Evaluation of the Children at Risk Program Results 1 Year After the End of the Program Research in Brief - November 1999 by Mythri

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National Institute of Justice                                                                                                               J US T I C E P




 National Institute of Justice
                 R       e      s      e   a      r     c      h             i     n            B      r     i    e      f
Jeremy Travis, Director                                                                                                 November 1999


Issues and Findings                        Evaluation of the Children at Risk
Discussed in this Brief: The
evaluation of the Children at Risk
(CAR) drug and delinquency pre-
                                                                ear
                                           Program: Results 1 Y After the
vention program for high-risk
adolescents 11 to 13 years of age          End of the Program
living in narrowly defined, severely
                                           By Adele Harrell, Shannon Cavanagh, and Sanjeev Sridharan
distressed neighborhoods in Aus-
tin, Texas; Bridgeport, Connecti-
cut; Memphis, Tennessee;                   Children at Risk (CAR) was a drug and             foundations. The findings of that study
Savannah, Georgia; and Seattle,            delinquency prevention program for high-          are summarized in this Research in Brief.
Washington.                                risk adolescents 11 to 13 years of age
                                           who lived in narrowly defined, severely           Results from CAR were mostly encourag-
Key issues: The CAR experimental
                                           distressed neighborhoods. CAR delivered           ing. Youths in the treatment group, com-
demonstrations tested the feasibil-                                                          pared with youths in the control and
                                           integrated services to the youths and all
ity and impact of integrated deliv-                                                          comparison groups, participated in sig-
ery of a broad range of services to
                                           members of their households. Case man-
                                           agers collaborated closely with staff from        nificantly more social and educational
the 338 participating youths and
                                           criminal justice agencies, schools, and           activities, exhibited less antisocial behav-
all members of their households.
Case managers collaborated                 other community organizations to provide          ior, committed fewer violent crimes, and
closely with staff from criminal           comprehensive, individualized services            used and sold fewer drugs in the year af-
justice agencies, schools, and other       that targeted neighborhood, peer group,           ter the program ended. They also were
community organizations to pro-            family, and individual risk factors.              more likely to report attending a drug
vide comprehensive, individualized                                                           or alcohol prevention program.
services that targeted neighbor-           The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delin-
hood, peer group, family, and              quency Prevention, other Federal agen-            Because drug use and delinquency are
individual risk factors.                   cies, and private foundations funded              often part of a pattern that includes other
                                           experimental demonstrations from 1992             problem behaviors, the evaluation looked
The evaluation focused on three                                                              for “spillover effects”—reductions in
primary questions:                         to 1996 in five cities—Austin, Texas;
                                           Bridgeport, Connecticut; Memphis, Ten-            problem behaviors not specifically tar-
q Did CAR youths and families              nessee; Savannah, Georgia; and Seattle,           geted by the program. However, no sig-
participate in more services and           Washington—to test the feasibility and            nificant reductions in sexual activity,
prosocial activities during the            impact of integrated delivery of a broad          running away, dropping out of school,
program than youths and families                                                             early pregnancy or parenthood, or gang
                                           range of services involving the close col-
in the control (333 youths) and                                                              membership were found.
comparison (203 youths) groups?
                                           laboration of police, school administra-
                                           tors, case managers, and other service            CAR households used comparatively
q  Did CAR youths and caregivers           providers (see “Children at Risk Funding          more services and participated in more
have fewer risk factors and/or             Agencies”). The evaluation of the CAR             kinds of positive activities than other
more protective factors than               program in these cities was funded by the
youths and caregivers in the
                                                                                             households in the study. However, the
                                           National Institute of Justice, the National       majority of CAR families did not report
control and comparison groups
                                           Institute on Drug Abuse, and private              receiving the full range of core program
1 year after the program ended?




                        continued…
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Issues and Findings                             services. Although CAR participation                     q   Did CAR youths and caregivers have
                       continued…               nearly doubled the youths’ chances of                        fewer risk factors and/or more protec-
                                                participating in mentoring and tutoring                      tive factors than youths and caregivers
q Were CAR youths less likely to
exhibit problem behaviors in the
                                                programs and substantially increased                         in the control and comparison groups
year following the end of the pro-              their participation in other services,                       1 year after the program ended?
gram than high-risk youths in the               fewer than half of the CAR families
                                                                                                         q   Were CAR youths less likely to exhibit
control group who did not receive               reported receiving these services.
                                                                                                             problem behaviors in the year follow-
CAR services?
                                                Family risk factors examined in the                          ing the end of the program than high-
Key findings: Some of the findings              evaluation included family conflict and                      risk youths in the control group who
of the CAR evaluation were:                     violence, lack of parental supervision and                   did not receive CAR services?
                                                disciplinary practices, low levels of pa-
q Compared with youths in the                                                                            The youths chosen for intensive interven-
control and comparison groups,                  rental attachment and support, low family
                                                                                                         tions lived in severely distressed neigh-
CAR youths participated in a sig-               cohesion and organization, and problem
                                                                                                         borhoods and were selected because they
nificantly higher number of positive            behaviors among parents and older sib-
                                                                                                         already had exhibited problems associ-
activities, such as sports, school              lings. There was no indication of lower
                                                                                                         ated with predictors of drug activity in
clubs, religious groups, and                    family risk among CAR youths either be-
community-organized programs,
                                                                                                         later life. The programs targeted small
                                                fore or after participation. The process
during the program period. They                                                                          geographical areas with the highest rates
                                                evaluation documented substantial prob-
also were more likely to report at-                                                                      of crime, drug use, and poverty in each
                                                lems in engaging these multiproblem
tending drug and alcohol abuse                                                                           city (see “Evaluation Methodology”):
                                                families in services.
programs.
                                                                                                         q   In Austin, the target neighborhood was
q Compared with control group                   Targeted prevention                                          about 60 percent Hispanic and 30 per-
households, CAR households used                                                                              cent black. It was characterized by
more services. However, the major-              The evaluation of CAR’s impact on the                        extreme poverty, a high proportion of
ity of CAR families did not report              participating youths was guided by three                     households headed by single mothers,
getting most core program                       primary questions:                                           and a high incidence of substance
services.                                                                                                    abuse and drug trafficking. Twenty-
                                                q   Did CAR youths and families partici-
q Compared with control group                       pate in more services and prosocial                      nine percent of the households had
youths, CAR youths received more                    activities during the program than                       annual incomes of less than $7,500
positive peer group support,                        youths and families in the control                       in 1992.
associated less frequently with                     and comparison groups?
delinquent peers, felt less peer
pressure, and were pressured less
often by peers to behave in anti-
social ways.                                                 Children at Risk Funding Agencies
q Compared with control group
youths, CAR youths were signifi-
cantly less likely to have used gate-
                                                    C        AR was developed, funded, and
                                                    monitored by the National Center on Addic-
                                                                                                         Ronald McDonald Children’s Charities,
                                                                                                         and United Technologies.
                                                    tion and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Colum-
way and serious drugs, sold drugs,                                                                       At the local level, partnerships with private
                                                    bia University with financial support from the
or committed violent crimes in the                                                                       and volunteer organizations, including
                                                    National Institute of Justice, the Bureau of
year after the program ended.                                                                            business organizations, local colleges, and
                                                    Justice Assistance, and the Office of Juvenile
                                                    Justice and Delinquency Prevention in the            churches, provided support for CAR activities.
Target audience: Local and State
                                                    U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice       The impact evaluation was conducted by
law enforcement officials, juvenile
                                                    Programs. Additional support was provided            the Urban Institute with funds provided by
justice officials, social welfare
                                                    by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Ford           the National Institute of Justice, CASA, and
professionals, local and State
                                                    Foundation, the Prudential Foundation, the           the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the
government officials, educational
                                                    Rockefeller Foundation, the American Express         U.S. Department of Health and Human
administrators, community orga-
                                                    Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts,               Services.
nizers, researchers, and drug
treatment practitioners.


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            Evaluation Methodology

    T       he five cities that participated in
    the evaluation were competitively se-
                                                      on public support was widespread. More
                                                      than half of the caregivers had not gradu-
                                                      ated from high school, fewer than half
                                                                                                       q  Data on school performance and
                                                                                                       attendance. Records were collected
    lected to demonstrate the Children at                                                              from the schools on grades, promo-
    Risk program following an extensive plan-         were employed when they joined the study,        tions, and the percentage of sched-
    ning phase during which candidate cities          and most received some form of public            uled days youths attended. Two data
    developed proposals to implement the              assistance.                                      elements that were initially requested
    model. Each city received funds for at                                                             had to be dropped: standardized test
    least 3 years. The impact evaluation used         Data for the evaluation were collected from      results, which were missing for a large
    experimental and quasi-experimental               multiple sources:                                portion of the sample, and records of
    comparisons. CAR participants were com-                                                            disciplinary action because they were
                                                      q  Surveys of youths and caregivers.
    pared with a randomly assigned control                                                             maintained in different ways by par-
                                                      Inperson interviews were conducted in
    group within target neighborhoods and a                                                            ticipating schools and school systems.
                                                      the home at baseline (between recruit-
    quasi-experimental group selected from                                                             These data were limited to public
                                                      ment and the start of services) and at
    matched high-risk neighborhoods in four                                                            schools in the participating cities and
                                                      the end of the program period. (Each
    of the five cities (no quasi-experimental                                                          were not available for youths who
                                                      city created two cohorts of students and
    group was selected in Seattle because the                                                          moved or attended private or paro-
                                                      provided services for 2 years to each
    program stopped operating after 2 years).                                                          chial schools.
                                                      cohort.) A followup survey with the
    The sample consisted of 338 CAR partici-          youths was conducted 1 year after the            The survey response rates for youths by
    pants (the treatment group), 333 youths           end of the program.                              group ranged from 98 percent at base-
    in the control group, and a quasi-                                                                 line to 77 percent at the end of the pro-
                                                      q Data on officially recorded crimi-
    experimental comparison group of 203                                                               gram and to 76 percent in the followup
                                                      nal activity. Once each year, records
    youths. The average age of the partici-                                                            survey 1 year after the end of the pro-
                                                      were collected from the police and
    pating youths was 12.4 years at the time                                                           gram, with no significant differences by
                                                      courts in participating cities on the
    they entered the sample. Slightly more                                                             group or city. Caregiver response rates by
                                                      youths’ officially recorded contacts with
    than half (52 percent) were male. Fifty-                                                           group ranged from 96 to 100 percent at
                                                      the criminal justice system, including the
    eight percent were black, 34 percent                                                               baseline and from 80 to 86 percent at
                                                      date of contact, charges, and case out-
    were Hispanic, and the remaining 8                                                                 the end of the program. An extensive
                                                      comes. The records were coded to
    percent were white or Asian. The primary                                                           analysis of attrition showed no differen-
                                                      achieve consistent offense categories
    caregiver was usually the mother (80 per-                                                          tial response rates by group; city; demo-
                                                      across sites and to exclude child abuse,
    cent). In general, caregiver educational                                                           graphic characteristics; or baseline risk
                                                      neglect, and dependency actions.
    levels were low, and family dependence                                                             factors, including drug involvement.



q   In Bridgeport, the target neighbor-               q   In Savannah, the target area led the         Staff from the schools, courts, and
    hood was about 40 percent His-                        city in juvenile delinquency, crime,         CAR programs, following clearly
    panic, 40 percent black, 14 percent                   and urban blight based on a 1991             defined guidelines, identified eligible
    white, and a small percentage was                     study. Income was low for more               11- to 13-year-old youths who attended
    Southeast Asians. The large major-                    than 66 percent of the households,           the sixth or seventh grade, lived in the
    ity of the population lived at or                     and more than 70 percent of the              target neighborhood, and exhibited
    below the poverty level.                              households with children were                risk in one of three domains: school,
                                                          headed by a single parent.                   family, or personal factors (see “Case
q   In Memphis, the target area con-
                                                                                                       Studies”):
    tained three of the city’s largest                q   In Seattle, the student body at the
    public housing units. In this area,                   targeted school was about 40 per-            q   School risk was defined by exhibit-
    94 percent of the residents were                      cent white, 25 percent black, 20                 ing three of the seven following
    black, and 88 percent of the youths                   percent Asian or Pacific Islander,               indicators: special education,
    lived in poverty.                                     4 percent American Indian, and                   grade retention, poor academic
                                                          10 percent other.

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    performance, truancy, tardiness,                    of risk factors to which they were ex-           oped and implemented plans to meet
    out-of-school suspension, or disrup-                posed. The programs were required to             those needs. To ensure that this role
    tive behavior in school.                            provide eight service components that            was effectively performed, CAR
                                                        targeted neighborhood, peer group,               caseloads were kept small—15 to 18
q   Family risk was defined as having
                                                        family, and individual risk factors.             families. The CAR case managers’ role
    a history of family violence or hav-
                                                        These service components were locally            included both traditional and nontradi-
    ing a gang member, a drug user or
                                                        planned and directed to fit the values           tional case management functions—
    dealer, or a convicted offender in
                                                        and cultural background of the neigh-            recruitment, assessment, treatment,
    the home.
                                                        borhoods and varied across programs              planning, linkage, and monitoring.
q   Personal risk was defined by use                    in design and content. Core services             They also planned, led, and mentored
    or sale of drugs, juvenile court                    included case management, family                 activities and provided transportation
    contact, delinquency or mental                      services, afterschool and summer ac-             for the youths and their families. In
    illness, association with gang mem-                 tivities, mentoring, education services,         some CAR programs, case managers
    bers or delinquent peers, a history                 incentives, community policing and               developed strong individual relation-
    of abuse or neglect, or parenthood                  enhanced enforcement, and criminal               ships with families. In others, they fo-
    or pregnancy.                                       and juvenile justice intervention.1              cused more on the youth participants.
                                                                                                         In most CAR programs, far more time
The CAR program                                         Case management. Case managers                   was spent on crisis intervention, and
                                                        were the linchpin of the CAR strategy            less on ongoing case management,
CAR’s developers envisioned an                          for service integration. They assessed
intervention strategy that would pre-                                                                    than originally anticipated.
                                                        the service needs of the participating
vent drug use and delinquency in at-                    youths and their families and devel-             Case managers also played a central
risk youths by reducing the number                                                                       role in coordinating service delivery
                                                                                                         for youths and their families; they built
                                                                                                         relationships with staff in other agen-
            Case Studies                                                                                 cies, including criminal and juvenile

    M      any Children at Risk youths were
    vulnerable in more than one area and
                                                        cerated and no longer lived in the com-
                                                        munity, CAR could no longer provide
                                                                                                         justice authorities, the recreation de-
                                                                                                         partment, the housing department, and
                                                                                                         mental health agencies.
    faced substantial problems, as the follow-          services to him.
    ing two case profiles illustrate.                                                                    Family services. Case managers
                                                        Lisa had a history of fighting in school         were charged with working with all
    Joel was 13 years old when he was re-               when she was not truant. While still very        family members to address a wide
    cruited for CAR. He had a history of                young, she turned to prostitution, appar-        variety of problems that could affect
    fighting with other students and teachers           ently under pressure from her mother,            the home environment and support for
    and was on probation for possessing a               who needed extra money to support a
                                                                                                         the youth. Family services included a
    gun. His stepfather, who had lived with             drug habit. At one point, Lisa walked into
                                                                                                         wide range of therapeutic services and
    the family, had died 4 years earlier. His           the bathroom at home and discovered
    mother, who was functionally illiterate             her mother and a boyfriend having sex.
                                                                                                         skills training to help families and
    and terminally ill, required home care and          Her mother encouraged her to stay so             adult caregivers function better. Case
    frequent visits to the doctor. Joel, the old-       she could “learn the ropes.” When the            managers also reminded families about
    est male in the family, felt responsible for        mother “reformed,” she pulled Lisa out           and provided transportation to ap-
    protecting his mother and siblings—a                of prostitution. But 14-year-old Lisa            pointments; acted as family advocates
    sense of responsibility, case managers              missed the extra money and began                 with other agencies; and assisted or
    felt, that often was behind why he got              working in a local strip club. The mother        substituted for parents by checking
    into trouble. Joel was released from CAR            found out only after a police raid caught        the participant youth’s school atten-
    because he shot a man who made un-                  Lisa working there. Case managers say
                                                                                                         dance, homework, and behavior. Ex-
    wanted sexual advances to his 15-year-              Lisa did not realize she was doing
                                                                                                         treme examples of family assistance
    old sister and was processed through the            anything wrong.
    adult court system. Because he was incar-
                                                                                                         provided by a case manager included
                                                                                                         retrieving a runaway from another


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town and testifying in court on behalf         activities to help them become better       Big Sisters (BB/BS) of Austin was one
of a family.                                   parents and a positive influence in         of CAR’s partner agencies. BB/BS
                                               their community. These activities           operated a large, highly structured,
Initially, case managers were to work          ranged from community cleanups to           and closely supervised mentoring
intensely with the families over several       organizing safe houses for students         program. It made room for CAR par-
months at the beginning of the pro-            after school.                               ticipants, even though they were older
gram to address their most pressing                                                        and had more problems than the other
needs. Then, once the family situation         Afterschool and summer activi-              children it served.
stabilized, the case manager would             ties. CAR addressed problems related
make less frequent home visits and             to the interaction of participant youths    Other sites shifted to group mentoring,
would monitor services. Instead, case          with their peers by requiring programs      in which a group of youths participated
managers found that families of CAR            to implement afterschool and summer         in activities led by a smaller group
participants had such serious and mul-         activities. These activities were made      of mentors. Memphis, for example,
tiple needs that their whole lives were        available to participating youths both      turned to the Family Life and Revised
bound up with dealing with one crisis          by increasing access to existing local      Real Men Experience, a program at
after another, making it impossible in         programs and by developing special          LeMoyne-Owen College. Girls and
many cases to establish anything that          CAR-sponsored activities. The activi-       boys met with college student mentors,
could be called a regular pattern of           ties varied widely in intensity, fre-       along with parents and other adult
services.                                      quency, duration, and content, but          volunteers, on Saturdays during the
                                               all offered the youths alternatives to      school year and for 5 weeks during
Programs also found that, although             hanging out without adult supervision       the summer. The sessions focused
parents willingly enrolled their chil-         in neighborhoods rife with gangs and        on self-esteem, conflict resolution, and
dren in CAR, engaging the parents              drug dealers. Recreational activities       decisionmaking, as well as on educa-
themselves in sponsored activities was         included sports, games, arts, crafts,       tion and field trips. In addition, men-
one of the most difficult aspects of the       theater, and music. Peer group activi-      tors were required to telephone their
program to implement successfully.             ties to enhance the youths’ personal        protégés/protégées at least twice a
Although CAR caregivers were signifi-          social development included self-           week and to talk with parents as well.
cantly more likely to report participa-        esteem and life skills workshops;
tion in a parenting class or group than        structured discussions about issues         Education services. CAR programs
caregivers in the control and compari-         such as sex, grooming, and social           offered tutoring and homework assis-
son groups, most did not participate in        problems; and special events to foster      tance to all participating youths and
these activities, which were one of the        cultural identity and pride. The Savan-     referrals to other services as needed,
core components of the CAR model.              nah program was particularly out-           including educational testing and
At all sites, it was common for parents        standing in the last category because       special education classes. Getting
not to follow through on referrals for         it centered on black culture and com-       youths to use tutoring and homework
mental health services or substance            mitment to the principle that “it takes     assistance proved extremely difficult.
abuse treatment, even when they were           a village to raise a child.” Activities     Only one program got more than 50
reminded about appointments. Despite           there included Harambee Circles and         percent of its youth participants to
problems in getting parental participa-        Rites of Passage for youths and 4-day       use afterschool tutoring assistance by
tion, CAR families were significantly          PRAISE (Parents Reclaiming African          offering tutoring in the form of a com-
more likely to participate in indi-            Information for Spiritual Enlighten-        puter lab, games led by local college
vidual, group, or family counseling            ment) workshops for parents.                students, or individual help.
and drug or alcohol treatment than
control and comparison group families.         Mentoring. CAR originally intended          Some programs offered work prepara-
                                               to match any youth participant who          tion opportunities—a potentially
CAR strategies for reducing family             had no caretaking adult in the house-       significant factor in helping youths
risks faced by youths included encour-         hold with a volunteer mentor. Only          succeed—under this core component.
aging family members, particularly             Austin’s program provided this one-to-      These programs offered the youths
caregivers, to take part in organized          one relationship because Big Brothers/      modest stipends for activities such as



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assisting at the local library, working        routes to school. In addition, depend-    collaboratively with the juvenile pro-
up to 10 hours a week in local busi-           ing on the site, community police of-     bation department, shared information
nesses, or participating in vocational         ficers worked with residents on crime     about individual youths, and under-
exploration programs. Austin, for              prevention activities, such as estab-     took joint service planning.
example, offered six job preparation           lishing safe houses and drug-free
choices that youths could sign up for          school zones, attending community         CAR outcomes
at a job fair. A particularly noteworthy       meetings on safety issues, and giving
option was a 5-week summer camp                presentations at CAR family events.       Did CAR increase participation in
offering science and technology train-         Community police officers also worked     services and prosocial activities?
ing. It paid $60 a week and was spon-          directly with youths, serving as role     Compared with youths in the control
sored jointly by CAR, the school               models and mentors in the course of       and comparison groups, CAR youths
system, and the Austin Interfaith              teaching Drug Abuse Resistance Edu-       participated in a significantly higher
Council.                                       cation (D.A.R.E.®), participating in      number of positive activities, such as
                                               recreational programs and special         sports, school clubs, religious groups,
Incentives. CAR specified that case            events, working with case managers        and community-organized programs,
managers and organizers of program             on problems with specific youths,         during the program period. They also
activities were to build in immediate          and occasionally making home visits.      were more likely to report attending a
small rewards for good behavior. Pro-                                                    drug or alcohol prevention program.
gram incentives were incorporated to           The closest collaboration between
reward both participant youths and             CAR and police occurred in cities in      Compared with the control group
family members who cooperated with             which there was high-level police sup-    households, CAR households used
CAR program activities and objec-              port for community policing, the police   more services, including tutoring;
tives. To reward youth participants,           department devoted special attention      mentoring; treatment for drug and
the programs used both monetary and            and resources to the target neighbor-     alcohol abuse; parenting education;
nonmonetary incentives. Monetary               hood and the program, and individual      and individual, group, or family coun-
awards included paying participants            officers considered involvement in        seling. Overall, CAR households used
$10 stipends at the end of each week           planning program activities for the       an average of 3.4 services, compared
if they attended afterschool activities        CAR neighborhood part of their re-        with 2.5 for the control group. CAR
and wrote in their journals each day           sponsibilities. Although ratings of       caregivers also participated in more
and stipends for community service             neighborhood safety or quality at the     kinds of positive activities, such as
performed during summer months.                end of the program were not higher        religious, community, and recreational
Nonmonetary rewards included trips             in CAR areas than in the comparison       activities, than did control group
to sporting events and vouchers for            neighborhoods, youths or their care-      caregivers.
pizza, sports shops, and movies. One           givers in several CAR areas knew          However, the majority of CAR families
program found that involving partici-          more police officers by name and re-      did not report receiving the eight core
pants in decisions about incentives            ported more kinds of positive contacts    program services. Although CAR
effectively maintained their interest          with police.                              nearly doubled the youths’ chances of
in the program. Family incentives that                                                   participating in mentoring and tutoring
were particularly effective included           Criminal and juvenile justice
                                               intervention. Case managers worked        programs and substantially increased
providing food for events in which                                                       their participation in other services,
these extremely poor families were             with criminal and juvenile justice
                                               authorities when CAR youths became        fewer than half of the CAR families
expected to participate.                                                                 reported receiving these services.
                                               involved with the courts. The particu-
Community policing and                         lar intent was to ensure enhanced         These results from the survey of
enhanced enforcement. CAR pro-                 supervision and to provide community      caregivers were consistent with pro-
grams included the direct participa-           service opportunities as a constructive   cess evaluation reports of the difficul-
tion of police officers, in particular,        learning experience for youths in the     ties encountered in getting youths to
increased police presence in and               criminal justice system. Depending        participate voluntarily in tutoring
around school grounds and on major             on the site, case managers worked         programs and establishing stable



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mentoring relationships. Case manage-                   control group. This may lead to higher                        There were few differences between
ment and the recreational and after-                    graduation rates. However, on other                           four CAR neighborhoods and compari-
school activities were the most widely                  measures of educational risk—                                 son areas in the same city in youth or
used CAR services.                                      attachment to school, school atten-                           caregiver reports of safety, policing,
                                                        dance, grades, educational and job                            drug problems, appearance or quality
Did CAR reduce risk factors or                          expectations, and perceptions of dis-                         of life, and other measures designed
enhance protective factors? The                         crepancies between aspirations and                            to reflect improvements in the envi-
evaluation examined risk factors in                     expectations—the CAR youths re-                               ronment. The exception was that CAR
four domains: individual, peer group,                   sembled their peers who did not                               caregivers were far more likely to
family, and neighborhood. The pro-                      receive CAR services.                                         know police officers by name, suggest-
gram achieved reductions in CAR                                                                                       ing the community policing compon-
youths’ peer risk (measured in several                  Family risk factors examined in the                           ent did indeed result in additional
ways) compared with the randomly                        evaluation included family conflict                           contacts with the families.
assigned control group (but not com-                    and violence, lack of parental supervi-
pared with the comparison group of                      sion and disciplinary practices, low                          Did CAR reduce or prevent prob-
youths from other neighborhoods).                       levels of parental attachment and                             lem behaviors? The primary goal
One year after the program ended,                       support, low family cohesion and orga-                        of CAR was to reduce drug use and
CAR youths:                                             nization, and problem behaviors among                         delinquency, and there were several
                                                        parents and older siblings. There was                         indicators of success on these critical
q   Had more positive peer support                      no indication of lower family risk                            outcomes. Compared with youths in
    than youths in the control group.                   among CAR youths either before or af-                         the control group 1 year after the end
q   Associated less often with delin-                   ter participation. The process evalua-                        of the program, CAR youths:2
    quent peers than youths in the                      tion documented substantial problems
                                                        in engaging these multiproblem fami-                          q    Were significantly less likely
    control group.
                                                        lies in services.                                                  to have used drugs in the past
q   Felt less peer pressure to engage in                                                                                   month, including gateway drugs
    delinquent behaviors than youths in
    the control group.                                  Exhibit 1. Percentage of CAR and control youths reporting drug use: Five cities
q   Were less frequently urged by peers
                                                         100
    to behave in antisocial ways than
    youths in the control group.                             90                                                                                          Treatment
                                                                                                                                                          (n=264)*
The evaluation examined individual                           80                                                                      74                   Control
risks in two areas: personal character-                                                                 67                                               (n=236)*
                                                             70                           65                                    64              63
istics and factors related to school per-
                                                             60                                                                            56
                                                Percentage




formance. No significant differences                                                 51            52
in self-esteem, alienation, or risk tak-                     50
ing were found between CAR youths                            40
and youths in the other groups. CAR
                                                             30
youths did not report fewer or less
severe personal problems on questions                        20                                                       14
                                                                            9                                    11
about feeling sad and lonely, getting                        10         5
into trouble at school, or dealing with
serious issues.                                               0
                                                                    Stronger       Gateway      Drug use   Stronger drug Gateway drug     Drug use
                                                                    drug use       drug use   (past month)   use (year     use (year   (year following
CAR youths showed one potentially                                 (past month)   (past month)   p<0.001    following end following end end of program)
important gain in the area of educa-                                 p<0.05        p<0.001                  of program)   of program)      p<0.01
                                                                                                                **ns         p<0.01
tional risk. They were, in the 3 years
since entering CAR, more likely to be                    * Based on cases with available data; not all children in CAR could be tracked.
                                                        ** ns=nonsignificant
promoted in school than youths in the


                                                                                     7
                                     R      e    s   e    a        r    c   h         i   n       B   r   i   e   f


    (marijuana, alcohol, inhalants,                      official detection of delinquents re-        Implementation works best when
    or cigarettes) and stronger drugs                    sulted from greater surveillance of          the lead agency is already part of
    (psychedelics, crack, other cocaine,                 CAR youths, generally low rates of           a wider agency network. The lead
    heroin, or nonmedical prescription                   detection, measurement errors in the         agency in more successful sites had
    drugs). (See exhibit 1.)                             records, or an actual lack of differ-        well-established collaborative relation-
                                                         ences between the two groups.                ships with other agencies prior to the
q   Were significantly less likely to use
                                                                                                      start of the demonstration. CAR ben-
    gateway drugs in the year following                  Because drug use and delinquency             efited from a communitywide service
    the end of the program but no less                   often are part of a pattern that includes    network already in place because
    likely to use stronger drugs in that                 other problem behaviors, the evalua-         agency staff were accustomed to shar-
    year. (See exhibit 1.)                               tion looked for “spillover effects”—         ing ideas, plans, and, in some cases,
q   Were significantly less likely to                    reductions in problem behaviors not          resources.
    have sold drugs, both in the past                    specifically targeted by the program.
    month and at any time, controlling                   However, no significant reductions in        Agency collaboration works best
    for use prior to program entry. (See                 sexual activity, running away, drop-         when the program is horizontally
    exhibit 2.)                                          ping out of school, early pregnancy or       and vertically integrated. Horizon-
                                                         parenthood, or gang membership were          tal integration involves coordination
q   Committed significantly fewer vio-                   found.                                       of services across traditional agency
    lent crimes in the year following                                                                 boundaries. Four primary forms of
    the end of the program but did not                                                                horizontal integration were prominent
                                                         Lessons on program
    commit significantly fewer property                                                               in successful sites: integrated case
    crimes. (See exhibit 3.)                             implementation
                                                                                                      management, in which the staff of
                                                         The central operational goal of CAR          multiple agencies worked together;
The official records from the police
                                                         was to implement a highly collabora-         physical co-location; community orga-
and courts did not reflect a signifi-
                                                         tive program to address problems at          nization; and a culturally grounded
cantly lower likelihood of contact with
                                                         the youth, family, peer group, and           shared vision.
these agencies, lower numbers of con-
                                                         neighborhood levels simultaneously.
tacts, or differences in patterns of
                                                         What lessons do they have for commu-         Vertical integration involves explicit
officially detected criminal activity.
                                                         nities seeking to set up their own           lines of communication up and down
However, it was not clear whether the
                                                         CAR-like programs for at-risk youths?        the chain of authority—frontline staff,
absence of significant differences in
                                                                                                      middle management, and executive
                                                                                                      staff—around issues of policy, fund-
Exhibit 2. Percentage of drug sales for CAR and control youths: Five cities                           ing, and service delivery. Such a
                                                                                                      structure allowed project staff to
                                                                                                      identify concerns and bring them
                              70                                                      Treatment
                                                                                       (n=264)*       to key decisionmakers and allowed
                              60
                                                                                       Control
                                                                                                      issues decided at the top to be trans-
                                            46
                              50                                                      (n=236)*        mitted effectively to line staff for
                 Percentage




                                     37                                                               implementation.
                              40
                                                                       24                             The demonstration found no
                              30
                                                              14                                      evidence that some staffing pat-
                              20
                                                                                                      terns work better than others. The
                              10                                                                      crucial ingredients for operational suc-
                              0                                                                       cess are that the lead agency needs to
                                   Drug sales              Drug sales                                 have a clear collaborative mission and
                                    (lifetime)            (past month)
                                     p<0.05                  p<0.01
                                                                                                      that the program should have clear
                                                                                                      channels of communication across
* Based on cases with available data; not all children in CAR could be tracked.                       agencies and up and down the chain



                                                                                  8
                         R    e    s      e    a     r     c             h           i      n         B        r   i    e      f


of authority. The particular staffing
                                              Exhibit 3. Percentage of criminal activity in the year following the end of the
pattern does not appear to make much          program for CAR and control youths: Five cities
difference as long as these two ingre-
dients are present. A program can                                       50                                                                Treatment
be successful no matter which com-                                      45                                                                 (n=264)*
bination of direct staff, contracted                                    40                                                                  Control
                                                                                                                            34.5
staff, and inkind donated services it                                   35                                                                 (n=236)*




                                                           Percentage
                                                                                                                       28
chooses. These decisions are probably                                   30           26.8

best governed by the characteristics of                                 25    21.9
                                                                                                        19.1
the particular community and program                                    20                       15.7
environment.                                                            15
                                                                        10
                                                                         5
The costs of CAR                                                         0
The average CAR program, when                                                Violent crimes     Property crimes        Any crime
                                                                                 p<0.05              **ns                **ns
operating at full strength, served 90
participants and a similar number of
                                               * Based on cases with available data; not all children in CAR could be tracked.
family members (83) per year at a cost        ** ns=nonsignificant
of $420,000. This amounts to slightly
less than $4,700 a year per youth par-
                                              positive effects of the program on drug                          tal stage of early adolescence. The
ticipant. When family members are in-
                                              use, crime, and risk factors were not,                           answer to whether the substantial in-
cluded, the cost per individual served
                                              for the most part, observed at the end                           vestment in this effort pays long-term
falls to $2,400. As programs gain ex-
                                              of the program. CAR services often                               dividends must await followup. If,
perience, these costs may be reduced.
                                              were intensified following crises in the                         as some studies suggest, increased
Seventy-nine percent of the total was         lives of the youths—school suspen-                               rates of school promotion, reduced
cash outlays. Personnel costs and con-        sion, arrest, or observed drug use. As                           involvement in drug use during early
tractual costs together accounted for         a result, CAR youths who used the                                adolescence, and positive peer influ-
70 percent of the total. The relative         most services were often those who                               ence result in higher rates of high
importance of the two varied among            reported the most significant problem                            school graduation and reduced in-
sites, depending on what proportion           behaviors on the program survey. The                             volvement in the adult criminal justice
of services was delivered by CAR              lesson seems to be that CAR was actu-                            system, then the investment may have
program staff and what proportion was         ally implemented as a secondary pre-                             long-term benefits that outweigh the
contracted out. Other cash costs aver-        vention program, intervening when                                short-term costs.
aged only 8 percent of the total, rang-       youths with few family or other social
ing from 4 percent in Austin to 13            resources got into trouble. CAR pro-                             Notes
percent in Memphis. The rest repre-           vided assistance to offset, rather than                          1. The descriptions are based on the documen-
sented inkind services from CAR part-         remediate, underlying risk factors.                              tation study reports in Hirota, J.M., Children at
nership organizations. The relative           This differs from the original vision of                         Risk: Profiles of a Program at One Year, New
                                              CAR as a primary prevention program                              York: National Center on Addiction and Sub-
shares of cash and inkind resources                                                                            stance Abuse at Columbia University, 1994a;
differed substantially by program, de-        for a group of high-risk youths. How-                            Hirota, J.M., Children at Risk: The Second
pending on local program partnership          ever, it does suggest that a structured                          Year, New York: National Center on Addiction
                                              capacity for responding to problems                              and Substance Abuse at Columbia University,
arrangements.                                                                                                  1994b; and Tapper, D., Children at Risk: Final
                                              immediately—used in combination                                  Report on the Demonstration Program, New
Implications for program                      with services such as afterschool and                            York: National Center on Addiction and Sub-
                                              summer programs that enhance posi-                               stance Abuse at Columbia University, 1996.
development
                                              tive peer group activities—may enable                            2. This analysis of self-reported delinquency
One of the most revealing findings            some high-risk youths to deal with                               included the score on a social desirability scale
from the CAR evaluation was that the          crises during the crucial developmen-                            to control for the tendency to underreport
                                                                                                               deviant behaviors.



                                                                              9
                       R    e    s       e    a    r   c    h         i   n          B   r    i    e     f



Adele Harrell, Ph.D., is director of         DeGraffenreaid of Memphis                   Findings and conclusions of the research re-
the Program on Law and Behavior              Youth Services; Dr. Otis Johnson,           ported here are those of the authors and do
                                                                                         not necessarily reflect the official position or
at the Urban Institute. At the time          Jacqueline Elmore, and Ernest Daily         policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.
this evaluation was conducted,               from the Savannah CAR program;
Shannon Cavanagh was a research              and Mary Ball of the Seattle Depart-
associate at the Urban Institute; she        ment of Youth Services.                         The National Institute of Justice is a com-
presently is pursuing her doctorate                                                          ponent of the Office of Justice Programs,
                                             The authors also thank the staff of             which also includes the Bureau of Justice
in sociology at the University of
                                             the police departments, juvenile                Assistance, the Bureau of Justice Statis-
North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and                                                           tics, the Office of Juvenile Justice and
Sanjeev Sridharan was a research             courts, and school systems in the
                                                                                             Delinquency Prevention, and the Office
associate at the Urban Institute.            CAR cities who provided data for this           for Victims of Crime.
This research was conducted under            evaluation despite other deadlines
cooperative agreement 92–DD–                 and demands on their time.
CX–0031 with the National In-                                                            This and other NIJ publications can be
                                             They also thank the Institute on Law
stitute of Justice, with matching                                                        found at and downloaded from the NIJ
                                             and Justice for sharing its findings on
funds from the National Center on                                                        Web site (http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij).
                                             policing in CAR cities.
Addiction and Substance Abuse,
and grant RO1–08583–02 from the              Dr. Linda Keil and Dr. David Cantor         NCJ 178914
National Institute on Drug Abuse.            of Westat, Inc., led the survey team
                                             that conducted interviews in the tar-
The authors wish to acknowledge
                                             get areas. The authors appreciate the
the contributions of Dennis Campa,
                                             job they did locating and interview-
Lynn Walker, and Susie Ruiz in
                                             ing participating youths and their
Austin; Donna Christensen and
                                             families in high-risk areas under
the staff at the Eastside POST and
                                             stressful conditions.
Bridgeport Youth Futures; Sandra




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                                                                10
                            R    e    s    e    a     r   c     h        i    n          B   r    i   e    f


            Selected National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and Office of Juvenile Justice and
       Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) Publications About Issues Relating to Children at Risk

Listed on pages 11–12 are selected NIJ and OJJDP media products related to the topic addressed by this Research in Brief. Most of
the media products may be obtained free, except as indicated, from the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS): phone
800–851–3420; e-mail askncjrs@ncjrs.org; or write Box 6000, Rockville, MD 20849–6000. When free publications are out of stock,
photocopies are available for a minimal fee or through interlibrary loan. Many of the publications also can be downloaded from either
the National Institute of Justice Web site (www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij) or the NCJRS Web site (www.ncjrs.org).

Altschuler, David M., Reintegrating            Evans, Monte, II, Teens, Crime, and the        Kenney, Dennis, Crime in the Schools: A
Juvenile Offenders Into the Community:         Community, OJJDP Youth in Action Fact          Problem-Solving Approach, NIJ Research
OJJDP’s Intensive Community-Based              Sheet, 1999, YFS–9904.                         in Progress Preview, 1998, FS 000224.
Aftercare Demonstration Program, NIJ
Research in Progress Preview, 1998,            Fagan, Jeffrey, Adolescent Violence: A         Kenney, Dennis Jay, and Steuart Watson,
FS 000234.                                     View From the Street, NIJ Research in          Crime in the Schools: Reducing Conflict
                                               Progress Preview, 1998, FS 000189.             With Student Problem Solving, NIJ
Andrews, Chyrl, Tribal Youth Program,                                                         Research in Brief, 1999, NCJ 177618.
OJJDP Fact Sheet, 1999, FS–99108.              Forming a Multidisciplinary Team To
                                               Investigate Child Abuse, OJJDP Portable        Kilpatrick, Dean, and Benjamin
Browning, Katharine, and David                 Guide, 1998, NCJ 170020.                       Saunders, The Prevalence and Conse-
Huizinga, Highlights of Findings From                                                         quences of Child Victimization, NIJ Re-
the Denver Youth Survey, OJJDP Fact            Greene, Peters, and Associates, in col-        search in Progress Preview, 1997, FS
Sheet, 1999, FS–99106.                         laboration with the Northwest Regional         000179.
                                               Educational Laboratory, Guiding Prin-
Browning, Katharine, David Huizinga,           ciples for Promising Female Program-           Kumpfer, Karol L., and Rose Alvarado,
Rolf Loeber, and Terence P. Thornberry,        ming: An Inventory of Best Practices,          Effective Family Strengthening Interven-
Causes and Correlates of Delinquency           OJJDP Report, 1998, NCJ 173415.                tions, OJJDP Bulletin, 1998, NCJ 171121.
Program, OJJDP Fact Sheet, 1999,
FS–99100.                                      Griffin, Patrick, Developing and Adminis-      Lasley, James, “Designing Out” Gang
                                               tering Accountability-Based Sanctions for      Homicides and Street Assaults, NIJ Re-
Browning, Katharine, and Rolf Loeber,          Juveniles, OJJDP/Juvenile Accountability       search in Brief, 1998, NCJ 173398.
Highlights of Findings From the Pitts-         Incentive Block Grants Bulletin, 1999,
burgh Youth Study, OJJDP Fact Sheet,           NCJ 177612.                                    Lockwood, Daniel, Violence Among
1999, FS–9995.                                                                                Middle School and High School Students:
                                               Hsia, Heidi M., Allegheny County, PA:          Analysis and Implications for Prevention,
Browning, Katharine, Terence P.                Mobilizing To Reduce Juvenile Crime,           NIJ Research in Brief, 1997, NCJ
Thornberry, and Pamela K. Porter, High-        OJJDP Bulletin, 1997, NCJ 165693.              166363.
lights of Findings From the Rochester
Youth Development Study, OJJDP Fact            Hsia, Heidi M., and Donna Bownes, Title        MacKenzie, Lynn Ryan, Residential
Sheet, 1999, FS–99103.                         V: Community Prevention Grants Pro-            Placement of Adjudicated Youth,
                                               gram, OJJDP Fact Sheet, 1998, FS–9889.         1987–1996, OJJDP Fact Sheet, 1999,
Burch, Jim, and Candice Kane, Imple-                                                          FS–99117.
menting the OJJDP Comprehensive Gang           Huff, C. Ronald, Criminal Behavior of
Model, OJJDP Fact Sheet, 1999,                 Gang Members and At-Risk Youths, NIJ           MacKenzie, Lynn Ryan, Detention in
FS–99112.                                      Research in Progress Preview, 1998,            Delinquency Cases, 1987–1996, OJJDP
                                               FS 000190.                                     Fact Sheet, 1999, FS–99115.
Chaiken, Marcia R., Kids, COPS, and
Communities, NIJ Issues and Practices,         Huff, C. Ronald, Comparing the Criminal        Make a Friend—Be a Peer Mentor,
1998, NCJ 169599.                              Behavior of Youth Gangs and At-Risk            OJJDP Youth in Action Bulletin, 1999,
                                               Youths, NIJ Research in Brief, 1998,           NCJ 171691.
Chaiken, Marcia, Youth Afterschool             NCJ 172852.
Programs and Law Enforcement, NIJ                                                             McDonald, Lynn, and Deborah Howard,
Research in Progress Preview, 1997,            Ingersoll, Sarah, Investing in Youth for       Families and Schools Together, OJJDP
FS 000169.                                     a Safer Future, OJJDP Fact Sheet, 1999,        Fact Sheet, 1998, FS–9888.
                                               FS–9998.
Chamberlain, Patricia, Treatment Foster                                                       Mentaberry, Mary, Model Courts Serve
Care, OJJDP Bulletin, 1998, NCJ 173421.        Juvenile Justice Journal (December 1998),      Abused and Neglected Children, OJJDP
                                               OJJDP Journal, 1998, NCJ 173425.               Fact Sheet, 1999, FS–9990.
Cross-Age Teaching, OJJDP Youth in
Action Bulletin, 1999, NCJ 171688.             Kennedy, David M., Juvenile Gun Vio-           Moore, John P., and Craig P. Terrett,
                                               lence and Gun Markets in Boston, NIJ           Highlights of the 1997 National Youth
Devine, Patricia, Kathleen Coolbaugh,          Research in Progress Preview, 1997,            Gang Survey, OJJDP Fact Sheet, 1999,
and Susan Jenkins, Disproportionate            FS 000160.                                     FS–9997.
Minority Confinement: Lessons Learned
From Five States, OJJDP Bulletin, 1998,
NCJ 173420.
                                                                    11
                                R   e     s   e    a    r    c    h        i    n          B   r   i   e    f


1998 Annual Report on School Safety,              Sampson, Robert J., Stephen W.               Juvenile Crime: 1996–97 Update, OJJDP
OJJDP Report, 1998, NCJ 173934.                   Raudenbush, and Felton J. Earls, Neigh-      Bulletin, 1998, NCJ 172835.
                                                  borhood Collective Efficacy—Does It Help
1998 Report to Congress: Juvenile                 Reduce Violence? NIJ Research Preview,       Youth Preventing Drug Abuse, OJJDP
Mentoring Program (JUMP), Program                 1998, FS 000203.                             Youth in Action Bulletin, 1998,
Report, 1998, NCJ 173424.                                                                      NCJ 171124.
                                                  Shelden, Randall G., Detention Diversion
Obeidallah, Dawn A., and Felton J. Earls,         Advocacy: An Evaluation, OJJDP Bulletin,
Adolescent Girls: The Role of Depression in                                                    Selected NIJ Media Products
                                                  1999, NCJ 171155.
the Development of Delinquency, NIJ                                                            Altschuler, David M., Reintegrating
Research Preview, 1999, FS 000244.                Sheley, Joseph F., and James D. Wright,
                                                                                               Juvenile Offenders Into the Community:
                                                  High School Youths, Weapons, and Vio-        OJJDP’s Intensive Community-Based
OJJDP Research: Making a Difference               lence: A National Survey, NIJ Research in
for Juveniles, OJJDP Report, 1999,                                                             Aftercare Demonstration Program, VHS
                                                  Brief, 1998, NCJ 172857.                     videotape, 1998, NCJ 170033, U.S. $19,
NCJ 177602.
                                                  Snyder, Howard N., Juvenile Arrests 1997,    Canada and other foreign countries $24.
Oldenettel, Debra, and Madeline Wordes,           OJJDP Bulletin, 1998, NCJ 173938.
Community Assessment Centers, OJJDP                                                            Dunworth, Terry, Tailoring Law Enforce-
Fact Sheet, 1999, FS–99111.                       Snyder, Howard N., and Melissa               ment Responses to Youth Firearm Violence,
                                                  Sickmund, Juvenile Offenders and             VHS videotape, 1998, NCJ 173958, U.S.
Olds, David, Peggy Hill, and Elissa               Victims: 1999 National Report, OJJDP         $19, Canada and other foreign countries $24.
Rumsey, Prenatal and Early Childhood              Report, 1999, NCJ 178257.
Nurse Home Visitation, OJJDP Bulletin,                                                         Gottfredson, Gary, and Denise
1998, NCJ 172875.                                 Stahl, Anne L., Delinquency Cases in         Gottfredson, School-Based Prevention of
                                                  Juvenile Courts, 1996, OJJDP Fact Sheet,     Problem Behavior: What’s Being Done,
Pete, Shannon, Hands Without Guns,                1999, FS–99109.                              Where, and How Well, VHS videotape,
OJJDP Youth in Action Fact Sheet, 1999,                                                        1999, NCJ 176982, U.S. $19, Canada
YFS–9903.                                         Stahl, Anne L., Juvenile Court Processing    and other foreign countries $24.
                                                  of Delinquency Cases, 1987–1996, OJJDP
Pfeiffer, Christian, Trends in Juvenile           Fact Sheet, 1999, FS–99104.                  Kenney, Dennis, Crime in the Schools:
Violence in European Countries, NIJ                                                            A Problem-Solving Approach, VHS
Research in Progress Preview, 1998,               Stahl, Anne L., Juvenile Vandalism, 1996,    videotape, 1997, NCJ 167882, U.S. $19,
FS 000202.                                        OJJDP Fact Sheet, 1998, FS–9885.             Canada and other foreign countries $24.
Riley, Pam, and Joanne McDaniel, Youth            Stand Up and Start a School Crime            Pfeiffer, Christian, Trends in Juvenile
Out of the Education Mainstream: A North          Watch! OJJDP Youth in Action Bulletin,       Violence in European Countries, VHS
Carolina Profile, OJJDP Bulletin, 1999,           1998, NCJ 171123.                            videotape, 1997, NCJ 167029, U.S. $19,
NCJ 176343.                                                                                    Canada and other foreign countries $24.
                                                  Thornberry, Terence P., Carolyn A.
Roth, Jeffrey, The Detroit Handgun Inter-         Smith, Craig Rivera, David Huizinga, and     Roth, Jeffrey, The Detroit Handgun Inter-
vention Program: A Court-Based Program            Magda Stouthamer-Loeber, Family Dis-         vention Program: A Court-Based Program
for Youthful Handgun Offenders, NIJ               ruption and Delinquency, OJJDP Bulletin,     for Youthful Handgun Offenders, VHS
Research in Progress Preview, 1998, FS            1999, NCJ 178285.                            videotape, 1998, NCJ 171126, U.S. $19,
000231.                                                                                        Canada and other foreign countries $24.
                                                  Torbet, Patricia, and Linda Szymanski,
                                                  State Legislative Responses to Violent


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