Chapter 1: The Technical Assistance Process

Technical assistance may be delivered and received in many different ways. Its purpose may include any of the following (American University Courts Technical Assistance Project, 1992:2):

  • To identify a problem.
  • To address a problem that is already identified.
  • To provide an objective evaluation of a problem.
  • To investigate the feasibility of a new policy or procedure.
  • To address a sensitive issue that needs an impartial perspective.
  • To aid in examining the effects of a new statute, rule, or procedure.

Regardless of the specific purpose for technical assistance, it usually is required because a change is needed or already has occurred. Changing jurisdictional or program policies and practices is an arduous task. If you are a juvenile justice professional reading this manual, you probably have identified a condition, problem, or issue within your jurisdiction or program that you believe needs to be addressed. Most likely, you think you will need some assistance to bring about the change that is required.

This chapter provides a process overview for:

  • Providing leadership to achieve change.
  • Identifying problems or needs.
  • Involving appropriate people in the technical assistance process.
  • Developing a technical assistance plan or request.
  • Selecting technical assistance resources.
  • Utilizing technical assistance.
  • Managing jurisdictional or program changes.
  • Learning how the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) may help in the technical assistance process.

The intent of this manual is to empower juvenile corrections and other juvenile justice professionals to actively address and solve problems and efficiently use technical assistance resources to the best advantage. For jurisdictions or programs that are requesting onsite or longer term technical assistance, reading this chapter and completing the related questions and activities will assist juvenile justice professionals to:

  • Articulate the problem for which assistance is needed.
  • Form a planning group.
  • Determine the type of assistance needed.
  • Develop a technical assistance request, if needed.
  • Use technical assistance effectively.

The following activities in the technical assistance process are presented separately for clarity. However, in reality, they likely will be intermingled, with each activity depending on and being affected by the others. Please see the Technical Assistance Plan to help you think about the following areas and apply them to your jurisdiction or program.

Chapter 1 Contents

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Jurisdictional Technical Assistance Package for Juvenile Corrections Report - December 2000