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Assessing a Residential Treatment Program in the Context of Rhode Island's Juvenile Justice Reforms

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2017
63 pages
This study examined differences in the effectiveness of a Rhode Island residential school and rehabilitation program for adjudicated boys (Ocean Tides facility) both before and after the State's commitment around 2006 to a radical diminishment of the institutionalization of adjudicated youth in favor of community-based and in-home case management.
The study examined a large database of information on the 2,053 boys who resided at Ocean Tides for treatment and care from 1975 through 2015. The boys resided at Ocean Tides 5 days a week and spent weekends in their family homes. Over the study period, the focus was on changes in the sample of boys while in residence after 2006 for the following variables related to problematic behaviors. Attention was given to boys in the sample who had experienced child abuse or exposure to violence at home, since their families may not be suitable for compliance with outpatient treatment programs that do not involve being in residence outside the home. The study concludes that Ocean Tides administrators, staff, teachers, social workers, and consultants have done a remarkable job in providing needed care for their residents even though the State's commitment to reducing the institutionalization of adjudicated youth since 2006 has reduced program support. Boys in the Ocean Tides program were just as likely to complete the program as before, and most of their problematic behaviors remained approximately the same while in residence after 2006 when the reform began. The most striking finding was the reduction in violent behavior among boys whose violent behavior was related to child abuse and exposure to violence between adults in the home. For these boys, violence while in the program decreased significantly. The study concludes that well-resourced residential programs must be available for those youth who cannot be properly served or protected while remaining at home. 18 tables and 33 references

Date Published: July 1, 2017