68 Fed. Probation 70 (2004)
First Count to Ten: Innovation and Implementation in Juvenile Reintegration Programs

handle is hein.journals/fedpro68 and id is 146 raw text is: irst Cliout    to  Ten:f Innovationl
a   dIlmlplementation]li n        ljuvel ei
Douglas Young
University of Maryland, College Park

DEMAND FOR INFORMATION about
best practices in juvenile aftercare has grown
in recent years, fueled by the heightened
interest in offender reentry and new fed-
eral support for programs targeting juvenile
offenders. Under the Serious and Violent
Offender Reentry Initiative (SVORI), 31 states
have begun demonstration programs target-
ing juveniles returning to the community
from secure correctional facilities; altogether,
more than 50 SVORI-funded programs tar-
get juveniles or a combination of adults and
juveniles transferred to adult facilities. It is
estimated that youth account for up to one-
third of the population of returning prisoners
each year (Lattimore et al., 2004).
Compared to the extensive literature that
has developed over the past decade on evi-
dence-based blueprint intervention models
for high-risk youth, literature on programs for
juveniles reentering the community follow-
ing incarceration has been limited (McCord,
Widom, & Crowell, 2001; Spencer & Jones-
Walker, 2004). Outcome studies of aftercare
programs are rare (Josi & Sechrest, 1999).
Much of the literature on juvenile aftercare
has focused on one model-the intensive
aftercare program (IAP)-and writings on
LAP have been largely descriptive of the model
and its theoretical and scientific foundations
(Altschuler & Armstrong, 2001; Altschuler &
Armstrong, 1995). Findings from a process
evaluation of a national multi-site IAP ini-
tiative have been reported by Wiebush and
colleagues (Wiebush, McNulty, & Le, 2000),
as well as Altschuler and Armstrong (2001).
These and related papers focusing on IAP
implementation discuss a number of issues
that can inform the plethora of juvenile rein-

tegration initiatives that have begun in several
states and localities.
Process evaluations are potentially one
of the most valuable sources of knowledge
about new program interventions. Increas-
ingly overlooked in the current rush to show
outcomes, these studies assess the process
of model implementation, often illustrating
the organizational structures and mecha-
nisms that ultimately determine program
success or failure. In tracking if and how
programs reach objectives involving such
prosaic performance measures as intakes,
staff caseload ratios, or client retention and
completion rates, process evaluations lay
the foundation for testing whether a model
intervention can achieve the more alluring
goals of delinquency reduction or school
improvement. It is understandable that stud-
ies that test whether a new intervention can
show these latter outcomes are sought by
public officials and grant-making agencies.
But even the best-designed and documented
model-grounded in theory and supported
by research-can fail due to implementation
problems (Altschuler & Armstrong, 2002).
Without process measures that assess fidelity
to the model, outcome results are difficult
to interpret. Although negative findings are
often attributed to the failure of the model,
there is ample evidence from diverse fields
that innovations fail due to implementa-
tion errors involving such mundane matters
as logistical issues, space and equipment,
staffing resources, or management support
(Forsetlund et al., 2003; Goodman, 2000;
Mears, Kelly, & Durden, 2001). Even with the
most divine intervention model, the devil's
usually in the implementation details.

This paper discusses implementation
issues and barriers common to juvenile rein-
tegration program efforts, using findings
from an ongoing process evaluation of an
intensive aftercare program initiative in one
eastern state. The persistence of these issues
is evident in similarities between our findings
and those reported in the earlier, multi-site
process evaluation of IAP conducted by the
National Council on Crime and Delinquency
(NCCD; Wiebush, McNulty, & Le, 2001), as
well as other reports on the model (Altschuler
& Armstrong, 2001; Altschuler, Armstrong,
& MacKenzie, 1999). Moreover, these issues
are not unique to IAP. Some of the same
implementation problems, for example, were
evident in a recent process study that care-
fully tracked efforts to implement a Mul-
tidimensional Family Therapy program in
one Miami site (Liddle et al., 2002). These
common issues cannot be attributed to a
lack of information about IAP or MDFT,
nor, probably, to weaknesses in these models.
With more than a decade of federal support,
both IAP and MDFT have been the subject of
extensive descriptive and explanatory infor-
mation readily available from diverse venues,
including websites, professional journals and
books, reports, presentations, and technical
assistance. Papers describe their theoretical
foundations, as well as research that serves as
the basis of these models (e.g., Altschuler et
al., 1999; Liddle et al., 2001).
Rather than due to problems inherent to
either model, the pattern of implementation
difficulties evident in these studies are likely
due to the inevitable nature of challenges
facing those planning and implementing pro-
grams that represent a new way of doing

Volume 68 Number 2

70  FEDERAL PROBATION

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