12, No. 4
3 Key Resources for Decreasing Delinquent Behaviors
When the children and youth they serve are involved with the juvenile justice system, child welfare professionals sometimes find it difficult to decrease the reoccurrence of delinquent behaviors. Here are three key services in North Carolina that may help.
Therapeutic Foster Care
The Guide to Community Preventive Services conducted a systematic review of five studies assessing therapeutic foster care. Based on the evidence, therapeutic foster care was found to reduce
violent crime by chronically delinquent adolescents almost 70%. Therapeutic foster care programs also provide a significant cost savings for the juvenile justice system.
Currently there are 82 private child-placing agencies
licensed by the NC Division of Social Services. Most of these agencies provide therapeutic foster care. For a listing go to <www.dhhs.state.nc.us/dss/licensing/docs/cpalistfostercare.pdf>.
Multisystemic Therapy (MST)
This is a fairly new, evidenced-based service provided in North Carolina that has demonstrated effectiveness. Funded by Medicaid, MST is an intensive, short-term (3-4 months) home and family focused treatment approach for delinquent youth. MST intervenes directly in the youth’s family (or foster family), peer group, school, and neighborhood by identifying and targeting factors that contribute to the youth’s problem behavior.
To learn more about MST or to find a list of agencies in North Carolina licensed to offer it, go to <www.mstservices.com/text/licensed_agencies.htm>.
The program Managing Access for Juvenile Offender Resources and Services (MAJORS) ensures that no child falls through the cracks and that a system is in place to identify and track all substance-abusing, adjudicated youth in counties where the MAJORS program exists. Youth qualify for the program if they are under 18, adjudicated delinquent, on probation or under the active supervision of a juvenile court counselor, and there is evidence of a potential substance abuse problem.
According to the MAJORS website, this program is active in 56 of North Carolina’s 100 counties. To learn more about MAJORS go to <www.ncmajors.org/>.