Juvenile Justice Bulletin --July 2000 --Staffing


Although the central functions of IAP staff are the same across sites (e.g., case management, some direct service delivery, aftercare supervision, and the facilitation or brokerage of services), specific staffing patterns and role configurations differ somewhat from site to site (see table 1). For example, in Virginia (and previously in New Jersey), separate IAP case management positions were developed for the institutions and for aftercare. Nevada has two IAP-dedicated parole officers in Las Vegas but does not have a designated IAP institutional case manager. Instead, the Nevada IAP uses an institutional-community liaison (a parole officer who is located in the IAP cottage) with responsibility for coordinating activities and facilitating communication between the institution and the parole unit. Finally, Colorado's basic IAP staffing pattern is quite different from the other sites. There is no bifurcation of case management responsibility between the institution and the parole office. The three IAP case managers have responsibility for their cases during both the institutional and aftercare phases (as do all other Division of Youth Corrections (DYC) case managers).

All the IAP case managers—whether institutional or aftercare—carry approximately one-half to one-third the number of cases handled by their counterparts who are working with non-IAP youth. In Colorado, for example, the client managers have a maximum caseload of 18 youth (combined institution and aftercare) compared with a typical non-IAP caseload of 35 to 40 youth.

To enhance community supervision, the sites all use additional staff who provide case support and monitor program youth on weekends and during evenings. In Nevada, each IAP case manager is paired with a field agent. In Virginia, a parole aide supports the three IAP parole officers. The Colorado project includes a similar aftercare support/surveillance function, but it is carried out by contracted trackers who are not part of the formal IAP staff.

Through IAP implementation, the sites have successfully overcome the traditional barriers between institutional and aftercare staff and have developed team-oriented approaches to case planning and case management. Several sites reported that prior to IAP's introduction, there was little communication or coordination between institutional and aftercare staff, little understanding of what their respective jobs entailed, and often the existence of an "us versus them" mentality. Now, through consistent communication, frequent institutional visits by aftercare staff, joint case planning, coordinated transitional activities, and joint training, institutional and aftercare staff tend to see themselves as having complementary and supportive roles.

During the first few years of implementation, all the sites experienced some staffing problems. These problems fell into two basic categories: (1) staff turnover and vacancies and (2) role execution.

Turnover and Vacancies

Generally, staff turnover has not been a major problem in Colorado, Nevada, or Virginia. However, the latter two sites have experienced extended vacancies in key positions that directly affected the quality of services delivered to IAP youth. In Nevada, an 8-month vacancy in the institutional-community liaison position sharply curtailed service delivery in some areas of transition programming. Similarly, Virginia experienced a 10-month vacancy in the institutional case manager position at the Beaumont Juvenile Correctional Center. In addition, Virginia's parole aide position has been vacant for two 4-month periods. Because the parole aide is largely responsible for evening and weekend monitoring, the vacancies hampered the IAP community control strategy.

The extent of staff turnover was a major problem in New Jersey. By early 1997, after less than 2 years of operations, there was not one person actively involved with IAP who had been among the original staff. By the end of 1997, several key positions had turned over multiple times, including those of project coordinator and IAP institutional case manager. The extent of change was so sweeping that it produced a general instability in the program because of the constant recruiting and retraining, and the frequent disruption of working relationships caused by staff turnover.

Role Execution

In Nevada, New Jersey, and Virginia, IAP parole officers had initial difficulties meeting the program's expectations regarding intensive supervision. In each site, the staff selected for these positions were all highly experienced parole officers who brought their traditional understanding of that role to the new position. As a result, they struggled with the shift from a one-on-one, office-bound, 9-to-5 way of doing business to the more flexible, comprehensive, and team-oriented approach envisioned in the IAP model. Adaptation and growth in the new role took some time (approximately a year in Nevada and 18 months in Virginia) and was facilitated by a variety of interventions, including ongoing training, close supervision, and exposure to other intensive juvenile correctional programs. The Virginia IAP program, for example, hired an additional IAP officer who had extensive experience in Norfolk's intensive probation program and who subsequently served as a strong influence on the other IAP staff.9

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