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Early Offender Project: A Community-Based Program for High Risk Youth

NCJ Number
Juvenile and Family Court Journal Volume: 39 Issue: 1 Dated: (1988) Pages: 13-20
R Sharp; E A Moore
Date Published
8 pages
This article describes the program development, implementation, and results of Oakland County's (Michigan) Early Offender Project (EOP), which is a community-based program designed to reduce recidivism among high-risk youth.
A program design task force found that two factors placed juveniles at 100 percent risk of recidivism: adjudication for a nonstatus offense at 13 years old or younger and two or more police contacts prior to the offense leading to adjudication. Diagnostic assumptions determined for this high-risk group are that they have experienced poor parenting and have lacked success in any socially approved arena. In response to these diagnostic assumptions, the EOP aims to simulate effective parenting for high-risk youth, train youths for the development of skills to perform socially approved activities, and hold them accountable for their behaviors. The description of program implementation focuses on funding, staff orientation, unit staffing, the use of interns, teams assumption of cases, disposition and individualized treatment plans, casework, short-term out-of-home placement, specialized groups, recordkeeping, and case closure. Although it is too early to determine whether or not the program has met its goals of reducing new adjudications by one-third as well as the need for out-of-home placements, this article presents some program impact statements and associated dollar savings.