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Process Evaluation of Juvenile Programming: Evidence for the Importance of Examining Program Implementation Using Multiple Methodologies

NCJ Number
Journal for Juvenile Justice and Detention Services Volume: 18 Issue: 1-2 Dated: Fall 2003 Pages: 125-141
Nicole T. Flynn; Roma S. Hanks; David A. Bowers Jr.
Date Published
17 pages
This article describes the process evaluation of the Intensive Aftercare Program (IAP) operating at two Boys and Girls Clubs of South Alabama (BGCSA).
Aftercare services are critically important to keeping delinquent youth out of trouble after they are released from detention. The IAP was developed to incorporate community-based services within a residential detention setting; the goal was to fill the gap in services often found between residential settings and community reintegration. The Mobile County Juvenile Court and the BGCSA developed the Network Aftercare System (NAS) in their juvenile justice system. The NAS began implementing the IAP model during the winter of 2001 in two of its programs: the GROWTH program for girls and the Camp Martin Youth Leadership Academy (CMLYA) program for boys. The current process evaluation focused on how the programs were planned, how they were implemented, and how they were practiced on a day-to-day basis. Data were drawn from focus groups with staff, case managers, and aftercare counselors; from interviews with administrators and program directors; and from notes from monthly and weekly staff meetings and agency director meetings. Qualitative findings indicate that improving communication between case managers and aftercare counselors should be a priority, as well as communication between lead agencies and community partners. Quantitative data revealed that of the 116 youth observed during the study period, 47 percent were referred for probation violations. Important implementation issues observed included the high rate of staff turnover and the lack of communication with community partners. These evaluation findings should help inform program rigor and contextualize outcome evaluation measures. Figures, tables, references