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Perspectives - Winter 2002 Newsletter

| National Council on Crime and Delinquency

NCCD Newsletter Winter 2002

SDM News

| Children's Research Center

Structured Decision Making News, Fifth Annual Structured Decision Making Conference a Hit!

Addendum to the Evaluation of Michigan's Foster Care Structured Decision Making Case Management System

| Kristen Johnson, PhD, Rod Caskey, Dennis Wagner, PhD

In 2002, CRC conducted further analysis to assess the impact of Michigan’s new foster care case management system.  Initial evaluation results indicated that SDM significantly expedited permanency for children across the types of permanency achieved. A key question was whether children returned home in pilot counties reentered foster care at a higher rate. If SDM led to the premature return home of children, we would expect a greater proportion of children returned home by pilot agencies to reenter placement than children returned home by comparison agencies. If the reentry rate is similar for pilot and comparison agencies, we can safely assume that SDM does not result in children’s premature return home. The addendum answers this question.

Evaluation of Michigan's Foster Care Structured Decision Making Case Management System

| Dennis Wagner, PhD, Kristen Johnson, PhD, Rod Caskey

Michigan expanded SDM® into foster care in 1997 to increase the consistency of decision making and help ensure compliance with state and federal regulations regarding service provision, reunification, and permanency planning. Foster care SDM combined structured assessments of family needs and strengths, barriers to reunification faced by each family, compliance with treatment visitation plans, and federal requirements regarding permanency into a simple yet comprehensive guide for workers. An evaluation conducted in 2000 assessed pilot and comparison county performance during pre- and post-implementation periods. Cohorts of children placed in foster care were tracked for a 15-month follow-up period. During the pre-implementation period, comparison counties had a slightly better record of moving children to permanency than the pilot counties did. During the post-implementation period, however, the pilot counties moved a significantly higher proportion of children to permanency than the comparison counties, and the type of permanency established was not skewed in any particular direction.

Potential Impacts of Proposed Budget Cuts to California's Juvenile Justice-involved and At-risk Youths with Mental Health Problems

| National Council on Crime and Delinquency

California has improved the way it cares for the mental health of youth who are involved or at-risk for involvement in the juvenile justice system. These youth are the most needy yet most underserved population in our state. The sorely needed improvements are a result of several state and federal programs and initiatives. In many counties these programs and initiatives provide the only mental health care for juvenile justice-involved or at-risk youth. We know that these programs have been working to improve the lives of young people and their families. These programs result in safer communities, intact families, and cost-savings for the counties and state. However, if even some of the budget cuts proposed in the Governor's May Revision and debated in the legislatures become law, nearly all of these improvements will be erased, programs that need increased funding will instead lose funding, and the momentum gained in the past decade will be lost. Compared to their alternatives, which in most cases is detention and placement in a group home, the programs proposed to be reduced or eliminated:
- provide more appropriate and proven successful services,
- keep more families intact,
- make communities safer, including reduced recidivism,
- cost the county and states less, and
- serve as key aspects of systemwide improvements.
As of July 15, the California Senate had passed a budget wisely rejecting many of the proposed cuts that would do most harm to these youth and the Assembly seemed inclined to do so also.
However, nothing is settled in the legislature, and in any case, it is likely that some mental health services and programs will be cut or reduced before the final budget is approved. It is essential that the Governor, lawmakers, and their staff members understand what is at stake, and just how far these relatively few dollars can go towards keeping our communities safe while improving the lives of these needy children.

Process Evaluation of Parents Anonymous

| National Council on Crime and Delinquency

Juvenile delinquency prevention efforts ideally encompass a broad array of interventions. One critical strategy that deserves inclusion in this array is reduction of child maltreatment. An emerging body of research points persuasively to a strong link between the experience of abuse or neglect and subsequent delinquent behavior. One promising program to address child abuse and neglect is Parents Anonymous. Parents Anonymous operates a network of parent-led, professionally facilitated, community-based groups. Numerous studies have shown that maltreating parents are often socially isolated, have smaller peer networks, and have less contact with and receive less help from their families. The extent to which interventions foster supportive social and emotional bonds between at-risk parents and others will likely increase the long-term effectiveness of any such efforts to promote more nurturing parenting (Belsky, 1993). The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention selected the National Council on Crime and Delinquency to conduct a process and outcome evaluation of the Parents anonymous program. This document represents the findings from a one year process evaluation. The overall goals for the process evaluation were to 1) describe the Parents anonymous model and operation, 2) gain an understanding of variations in implementation that may exist, and 3) explore factors that may account for observed variations.

Perspectives - Summer 2002 Newsletter

| National Council on Crime and Delinquency

NCCD Newsletter Summer 2002

SDM News

| Children's Research Center

Structured Decision Making News, County Board Honors Social Workers

Our Vulnerable Teenagers: Their Victimization, Its Consequences, and Directions for Prevention and Intervention

| Madeline Wordes, Michelle Nunez

Teenagers are twice as likely as any other age group to be victims of violent crime, and one in five teenagers report being the victim of a violent crime, according to a new report. The single greatest factor in predicting criminal behavior on the part of teenagers, the report also found, was not teenage pregnancy, drug use, or truancy, but whether they had been a victim of crime. This publication provides a new and comprehensive analysis of existing -- but largely unnoticed -- research and data on the crime experiences of American teenagers ages 12-19, who make up about 14 percent of the general population, but represent 25 percent of victims of violent crime.

Health Care for Our Troubled Youth: Provision of Services in the Foster Care and Juvenile Justice Systems of California

| Christopher Hartney, Madeline Wordes, Barry Krisberg

Lack of access to high quality health care is a problem for most low-income people, but especially for young people in foster care and the juvenile justice system. Furthermore, adolescence is a particularly difficult developmental stage for youth, one requiring special emphasis on health care provision. The lack of adequate early intervention into the wide ranging health needs of many youths contributes to longer stays in foster care and deeper involvement in the juvenile justice system. The purpose of this report is to outline the health care needs and obstacles to health care access for foster care and juvenile justice youths, particularly adolescents, and to make recommendations for improvement.

Delinquency Among Asian/Pacific Islanders: Review of Literature and Research

| Thao Le

This article reviews 34 studies of juvenile delinquency among Asian/Pacific Islanders (APIs) published in referred journals, book chapters, masters theses, and doctoral dissertations since 1970. The author discusses which API ethnic groups have been studied, the ways in which researchers have studied delinquent behavior among APIs and the theoretical models proposed to explain this relationship, as well as empirical findings. Researchers vary widely in their conceptual and methodological perspectives which have resulted in limited and conflicting findings. Researchers are also only beginning to explore and understand important inter- and intra-API differences related to delinquency. The author summarizes the research to date, examining commonly identified risk and protective factors related to delinquency among APIs, and recommends a theoretical orientation for more precise and in-depth research.

SDM News

| Children's Research Center

Structured Decision Making News, Moving Children to Permanency