current plans are to implement the first set of youth-led Character Development Courses in mid-1998.
The Entrepreneurial Program is a job opportunity and skill-building initiative for youth ages 15 to 18. The program provides youth with an opportunity to work in and run a novelties production company. Youth are taught graphic design skills, how to operate the production equipment, and basic business skills such as marketing. Youth have designed and produced t-shirts, cups, and coffee mugs for clients such as theater groups, local colleges, churches, and the city of Enid. The Junior Leadership Council recently entered into a partnership with a t-shirt manufacturing company that has donated equipment to enable the Council to mass produce its products. The company also provides training to youth on equipment operation and quality production. Profits from item sales are used to fund program operations; and, as production and sales increase, the program intends to use its profits to become fully self-sufficient. In addition, a $500 academic scholarship will be set aside each year for a program youth graduating from high school who wishes to pursue higher education opportunities.
Over the past 3 years, program staff have been refining both Junior Leadership Council phases to increase their capacity to serve more youth. To date, 45 youth have participated in all aspects of the Junior Leadership Council. With the implementation of the youth-led CharacterDevelopment Course and the new equipment for the Entrepreneurial Program, the number of participants could increase to more than 100 per year.
Program staff report a number of notable changes in participating youth, particularly their commitment to becoming productive citizens in the community. For example, youth who lack transportation to program activities have been known to walk (in some cases up to 5 miles) to participate. Others continue to come to the program even when school is out and the Council is not operating. In addition, program staff note that some of the "tougher" participants, who came into the program with a history of fighting, have had no further fights.
3.5 School-Based Violence and Substance Abuse Prevention Services in Missoula County, Montana
Missoula's PPB brought eight agencies to the C. S. Porter Middle School to provide violence, alcohol, and substance abuse prevention services for students. The program addresses priority risk factors that include lack of school commitment, high rates of transience, family conflict and management problems, and lack of opportunities for involvement in positive activities by offering the following services:
Classroom activities are targeted to sixth graders, but other activities involve students in all grades, their parents, and siblings. Involvement in program activities has been gratifyingly high. The school has about 400 students; during the first 3 months of the 1997-98 school year alone, 409 individuals participated in program activities, including students, parents, siblings, and other community members.
A program-sponsored community service project for students has been particularly successful. After school and over the summer, about 25 youth spent over 900 hours cleaning up the community and making repairs to elderly residents' homes. A local bank contributed supplies and adult volunteers to work with the students.
Missoula has already seen important effects of their Title V programs. In the first year of the program (1996-97), the school only had 37 violent incidents, down from 64 during the 1995-96 school year. The school has also seen a decrease in absenteeism, from 14 percent in 1995-96 to 11 percent in 1996-97. In addition, volunteerism at the school has dramatically increased, from 476 volunteer hours in 1995-96 to 828 in 1996-97. During the first half of the current school year (1997-98), volunteers have already contributed 1,317 hours of their time.
The grant coordinator for Missoula commented, "These kids need all the help they can get. Among the current class of about 130 sixth graders, 20 students already had had contact with the juvenile justice system before they came to this school. We're just trying to get these kids to a place where the teachers can teach them."
3.6 Reducing Multi-Cultural Conflict and Violence in Whatcom County, Washington
In the Whatcom County program, the WhatcomDispute Resolution Center collaborated with community leaders from the Hispanic community and tribal Nations, juvenile probation, schools, community-based agencies, and the Whatcom County Commission on Children and Youth to develop the Community Building Prevention Program. The program was developed in response to increased school dropout and violence rates, particularly among the Hispanic and Native American populations. The collaborating agencies, who formed the group United for Youth, identified five risk factors as the cause of school dropouts and violence: 1) breakdown of the family, 2) weakening of traditional community strengths, 3) alienation from school, 4) peer pressure from gangs, and 5) substance abuse.
To implement the program, United for Youth reached out to the elders in the community, including parents and teachers, to become role models for youth ages 11 to 17 and enhance the ethnic origin of the youth through the development of a support structure. The Community Building Prevention Program uses a large group mediation approach to address youth issues. The program operates in four schools in Whatcom County (Nooksack High School and Middle School, Ferndale High School, and Vista Middle School), providing multicultural class sessions during the activity period. The sessions focus on peer mediation and conflict resolution and also provide time for sharing and understanding cultural and ethnic backgrounds and traditions. The program also includes Conflict Management and Cross-Cultural Communication Workshops, attended by more than 1,000 youth over the past 3 years.
During the 1996-1997 school year, 88 students as well as school staff and community members attended the mediation sessions. In one high school (Nooksack), the sessions have been so successful that youth have formed a multi-cultural club, recognized by the school as a formal club, to address multi-cultural issues and help diffuse violent situations. Evidence of the program's success includes a 50 percent decrease in truancies and absences at Nooksack High School, and no student participating in the program at Nooksack has had an added discipline report since becoming involved in the program. Other outcomes include the organization of the first-ever Youth Anti-Violence Rally, attended by more than 200 youth and their families, as a result of the Conflict Management and Communication Workshops.
3.7 Systems Change through Communication Grants in the State of Virginia
In 1997, the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) revised its Title V funding strategy to focus on systems change rather than providing individual-level services. Having awarded grants to several communities for the development and implementation of service delivery programs, DCJS wanted to ensure that the Title V monies were also being used to effect broader change across the communities as a whole and across service delivery systems. To maximize on both resource use and overall impact, DCJS funded communication grants that would provide mass education to a large number of people to improve knowledge about juvenile crime issues and available resources for delinquency prevention.
Two such communications grants, one in Charlottesville and one in Virginia Beach, are addressing systems change using a variety of media, including the World Wide Web, public access television, community-based institutions, and public awareness campaigns. In Charlottesville, collaborators from the Children and Youth Commission, County of Albemarle, City of Charlottesville, Jefferson Madison Regional Library, Public Access/Adelphia Cable, University of Virginia, and United Way developed the Win-Win Communication Strategy. The Win-Win Strategy uses diverse communications methods to provide information about access to services for children, youth, and families and public forums for addressingdelinquency issues. The strategy includes three main components:
In Virginia Beach, the police department, in collaboration with the Virginia Beach Public Schools, Department of Public Utilities, Virginia Beach General Hospital Trauma Center, Princess Anne Women's Club, Virginia Beach Crime Prevention Steering Committee, and businesses, developed a Keep the Peace Campaign. Keep the Peace represents a citywide community policing campaign against violence that includes mass education on delinquency prevention. The campaign's strategy is to:
The cornerstone of the Keep the Peace Campaign is an education program for youth called Options, Choices, and Consequences. The program is designed to prevent youth gun violence by educating the community, particularly young people between the ages of 13 and 15 and their parents, about the consequences of gun possession and related gun violence. The 3-day program provides graphic images of trauma caused by gun shot wounds along with discussion about gun laws and non-violent dispute resolution. During the 1996-97 school year, more than 2,500 youth participated in the program. As part of the overall campaign, the police department and collaborating agencies have developed videos and public service announcements using the Options, Choices, and Consequences format. Further mass education has been achieved through the establishment of relationships with the local media. Since the campaign's implementation in early 1996, it has been featured in more than 17 articles and newscasts throughout the Virginia Beach area.
The State of Virginia has provided specialized technical assistance to the grantees on the evaluation of project outcomes. DCJS also is implementing an evaluation strategy that will examine the overall outcomes and impacts of the communication grants across the State. From these evaluation efforts, DCJS will develop materials to help other communities replicate effective and promising program approaches.
1997 Report to Congress: Title V Incentive Grants for Local Delinquency Prevention Programs