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South Central (Iowa) Juvenile Care Center - Evaluation

NCJ Number
Date Published
92 pages
This evaluation of the South Central Juvenile Care Center (Iowa) during its second year of operation emphasizes the center's ability to provide a supportive environment for youths, to be responsive to the needs of the six counties served, and to develop a stable and efficiently operated organization.
The center provided services to youths between the ages of 13 and 18 years who resided in the six counties. Youths were referred to the center for shelter care and evaluation. Specific criteria were used to assess the following program goals: to provide a community-based residental facility for juveniles, to provide short-term and long-term counseling, and to demonstrate the center's effectiveness with youth. An organizational assessment was also undertaken. The evaluation was designed to be more of a tool for management than a controlled experiment to measure the effect of the center on youths. Findings indicate that the center's program improved and stabilized during the second year. The out-client program was expanded, and the number of youths who ran away or were expelled from the center was greatly reduced. Referrals were received from all six counties at a rate closely proportionate to their populations, and the number of referrals from primary sources increased. Most youths reported committing fewer offenses in the 6 months after leaving the center than in the previous 6 months; most of their self-concept and social adjustment scores had improved. Almost all youths ranked the staff as the best part of the center. Overall, the center has met and surpassed its objectives, and the program continues to improve and expand. It is recommended that interaction between the board of directors and center staff be increased, that a committee be created to evaluate internal management of the center, and that a written manual or procedures and personnel practices be prepared. Tables, a self-evaluation plan, and responses to the questionnaire administered to youths are included.