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Public Housing Residents Making Their Courtyard Safe From Drugs

NCJ Number
Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions Volume: 8 Issue: 1 Dated: 2008 Pages: 95-115
Richard D. Ager; Reginald Parquet
Date Published
21 pages
This article examines how children and their caretakers experience and manage drug activities in public housing developments.
The findings were consistent with social disorganization/collective efficacy models and defensible space theory, that monitoring children, shared values about parenting, and screening strangers entering the community helped residents establish a safe environment with healthy principles. This pilot study examined how children and their caretakers who lived in public housing experienced and managed drug activities that surrounded them. It was based on findings from two focus groups which also suggested that residents insulated their courtyard neighborhood from outside public housing residents, presumably to minimize competition over resources and restrict what they perceived as negative influences. It is recommended that social work community practitioners tap into the collective efficacy of these types of neighborhoods examined to help the broader public housing community. The work was conducted in the C.J. Peete Housing Development in New Orleans, LA, and the information derived from the conduct of two focus groups. One group was comprised of seven African-American children; the other group was comprised of four African-American women who were caretakers of children in the development. The study used an interpretive framework based on the meanings the participants gave to their conditions and everyday experiences. The work was said to have limited application to the broader population, due to the subjective nature of the focus group circumstances, but did corroborate other findings in existing literature. Table, note and references