Chapter 1: The Technical Assistance Process
Selecting Technical Assistance Sources and Providers

Obtaining technical assistance may be as simple as making a phone call to ask a question of a knowledgeable professional, or it may be more complex, requiring development of a formal proposal, written agreements for services, and formal reports of activities and recommendations. In the introduction, three levels of technical assistance were described:

  • Limited—Through telephone, written correspondence, or information resources, the agency obtains materials or ideas to address a specific question of limited scope.

  • Moderate—To address complex issues or collect greater amounts of materials, juvenile justice system personnel engage in ongoing telephone or written communications.

  • Onsite or longer term—The jurisdiction or program faces significant issues that require specialized assistance, usually provided in person by one or more consultants. Sometimes cross-site assistance allows juvenile justice system personnel to visit other agencies that have dealt with similar problems successfully.

Often, the level of technical assistance required will depend on the complexity of the condition, problem, or issues in question. In many instances, it may be appropriate to start with limited assistance. If that does not fully address the problem, then moderate assistance or onsite assistance may be appropriate. Regardless of the level of assistance ultimately required, the more information juvenile justice system personnel can gather and review, the more likely they will be able to obtain and effectively use other technical assistance resources.

There are many sources of technical assistance, including:

  • Documents that describe strategies for addressing the condition, problem, or issue, such as:

    • Professional journal articles.
    • Policies, procedures, and evaluation reports from similar programs.
    • Training manuals, research reports, and other documents about the problem or related topics.

  • Experienced administrators and practitioners who have successfully dealt with the condition, problem, or issue.

  • Operating programs that can be visited for a firsthand view of successful strategies to address the condition, problem, or issue.

  • Consultants who have knowledge and experience in the topic area and are skillful in providing technical assistance.

  • Academic institutions and personnel whomay be engaged in teaching or conducting research about a particular area of juvenile corrections.

  • National organizations that may have relevant position statements, research, standards, or other information or may be able to suggest knowledgeable practitioners or consultants.

  • The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, its grantees and contractors, and other Federal agencies.

Chapter 6 of this manual, "Resources for Technical Assistance," contains a list of OJJDP grantees and contractors who may be able to provide technical assistance in a variety of areas. There is no accurate formula for ensuring that jurisdictions or programs will find the right technical resources on the first try. It is more likely to be a process through which contacts lead to other resources until the most beneficial source is identified for the level of technical assistance needed.

Chapter 1 Contents

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Jurisdictional Technical Assistance Package for Juvenile Corrections Report - December 2000