Category: Juvenile Delinquency
|August 2, 2012||Posted by M. P. under Behavorial Health, Children and Family, Drug and Alcohol, Juvenile Delinquency, Research, Uncategorized||
Therapeutic foster care (TFC) differs from traditional foster care as it is most often used as an alternative to a child being placed in a medical or juvenile justice system facility due to serious behavioral or physical conditions that require residential care. Rather, they are placed with skilled foster parents trained to care for these intensive-needs youth.
Data from The National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an annual survey from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) indicate that youth in therapeutic foster care (also known as treatment foster care) had higher rates of use of alcohol, marijuana and illicit use of prescription drugs in the past 30 days compared to the national average of their peers’ past month substance use. These data are not a surprise considering the correlation between increases in parental drug use and increased foster care numbers. Also, children from homes with substance abuse and addiction often have behavioral problems and a history of high risk activity with some becoming runways until they land in the system through the juvenile detention or child welfare pipeline.
While foster youth being at higher risk of addiction is not a new trend, it is troubling because youth who have moderate to lengthy histories in foster care are more likely to have histories of neglect, sexual or physical abuse, alcohol and drug use and a pattern of risky behaviors. Often, kids in therapeutic foster care have already seen multiple placements, and may be facing their last chance of avoiding a residential unit at a detention facility. TFC programs – whether run by county government or contracted to nonprofit or for-profit providers -should have extensive substance abuse prevention and intervention components tailored to this high risk population, from screenings for the kids to support and training for the foster parents.
|June 17, 2012||Posted by M. P. under Children and Family, Juvenile Delinquency, News||
The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) has awarded organizations in Luzerne County $2.16 million in grants to fund programming for area youth. The monies come from restitution payment from a defendant in the in the case fixing or “kids for cash scandal” that drew the attention of the FBI, shook public confidence in court system officials and led to additonal procedural protections for youth in the juvenile justice system.
Seventeen programs were chosen out of a pool of over 50 proposals, including projects from Luzerne County Head Start, the Domestic Violence Service Center, Family Service Association of Wyoming Valley, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Northeastern Pennsylvania, and the creation of a new Luzerne County Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program. Individual award amounts and project details are included in a press release from PCCD, also available on their website.
|March 22, 2012||Posted by M. P. under Juvenile Delinquency, Policy, Research||
This week the Supreme Court began hearing arguments on the constitutionality of sentencing juveniles as young as 14 years old to life imprisonment without parole. As of 2009, 2,589 inmates serving life without parole sentences in the United States were less than 18 years of age when they committed their crime, 17 percent of them in Pennsylvania.
An infographic from Amnesty International displays additional descriptive data on juveniles sentenced to life without parole, including the fact that for nearly 60 percent of the sample, the sentence was given for their first criminal conviction.
If you are interested in learning more about this subset of the prison population, The Lives of Juvenile Lifers: Findings from a National Survey by Dr. Ashley Nellis of The Sentencing Project is an excellent examination of the environment, history and nature of the crimes committed by youth currently serving sentences of life without parole. Findings include, histories of exposure to violence, physical and sexual abuse, racial disparities in sentencing, and the inability to attend prison programming due to lifer status. A complete copy of the report is available at The Sentencing Project website.
This report, in addition to the headlines around the current Supreme Court case and the memory of the travesty in Luzerne County, have only crystallized for me the complete transformation of the juvenile justice system from one created to reform a system characterized by harsh punishments and little distinction between youth and adult offenders, to the punitive one operating today.
|March 13, 2012||Posted by M. P. under Juvenile Delinquency, Program Model, Research||
A recent study from the RAND Corporation on the effectiveness of the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe, a residential and mentoring program aimed at 16 and 17 year old high school dropouts, found the intervention to be both cost effective and beneficial to the youth cadets.
A rigorous evaluation of the program (that operates in over half of the states of the country) found substantial long-term benefits to the program participants including a high level of educational attainment and the related social and financial rewards. A cost-benefit analysis of Youth ChalleNGe estimated that it provided $2.66 worth of social benefits for each $1.00 invested in the program. The report did not identify many long-term benefits to the larger community (such as reduced criminal activity) associated with the program, however, some may be inferred from the significant impact on the individual participants.
The full report, A Cost-Benefit Analysis of the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program by Francisco Perez-Arce, Louay Constant, David S. Loughran and Lynn A. Karoly, and a one-page summary of the findings are available at the RAND website.