The Status of IAP Implementation in the Sites

Each of the IAP sites underwent a 6- to 18-month planning period prior to implementation. During this time, Drs. Altschuler and Armstrong provided site staff with intensive training on the model's rationale and components. They also provided technical assistance on design and implementation issues. Then, as now, the model had a strong conceptual appeal for administrators and staff. It made intuitive sense to people, and it addressed what they had identified as critical problems for parole in their respective agencies. However, the sites all had difficulties—to varying degrees and in different areas of the model—translating design into operational reality. During approximately the first 2 years of each project, implementation was an ongoing process that involved incremental steps and a series of refinements to program components, policies, and procedures.

Project enrollments have been smaller than originally anticipated. As of November 1998, approximately 3 years after startup, Colorado had identified 150 youth to be randomly assigned by NCCD, Nevada 212, and Virginia 121. Due in part to low intake and in part to program design, the sites have served a fairly small number of youth at any given time. Typically, the sites each have had approximately 20 IAP youth in the institutional phase and an additional 15 to 20 youth on aftercare status in the community.

Implementation has been strong in three of the four sites. Colorado, Nevada, and Virginia all have implemented IAP programs that largely reflect program design. These programs have also created a correctional intervention that is quite different from the supervision and services provided to "regular" parole cases. In New Jersey, however, a promising first year of implementation was followed by an extended period during which program development stalled significantly. After several largely unsuccessful attempts to reinvigorate the project, OJJDP decided in December 1997 to end that site's participation in the demonstration.7

The following characteristics are common to the three sites in which implementation is considered successful:

  • High-risk, program-eligible youth are identified through the use of a risk assessment instrument that is site specific and empirically based.

  • Both institutional and aftercare case management are provided by staff who handle only IAP cases in small caseloads (i.e., 15 to 20 youth). In the community, parole officers work jointly with staff referred to as parole aides, field agents, or "trackers."

  • There is substantial coordination and continuity in case planning and case management across the institutional and aftercare phases. This coordination is facilitated by a team approach. While the composition of the team varies across sites, it includes, at a minimum, institutional and parole staff, supplemented by service providers, parents, and/or other agency staff.

  • Team involvement and more frequent interaction between institutional and parole staff have helped overcome traditional turf and communication barriers.

  • Planning for aftercare begins shortly after the youth's institutional placement and is finalized at least 30 days prior to his release to aftercare. Community interventions/services begin almost immediately after release.

  • There are formal structures to facilitate the transition from institution to aftercare, including the use of transitional facilities (Virginia), furlough with intensive monitoring (Nevada), or service delivery by community treatment providers that begins during the institutional phase and continues during aftercare (Colorado).

  • Special services designed specifically for IAP youth have been developed and implemented in both the institutional and aftercare phases, including structured life skills curriculums, anger management training, peer group counseling, and family counseling.

  • Aftercare services represent a mix of control measures (e.g., supervision and surveillance) and treatment interventions to address identified needs.

  • There is a major emphasis on creating strong ties to local support systems and accessing community services.

  • Graduated reward and sanction systems have been developed for the institutional and parole phases.

Although IAP has been generally well implemented in these sites, each program faced implementation difficulties, including internal problems (e.g., extended staff vacancies in key positions and difficulties for some parole officers in executing the intended "intensive" role) and contextual problems (e.g., competing agency priorities, institutional crowding, and unstable program environments). Some of the problems have been successfully addressed. Others persist. On balance, however, the strengths of each program far outweigh the shortcomings.

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Implementation of the Intensive Community-Based Aftercare Program Juvenile Justice Bulletin July 2000