Could Things Have Gotten Much Worse?
Friday nights are usually pretty busy for the Hill-top Police Department. There were two officers on duty. At about 11:00 p.m., a call was received concerning a burglary in progress. A resident living near the edge of town reported that someone was in his detached garage. Both officers responded and discovered Alex hiding behind some boxes in the rear of the garage. He told officers that he was just looking for a place to sleep for the night. When he was searched, a set of new spark plugs was found in one of his pockets. He then told the officers that he had picked them up from the workbench in the garage. It was also determined that Alex had broken the lock off the rear door of the garage to gain entry. Alex was arrested and transported to the police station located in the basement of the City Hall building.
On the way to the station, Alex told Officer Smith that he was 15 years old and that his father had thrown him out of the house several days earlier and told him that he was not welcome back ever. Officer Smith knew a little about the family, that Alexs mother had died about a year ago and that his two older sisters had moved to another State several years earlier. Alex had been living alone with his father since the death of his mother and his father had a reputation for having a short fuse and that he often drank heavily especially after his wife died. Officer Smith called the house but no one answered the phone. A few minutes later, Officer Wellstone radioed back stating that Alexs house was dark and no one answered the door when he knocked.
Officer Smith then needed to determine what he was going to do with Alex. It was now past 12:30 a.m. There was no parent at home and no other relatives living in or near Hilltop. Hilltop does not have a juvenile detention facility or a youth shelter. The county seat of Pine County was in Pinecrest - 50 miles away. There is not a detention or shelter facility there, neither only a very old county jail building that also housed the county sheriffs office. Officer Smith called his chief to ask for instructions.
Chief Gunderson was not happy to receive the call. Earlier that day, he and two other chiefs of police from Pine County communities had met with the sheriff to discuss the issue of handling juveniles who needed detention or shelter care. The sheriff told them that he had talked with the Chair of the County Board about this issue but had been told that there was no funding available to develop a program to respond to the problem. The only answer was to take the youth to the regional detention center about 150 miles away. That was almost a 3-hour drive one way. To take a youth there or to pick up a youth uses almost all of an 8-hour shift for an officer. The sheriff told the chiefs that he had tried to address the problem without success, so now it would be up to them to figure out how to deal with youngsters picked up in their communities. The chiefs indicated that they felt it was the Countys responsibility to deal with these youth but the sheriff steadfastly maintained that it was not his problem. Furthermore, he stated that he did not have enough deputies to supervise the youth at the sheriffs office nor to transport them to he regional detention center anyway. They tried to reach the county attorney to get his opinion on the matter but he had left for the weekend at noon to go fishing. His secretary said she would have him call them back on Monday. Chief Gunderson decided to set up a test case. He directed Officer Smith to drive Alex to the sheriffs office in Pinecrest and turn him over to the custody of the deputy on duty. When they arrived, the only deputy on duty was out on patrol and the adult detention officer stated that he had no authority to take custody of a 15-year-old. Besides, he pointed out there was no way in the old jail building to provide the required sight and sound separation from the three adult male prisoners already in custody. The detention officer called the sheriff at home it was now 2:30 a.m. Sheriff Rogers was also upset and instructed the detention officer that he was not to take custody of the youth and told him he was to inform the deputy, if he came in, that he was not to take custody either. Officer Smith called his chief at home one more time. Chief Gunderson told him to remain in the vehicle with Alex in front of the jail until the sheriff arrived. He then proceeded to call Sheriff Rogers. A short time later, Officer Smith received a radio transmission telling him to return to Hilltop with Alex and wait at the station with him until morning.
By Monday, all law enforcement officials in the county were aware of the Alex story and of the stand-off between Chief Gunderson and Sheriff Rogers. By noon, the county social services director had called the sheriff wanting to know why this problem had not been discussed with her long before tensions had risen to this level. The county attorney, back from his fishing trip, entered the conversation. He told the sheriff that there was a good chance that this was, in fact, going to end up being his responsibility but asked why he had not been contacted earlier about the problem. Before the day was over, the juvenile court judge, two school superintendents, the countys public defender, and the administrator of the local hospital had all joined the discussion. The county board chair came to the sheriffs office and wanted to know why things had gotten so far out of hand and why no one had taken responsibility earlier to set up a plan for this type of situation. He asked the sheriff what he planned to do. Sheriff Rogers reminded the board chair that they had talked about this issue only a few weeks ago and that the chairperson had told him that the kids would just have to be taken to the regional detention center. By this time, there were lots of hard feelings, lots of blame being passed around, and lots of embarrassment on the part of many officials.
By mid-week, the countys weekly newspaper had published an editorial criticizing county and city officials on how the situation had been handled. The editorial also was critical of them for not having undertaken any type of needs assessment or planning process to address the issue since it was obviously not a new problem. It was also the hottest topic on the local radio stations Noontime Open Mike program all week.
The local ministerial association convened a meeting the following week to try to sort out the problem and to try to begin a positive process to address it. It was clear that there were many fences that needed to be mended before meaningful planning could begin. Even the ministers and priests upset some people the pastor of the Pinecrest Lutheran Church received phone calls from several of her parishioners asking why no parents had been invited to participate in the meeting.
At last word, almost everybody was still angry with almost everybody else.
In the meanwhile, the county attorney talked to the owner of the garage and conferred with the Police Chief of Hilltop. No formal charges were ever brought against Alex. He voluntarily repaired the garage door and tuned up the owners power lawn mower. With the assistance of one of the countys social workers, arrangements were made for him to live with his sister and her husband halfway across the country. Alex is now doing well in school, has a part-time job working for a mechanic, and excels at repairing problems with older cars.
A long-time observer of the local political scene was overheard at coffee at the Corner Café in Pinecrest observing, Its a good thing that this is not an election year in Pine County!
The success of any new project or program lies with the quality of the planning involved. The strategic planning process that is outlined in this chapter provides a cornerstone for program planning, development, and implementation. A careful planning process will assist in defining the community problem, establishing the need for a program, and developing stronger programs that are more likely to yield positive results. Following a strategic planning process for program development makes it easier for those involved in program implementation to identify the goals of the program and follow through on tasks and activities. Although essential for programs in development, the planning process also can be helpful for existing juvenile holdover programs that are looking to initiate new or enhance existing program practices and operations.
Juvenile holdover programs can provide benefits to several community agencies such as law enforcement, juvenile courts, and juvenile probation offices. The strategic planning process provides an opportunity for multiple community agencies to be involved in a collaborative process allowing the program development through a community effort. Whatever the size of the community, creating partnerships between people and agencies who have a stake in the particular community is important for program success. Figure 2-1 provides a realistic reminder for working in community partnerships.
2-1: Planning and Reality
Source: Promoting Community Change: Making It Happen in the Real World (Homan, 1999)
Identifying and gaining the support of stakeholders is critical. Collecting the needed supportive data, reviewing relevant public policy, and determining what resources may already exist are also important planning steps. By the conclusion of this chapter, the readers will be able to:
a Needs and Resource Assessment
Programs that have at their foundation the goal of addressing an identified community problem have a greater probability of achieving success and securing a broad-based commitment to the program (Bureau of Justice Assistance, 1998). Therefore, a crucial first step in the strategic planning process is the assessment of community needs and resources. A needs and resource assessment helps communities identify their problems and also helps reveal how the problems are perceived among various constituency groups. It also provides the foundation for building a program that is defensible, measurable, and fundable (National Association of Governors Highway Safety Representatives, 2000). The focus of the needs and resource assessment will include:
Information received through a needs and resource assessment can yield information that will help determine:
And Involving Stakeholders
In general, a stakeholder is a person or entity that is likely to be supportive of the program (e.g., financially, politically, or programmatically), has knowledge or skills needed to assist the program, and/or will benefit (directly or indirectly) from the services being provided by the program. Stakeholders also include those who may be opposed to the implementation of a program. Three key reasons for involving stakeholders in the planning process are:
Because of their backgrounds and experiences, stakeholders often will have unique points of view. Program organizers should assess the ideas, interests, and attitudes of each stakeholder prior to initiating contact and soliciting support. A stakeholder analysis is a systematic process that assists program developers in (1) determining who are the key stakeholders for their program, and (2) understanding the most effective use of stakeholders time, knowledge, and resources. The following are critical questions to ask when conducting a stakeholder analysis (Crowe and Schaefer, 1992; Dickinson, 1996):
A list of potential stakeholders for a juvenile holdover program can be found in Figure 2-2. It should be noted that this list is not exhaustive and each community will need to examine their own community makeup to determine who the key stakeholders are and what their potential impact upon the juvenile holdover program may be. When considering potential stakeholders, two perspectives are important.
The following section identifies and examines some of the potential benefits and possible contributions of individuals and organizations that should be considered when conducting a stakeholder analysis.
and Family Court Judges
Juvenile and family court judges require a range of appropriate options, both nonsecure and secure, for placement of youth under the courts jurisdiction. Having a full continuum of detention services available allows the court to make decisions to better meet the immediate needs of the youth, while maintaining community safety. Allowing a youth to remain in a local program makes scheduling hearings much easier: Maintaining local control is an important concern for the court. A juvenile holdover program operated in and by the community often means that important decisions about the policies and operations of the program are made locally, allowing the judges much more direct and meaningful input.
In addition, juvenile holdover programs can collect and quickly provide important information about the youth and his or her family to the court, which assists judges in making more appropriate decisions regarding the youth.
Judges usually have a great deal of influence over the types of programs that will operate and receive support in their jurisdictions. Therefore, support from the bench is essential to the development and operation of any juvenile holdover program. Judges are policymakers as well as individual case decisionmakers. Their perspective of the needs of the court can influence policy and funding sources such as county boards or commissions.
Like the judiciary, support and endorsement from law enforcement administrators is critical to the development, operation, and the ability to sustain juvenile holdover programs. However, of equal importance is the support from patrol officers who are the most frequent users of a juvenile holdover program (i.e., referral source) and are most directly affected by the lack of temporary short-term holding options. A juvenile holdover program can respond to one of officers most basic concerns: a safe place to which they can transfer the care of a youth quickly and efficiently. Furthermore, time savings is a significant benefit for law enforcement officers. Juvenile holdover programs can substantially reduce the time an officer must spend performing custodial duties or transporting the youth to a juvenile detention or shelter care facility in another jurisdiction, city, or county.
Because they are the primary referral source, law enforcement officers acceptance and utilization of the program is the single most important variable in assuring the long-term viability of a juvenile holdover program. Patrol officers have a significant level of autonomy and a great deal of discretion in making field decisions. If they see a juvenile holdover program as helpful to them and good for youth, they will use it. If it is not perceived as meeting their needs or providing the types of services that they feel are important, they simply will not utilize the resource.
Law enforcement officers are also an important source of information when making decisions about the youth the program should accept as referrals (i.e., appropriate target population), how to access the program in a timely manner (i.e., intake procedures), security measures, and statistical information that will assist in the needs assessment. In addition, the law enforcement agency may be a potential physical location for the holdover program or a viable entity to administrative operate the program.
Justice System Officials
Prosecutors, defense attorneys, guardians ad litem, court appointed special advocates, juvenile probation officers, and court administrators are all important potential stakeholders. Local community programs providing alternatives to secure detention, such as a juvenile holdover program, create easier access to youth for those who must interact with them as a part of the court process. For example, most of these individuals have a need to interview youth and this is accomplished with easier access if the youth is placed in a community setting where the court is based. Having a youth housed locally means that juvenile justice system officials have easier access and can schedule hearings on a more timely and flexible basis. When officials need to meet with the youths parents, it is much easier to facilitate at a local site rather than one located many miles away. Also, in a local program, youth advocates can more readily see that youth are safe and that comprehensive, competent services will be provided locally and in a timely manner.
Collectively, the support of justice system professionals is necessary to implement a juvenile holdover program and sustain it once it has opened. They can provide valuable input to the planning process because they are familiar with the internal operations and issues critical to the local juvenile justice system and available resources in the community. They also can serve as an excellent resource for members of governing bodies or advisory groups.
and Adult Detention Workers
Having a continuum of detention and shelter care resources makes custodial holding of youth much easier. Youth do not have to be held in facilities that are not matched to their needs. Those with custodial responsibilities must assure that youth are safe. This means extra vigilance if more vulnerable youth are forced to be placed with those more sophisticated. Extraordinary measures must often be taken by detention and/or corrections officers in facilities designed to serve adults when they must develop and maintain ways to assure sight and sound separation in sites never designed for that purpose. When used inappropriately, these facilities are out of compliance with federal core requirements, and they potentially put some of the youth in their custody at unnecessary risk to their physical safety and emotional wellbeing. The liability implications are considerable.
Having a juvenile holdover program in the community removes some of the burdens from those who already have tremendous responsibilities for the welfare and security of individuals in their custody. Juvenile and adult detention workers or corrections officers may also be given the task of transporting juveniles long distances between regional detention, shelter care facilities, and the community in which court jurisdiction resides. For some, the duty may be a burden, so the implementation of a juvenile holdover program may be received favorably. For others, however, this duty is something that generates extra personal income for the individual doing the transporting and may be a desirable benefit. The establishment of a juvenile holdover program may also have a negative impact on the revenue of the county that collects rental fees by offering detention or shelter services to neighboring counties. Therefore, it is important for program planners to understand the possible personal and fiscal implications for various stakeholders.
Juvenile and adult detention workers are excellent sources of information for policy development and operational design of a program, as many issues are legally and functionally the same in all of these custodial settings. They also can voice other concerns that must be considered, such as issues of job security and compensation practices.
Juvenile crime is a significant concern in most communities. City, county, and state elected officials are under considerable pressure to develop cost-effective strategies to address and control problems within their jurisdictions. Elected officials are the primary policy makers in this area. They establish legislative require-ments and priorities. They also determine what resources will be funded and at what level. Elected officials must balance the desires of their constituents with the responsibility to provide quality services that are responsive to the needs of juvenile offenders. Sometimes, these two forces are in opposition. For some elected officials, control of juvenile crime translates into aggressive measures such as advocating legislation and policies that increase the use of and need for secure juvenile detention centers. However, the lack of bed space or the long distances between the local court and the available juvenile detention center or shelter care beds is a frustrating reality that sometimes makes the implementation of this type of policy difficult.
The capital costs for constructing secure juvenile detention centers, particularly the per bed construction cost and the average daily operating cost of a small facility are extremely high. It can be very difficult to justify this level of expense if taxpayers are pressuring their elected officials to reduce the scope of government programs and reduce taxes.
Elected officials are charged with conducting governmental activities in compliance with State legislation, and in addition they must monitor compliance with the JJDP Act (e.g., sight and sound separation, jail removal, and detention restrictions for status offender requirements). Noncompliance to the core requirements of the JJDP Act can result in a significant reduction in the amount of funds a State can seek through the JJDP Act formula Grants Program. The loss or reduction of Federal funds received by a State has an impact on the States budget and creates a ripple effect for programs all across that State. Juvenile holdover programs offer government officials a reasonable alternative for detaining youth and providing needed shelter resources as well as a means for coming into (or staying in) compliance with Federal requirements. Compliance translates into dollars.
and Local Administrators
Representatives to appointed agencies that establish priorities and master plans for juvenile justice and youth-service needs in a State or local jurisdiction and their staff are also important stakeholders. In addition, to their knowledge of the State master plan, they often have the authority to distribute Federal block grant funds or State appropriated funds.
The process for obtaining appropriate permits and licenses to operate juvenile holdover programs is often cumbersome and confusing, and a positive relationship with the members and staff of licensing agencies and organizations can be beneficial. It is also important to remember that concepts of a juvenile holdover program often do not fit neatly within the rules and/or regulations established for more traditional licensed programs for juveniles, (e.g. juvenile detention, shelter care facilities). The support of these organizations for rule revisions, flexibility, or exemptions often makes the difference between implementing a program as planned, adapting a program to fit established criteria, or abandoning a good idea or strategy because it is not presently compatible with regulatory structures.
and Childrens Service, Mental Health, and Medical Service Providers
Child welfare agencies, family service agencies, community mental health programs, and medical services providers all deal with youth and families in crisis. They also possess tremendous knowledge and expertise and have access to resources that can be extremely useful during the planning process, as well as after implementation. Youth placed in a juvenile holdover program are often in crisis. These agencies can provide program organizers, staff, or volunteers with training and information on assessing and screening youth and intervening or making appropriate referrals for mental health, medical, drug and alcohol, and family functioning concerns. They can also provide or help the juvenile holdover staff obtain urgent mental health, detoxification, or medical services for youth placed in the juvenile holdover program.
The client population of a juvenile holdover program and the local school system is almost always a shared population. Schools have responsibilities, interests, and information regarding their students. School administrators and teachers often know youth and families well and have information that can be valuable to those working with youth placed in a juvenile holdover program. They generally have common concerns related to a youth who is placed in a juvenile holdover program and have a vested interest in seeing positive outcomes for the youth and his or her family. Finally, in many jurisdictions, schools may have a responsibility to provide educational services and resources for youth in juvenile holdover programs, especially for programs that have the ability to hold a youth for more than 24 hours. Even if the time involved in placement of youth excuses schools from the provision of formal services, they have materials and expertise that can be tapped by program planners and staff to make productive use of a young persons time while in the program.
of the Community
The youth of the community, their parents and families, the business community, the faith community, media, and civic and service organizations are also important stakeholders. Youth and parents often have the most accurate perception and understanding of their needs and what type of system response would have the highest probability for success. Because they are not professionals, it is often easy for programs to overlook their expertise in the planning, implementation, and development process. Business leaders are interested in supporting programs that showcase their area as a safe and vital community and increase the opportunities for new business to locate in the area. Churches, synagogues, mosques, and other faith organizations as well as civic and service organizations such as Kiwanis, Rotary, and Lions Clubs have a strong predisposition to help in undertakings that benefit family and youth. They can serve communicate needs and potential responses that are identified or being developed within a community. The faith community and civic organizations also offer a solid base of organized community support and a large pool of potential individual and organizational volunteers. Media support not only provides the public information regarding the development and implementation of the program but assists in recruiting community volunteers and staff.
Method For Conducting Stakeholder Analysis
A number of years ago, Kurt Lewin, a psychologist, described a technique known as force field analysis. The positions of key stakeholders represent contending forces. Some of these forces drive a program toward its goal; others drive a program away from its goal. A state of tension often exists, producing a dynamic situation as forces act on one another. At any given moment, these forces are in relative balance; this balance represents the current state of affairs (Homan, 1999).
Using this concept, it is possible to develop a picture of the forces (i.e., stakeholders) in your community that are supportive of a juvenile holdover program and those that are opposed. Some forces may emerge as neutral interested without a strong position for or against the development of a juvenile holdover program.
The following steps outline a process to assist program organizers or staff in conducting a force field analysis for stakeholder support.
Step 1: List all stakeholders for the juvenile holdover program. Remember to include stakeholders not generally considered to be a part of the justice system, such as media and the faith community.
Step 2: Place all of those stakeholders who will likely support the juvenile holdover plan in a column labeled positive forces (+).
Step 3: Rank all of the positive forces in order of the intensity of their support and the strength of their influence on other stakeholders.
Step 4: Place all of those stakeholders who will likely oppose the juvenile holdover plan in a column labeled negative forces (-).
Step 5: Rank all of the negatives forces in order of the intensity of their opposition and the strength of their influence on other stakeholders.
Step 6: In the middle column, list all those stakeholders who are essentially neutral and whose support is desired.
Step 7: For each stakeholder in the positive force (+) column, identify all of the actions that could be taken to increase the level of that stakeholders support.
Step 8: For each stakeholder in the negative force (-) column, identify all of the actions that could be taken to decrease the level of that stakeholders opposition.
Step 9: For all of the stakeholders in the neutral column, identify all of the actions that could be taken that might influence them to support the juvenile holdover plan.
Step 10: From all of the actions listed determine which would increase the influence of the positive forces, decrease the influence of the negative forces, and develop support among those identified as neutral. Use this information to create an action plan for contacting and eliciting stakeholder support.
It is helpful to choose several strategies that appear to have the most potential impact. Time and resources often are limited, therefore it is important to focus and prioritize efforts. It may be that a strong stakeholder who ranks high in opposition toward the program cannot be influenced easily. Perhaps, that reality should be acknowledged and efforts directed toward key stakeholders ranked with a less intense opposition to the program. An action plan should be developed that clearly specifies the tasks to be completed. It should identify who has the responsibility for completing each task, and the time frame in which the task will be initiated and completed. chapter 9, Assuring Your Success, provides a sample action plan format.
And Organizing Data
Securing demographic data is a key role in a needs and resources assessment. It gives program organizers information that can help them determine the current extent of the problem(s) in a community; assist them in determining where the coalition, agency, or organization wants to be in the future; and provide them with an understanding of what they will need to do to achieve their goal(s) (National Association of Governors Highway Safety Representatives, n.d.). Data needs to be collected from a variety of sources to reveal the extent of the problem and existing resources. Potential agencies that may be helpful sources for data collection and suggested ways data can be solicited may be found in Figure 2-3.
The following data may be useful in a needs and resources assessment for a juvenile holdover program. Program organizers or staff will need to determine the time frame for which data should be collected (e.g., current or past year, or for a summary of the past five years):
In addition to statistical data, descriptive information on how the current system operates needs to be collected. Some questions to guide this process include:
See chapter 9, Assuring Your Success, Activity 1 Worksheet for additional assistance in defining the problem by describing the current system, determining the types of statistical data to be collected in a needs and resource assessment, the identification of key stakeholders, and a sample survey for law enforcement officers.
Economic Data for Long-Term Planning
A strategic planning process that includes fiscal data provides the appropriate information for long-term planning, (e.g., census figures). Such data will help determine the number of juveniles projected for a particular geographic area and economic demographics that will provide employment for the region. If program organizers and staff collect data regarding the positive or negative growth indicators for the community these two numbers will provide data regarding the resources that will be needed and whether tax-based funding will be available over a period of time. The economic indicators will note whether there will be more jobs (growing economy) potentially taking both parents out of the home and leaving little parental support or (declining economy) where jobs are scarce and potentially creating financial hardships for families.
a Public Policy Review
A review of the jurisdictions State or local laws and regulations on juvenile detention and shelter care is necessary to develop a program that conforms to state or local standards. Figure 2-4 provides a list of types of public policy that program organizers and staff may want to review. This type of information also may reveal gaps where laws need to be strengthened, modified, or created. In addition to state laws and regulations, it is important for program organizers to become familiar with federal requirements related to the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974. State facility licensing agencies, a state juvenile advisory group, the state juvenile justice specialist, the states attorney or attorney general, and corrections officials are a few sources that may have access to this type of information.
In addition to formal policy review, identifying and assessing the various attitudes of stakeholders toward the use of alternative detention services is extremely important in the planning process (e.g., nonsecure vs. secure facilities, holding of status and nonstatus offenders in the same facility or room). For example, if local law enforcement and the courts are supportive of a juvenile holdover program, there is greater likelihood it will be funded and used. Thus, it is imperative that the needs and attitudes of the juvenile justice system personnel be closely examined before a determination is made to develop a juvenile holdover program. If program organizers believe that the attitudes and opinions of the court and local law enforcement toward detention are not consistent with the philosophy behind a juvenile holdover program, training seminars could be developed and presented or focus groups could be convened to share information and offer persons a chance to voice different perspectives and possibly reach a consensus.
Another key component of a needs and resources assessment is assembling information on resources that are already available in the community. This will help program organizers avoid duplicating or overlapping services unnecessarily. It also will present information needed to determine how some of the needs that are identified in the assessment process may be fulfilled through the use of existing resources, as well as provide information on services or resources the juvenile holdover program may be able to access or use. Program organizers or staff may want to look for community resources such as emergency shelters, foster care, intake and assessment centers, medical and mental health facilities, and mentoring programs.
an Initial Planning Group
Early in the planning process it will be necessary to establish an initial working or planning group. There are numerous advantages to this approach. Involving representatives with various areas of expertise helps bring fresh and diverse perspectives to the process, thus yielding more reliable and credible information upon which to build a foundation for the program. In addition, tasks can be divided and distributed among committee members, allowing an opportunity for more contacts to be made and more resources in the community to be identified (Crowe and Schaefer, 1992).
This initial working or planning group may be called a committee, coalition, task force, advisory group, work group, or any of several other operational titles. The role and authority of this group must be clearly defined, understood, and accepted by all participants. It must be clear whether it will be advisory in nature (e.g., providing recommendations on policy and design issues to another body or individual who will make the decisions) or whether it will have decision making status and the authority to make implementation and operational decisions. If it will have decision making authority, the scope and parameters of that authority need to be clearly defined.
Another option to consider is to identify a currently functioning group, such as the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CACA), that could and would be willing to take on the task of developing a juvenile holdover program. Other likely candidates would include a youth services coordinating committee, a juvenile justice coordinating council, a safe community planning committee, or an underage drinking coalition. Questions to examine when considering having an existing group or coalition take on this task include: Does this group have the appropriate interest, membership, time, and support to develop and implement the juvenile holdover program? Is the interested group/coalition regarded positively by the community? Does the group/coalition have a history of successful planning endeavors? Does the group/coalition have a positive reputation among community members?
Regardless of what type of group or coalition is chosen to be responsible for planning, developing, and implementing the juvenile holdover program, it needs to be inclusive and representative of all significant stakeholders, yet small enough to work effectively (e.g., five - 10 members). Committee members should be selected according to the skills and knowledge they can bring to the process. In the early stages of group formation, consider choosing members with the following characteristics, background, and/or experience:
Attempts also should be made to ensure that the committee reflects the geographic, racial, and ethnic diversity of the community (Knepper, 1994).
Some communities may have language barriers and cultural differences that require different techniques for developing juvenile holdover program and obtaining the support from the community (Godwin, Steinhart, and Fulton,1998). When working with individuals from different cultures, it should be recognized that there are significant variations concerning personal and family relations, values, and traditions related to youth. If these differences are not recognized, it can lead to conflict, a lack of responsiveness, and distrust (National Crime Prevention Council, 1986). Figure 2-5 provides some initial steps to consider when working with different cultural groups.
Source: Maintaining Neighborhood Watch Programs (National Crime Prevention Council, 1986)
There are several other important considerations when establishing an initial working or advisory group. For example, staff support can help working or advisory groups to function effectively. Staff support can be used to record proceedings of the meetings, keep a record of decisions, prepare periodic progress or status reports, complete basic literature and program review searches, and assist with data collection and compilation. This type of support assistance can be provided by an official representative (e.g., volunteer or staff member) from an agency with an early commitment to developing a juvenile holdover program within the jurisdiction.
It is also important to identify who could be the potential champion for this project. Who will take the lead? This is not necessarily the visible spokesperson or public image figure. It could be that individual or agency that has a demonstrated commitment to the problem and the energy and clout to lead the necessary work often by example. Without such a leader, it becomes much more difficult to keep the project focused and moving forward.
Juvenile holdover programs cost money. They may be significantly less costly than secure detention alternatives; however, supervision is costly and some level of funding will be required. The program has relatively little chance of being successfully initiated or sustained without determining the costs of beginning and operating the program. It is important that the cost projections be realistic and carefully calculated. The needs identified must be comprehensive and include all potential expenses. The assistance of individuals with the appropriate financial expertise should be solicited during this process. Inaccurate, incomplete, or unrealistic cost projections undermine the credibility of the planning process. Policymakers and funding sources want valid fiscal information that is not subject to continual revisions. A preliminary budget should be developed that includes a projection of start-up and operating costs.
Initial start-up costs for a juvenile holdover program would include:
Operating costs that must be calculated for a juvenile holdover program would include:
Once costs have been carefully calculated, it will be necessary to determine possible sources of funding. Jurisdictions are urged to be as creative as possible in determining potential sources of fiscal support. Possible options to consider include:
The time spent in planning sets the stage for the implementation and development of effective and efficient programs. The initial step in the planning process is to determine the problem by looking at the current system, identifying the strengths and weaknesses of that system, developing a plan for needed changes, and implementing the plan in a comprehensive manner. Planning, developing, and implementing any new program design requires a solid foundation. Effective juvenile holdover programs are developed with the identification and assistance of key stakeholders, statistical and descriptive information of a needs and resources assessment, review of public policy, community collaboration in the review of existing resources, and delineation of not only the possible cost of the program but types of funding sources that may be available. Taking the time to collect data and conduct interviews with stakeholders may be time consuming, but the effort will be rewarded by the development and implementation of a program designed that has the highest prognosis for success.