Quarterly Meeting Agenda
Friday, March 19, 2004
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Please note: a picture I.D. is required for admittance.
Quarterly Meeting Summary
March 19, 2004
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
This Quarterly Meeting of the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention provided members and the public with information on preventing and responding to truancy. The Council heard presentations on the Albuquerque Public Schools Community Partnership for Addressing and Preventing School Absenteeism and Truancy, the OJJDP Strategic Planning Tool: Risk Factors Matrix, and the White House Task Force for Disadvantaged Youth. The Council discussed recommendations on addressing truancy and coordinating programs that reduce truancy. The Council also discussed what action to take in response to two federally sponsored reports: a General Accounting Office (GAO) report on the role federal agencies should play in helping states reduce the number of children placed in the child welfare or juvenile justice system solely to obtain mental health services and a final report from the White House Task Force on Disadvantaged Youth. A new Council member, Bray B. Barnes, was sworn in.
U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)
White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP)
U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)
U.S. Department of Education (ED)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Corporation for National and Community Service
Welcome and Introductions
Mr. Flores welcomed attendees to the Quarterly Meeting of the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency. The 1-day, rotating-venue meeting format is a good fit for the Council, said Mr. Flores, because it facilitates participant attendance and agency involvement. Mr. Flores stated that the Council offers an excellent opportunity for multiagency collaboration, and he emphasized the value of getting the partner agencies together to discuss juvenile justice issues that touch every aspect of society. The panelists briefly introduced themselves, stating their name, professional affiliation, and work responsibilities. Mr. Flores extended a special welcome to Bray B. Barnes, a Council member newly appointed by President Bush. Another newly appointed member, Victor Rodriguez, was unable to attend the meeting.
Mr. Winstead welcomed participants on behalf of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and on behalf of Secretary Tommy G. Thompson. He echoed Mr. Flores's remarks regarding the value of collaborative, interagency efforts to help youth. Mr. Winstead summarized the work of HHS, highlighting in particular how the agency's activities and programs work to improve the lives of youth—for example, an abstinence education initiative and programs that provide mentors to children whose parents are incarcerated.
Presentation: Albuquerque Community Partnership for Preventing Truancy
By way of introduction, Mr. Flores stressed the fact that truancy is a multiagency issue. Truant youth are more than simply absent from school: limited employability, drug use, teenage pregnancy, poverty, and delinquency are all factors associated with truancy. As such, truancy requires a coordinated response from multiple agencies.
This presentation concluded a multimeeting agenda focusing on truancy. Dr. Maple was the last expert presenter on the issue of truancy. Following her presentation, the Council will move forward to make policy/program decisions based on the information it has received over the course of the last several meetings.
Dr. Maple began her presentation by asking a question: Should truancy be classified as a symptom or a problem? According to the findings of the Albuquerque Community Partnership for Preventing Truancy, the answer depends on a variety of factors. Often, truancy is both a symptom and a problem.
The Albuquerque Community Partnership for Preventing Truancy was formed in October 2002 to address excessive absenteeism and truancy. The partnership was spearheaded by the District Attorney, planned by the Albuquerque Public Schools (APS), and involved a number of state and local agencies, law enforcement, parents, and the Mayor's and Governor's offices. In the past, absenteeism in Albuquerque schools was addressed by the APS Court Liaison Program. The program was funded by a congressional earmark from OJJDP. The liaison program, which relied on a school referral system, had been in place since 1974 and could not handle the approximately 4,000 referrals it received. To examine the efficacy of the Court Liaison Program, the Albuquerque Community Partnership conducted an absenteeism study.
It began by examining several 20-day student enrollment cycles. The results of the data study were staggering: of the 82,073 students enrolled on the 120th day of school, 15,596 (about 19 percent) were identified has having excessive absences (equivalent to missing more than 10 schooldays). The highest proportion of absenteeism was at the high school level, where 29 percent of the students had excessive absences. The results of the initial data study confirmed that many students were missing out on important learning opportunities. It also confirmed that the existing methods for tracking attendance and dealing with truant youth were inadequate.
The pivotal role for APS was to develop a system for addressing truancy that helped schools attain district goals and performance measures. The framework for supporting compulsory school attendance was predicated on a continuum of early identification/ prevention, intervention, and response. When students were identified as having excessive absences or being truant, their parents/guardians were notified. Parents/guardians of students with continuing absences or truancy were required to attend the Truancy Prevention Program and to sign (along with the child) an attendance contract. When students referred to the Truancy Prevention Program continued to be absent or truant, their cases were reviewed and prepared for possible prosecution or court-ordered remedy.
Because the public school system was so large and the absentee numbers were so great, implementation was phased in. Students who showed a potential for excessive absences or who had been issued a truancy citation were identified early in the school year. Then the student's school attendance was tracked, and if attendance problems persisted, the required intervention was put in place. At each step of the process, the parents/guardians and student were notified about the implication of continued absences.
The effort to involve the community showed dramatic results. In a new survey of the 81,926 students enrolled on the 120th day, 10,998 were identified as having excessive absences, a reduction of about 30 percent from the prior year. The percentage of students missing more than 10 schooldays dropped from 19 to 13 percent. The greatest improvement in preventing absenteeism was at the middle and high school levels, with the ninth grade showing the single greatest improvement across all grade levels.
The dramatic improvement in reducing the number of Albuquerque students with excessive absences shows the power of an effective partnership. Regular school attendance is vital for students to succeed in the classroom. By addressing truancy as both a symptom and a problem, the Albuquerque Community Partnership for Preventing Truancy keeps students in school and on the path to success. Continued truancy-reduction efforts in Albuquerque include new legislation strengthening the Compulsory School Attendance Law, the implementation of an off-campus Truancy Citation project, the development of a Truancy Court and School Prosecutor program, and ongoing work to study and improve the current truancy prevention system.
Dr. Maple concluded her presentation by focusing on linkages between the Albuquerque Community Partnership for Preventing Truancy and the final report of the White House Task Force on Disadvantaged Youth. These linkages included the need for better management accountability, interagency coordination, oversight of common measures for program success, increased parental involvement, and a focus on youth with the greatest needs.
Coordinating Council Recommendations on Addressing Truancy and Coordinating Programs That Reduce Truancy
To open the discussion, Mr. Flores encouraged the Council to recommend action items that can be accomplished in a reasonable timeframe and to consider the Council resources already in place. Mr. Flores posed two questions to the Council: What appropriate steps should the Council take on truancy? How can the Council move the mission of other agencies forward? During an open-floor discussion, the Council agreed on the following recommendations:
Presentation: OJJDP Strategic Planning Tool: Risk Factors Matrix
In previous meetings, the Council discussed the fact that certain technologies that might benefit juvenile justice issues are not being implemented. One appealing area of technology, for example, is geospatial mapping, which can be used to develop evidence-based strategies. OJJDP's Gang Reduction Program (GRP) is embracing advanced technology to strengthen evidence-based practices. GRP involves the participation of different agencies and fosters buy-in at the local level for true systems change. OJJDP's Strategic Planning Tool helps identify service gaps and provides solutions in a cost-effective, cross-agency fashion.
The goal of OJJDP's GRP Strategic Planning Tool is to reduce youth gang crime and violence in communities through an integrated application of proven practices in prevention, intervention, and suppression. Although the GRP Strategic Planning Tool is being developed to address gang activity, the technology and strategic planning it uses are applicable to a variety of issues, including truancy.
The Strategic Planning Tool is designed to help federal agencies and communities better implement programs and apply knowledge of proven programs. It enables local practitioners to access information about programs that work and to put together a comprehensive response (including prevention, intervention, and suppression). Strategic planning for GRP involves crime and gang analysis, an inventory of existing resources, an identification of gaps and areas for improvement, and the selection and implementation of best practices and proven programs. Dr. Wyrick pointed out that compiling an inventory of existing resources can be difficult, but it is fundamental to beginning the strategic planning process. As part of the strategic planning tool, GRP employs an informational matrix—an online database (www.iir.com/nygc/tool/ rfpmatrix.htm) containing more than 100 research-based programs that address gang issues and have demonstrated positive evaluation results.
To develop the tool, researchers looked at reviews and compendiums of programs from a variety of federal agencies. Most risk factors related to delinquency fall into five general categories. OJJDP researchers looked at longitudinal studies to find additional risk factors related specifically to gangs; 84 risk factors are included in the matrix.
Programs are organized by risk factor environment and the age groups they serve. Feedback regarding the matrix from pilot sites in the field has been positive. Dr. Wyrick asked the Council to provide additional feedback and to assist in populating the matrix by suggesting additional programs for inclusion. Council members were asked to assign a staff member to review the Strategic Planning Tool and to provide recommendations on programs that OJJDP may have overlooked. Council members can provide the name of the staff person to Tim Wight via e-mail at [email protected].
Following Dr. Wyrick's presentation, Mr. Flores made two announcements:
Introduction to the White House Task Force for Disadvantaged Youth
Many of the nation's youth suffer because they do not have access to the resources that might help them. The White House Task Force for Disadvantaged Youth seeks to provide disadvantaged youth with much needed support. Composed of representatives from the White House and 12 other Cabinet agencies, the Task Force coordinates interagency efforts to (1) address the problem of failure among disadvantaged youth, (2) develop a unified research plan to identify effective practices that help disadvantaged youth, (3) incorporate positive youth development practices that help disadvantaged youth, and (4) analyze and quantify the impact of these efforts.
Created by President Bush in December 2002, the White House Task Force for Disadvantaged Youth was tasked with developing a comprehensive federal response to the problems of youth failure under existing authorities and programs, with a focus on enhanced agency accountability and effectiveness. Ms. Nolan emphasized the importance of better serving disadvantaged youth by reducing overlap and duplication of services across agencies, ensuring a focus on existing policies and resources, and increasing collaborative efforts. Maintaining a consistent public message to youth across agencies is also important, Ms. Nolan said.
One of the Task Force's goals is to improve the quality and quantity of program evaluations, which are ideally based on best practices and use standardized performance measures for similar programs. Ms. Nolan described a recent meeting wherein federal representatives met to discuss a consensus standard among federal partners. A common consensus standard is necessary to make program standards transparent to the public, so that the validity of one program can be compared to another. During the meeting, which was convened by Assistant Attorney General Deborah J. Daniels, federal partners looked at programs for at-risk youth and other programs (especially in the areas of drug-use prevention treatment models). A working group was formed, and it will present to the larger group in April 2004. Federal agency signoff for a consensus standard is expected by August or September 2004.
Presentation: The White House Task Force for Disadvantaged Youth
According to a National Academy of Sciences study, about one-quarter of all teens (10 million youth) are at serious risk of not achieving productive adulthood. The federal government plays a major role in addressing this issue: It spends approximately $223.5 billion a year in 339 federal programs that touch on all aspects of children's lives. The mandate set for the White House Task Force on Disadvantaged Youth was to examine how the government can do a better job of providing services to disadvantaged youth. In outlining the Task Force's findings to the Council, Ms. Morison focused on those recommendations most relevant to the Council. The recommendations were grouped according to mission alignment, interagency coordination, improving the federal grants system, understanding what works, holding programs accountable for results, engaging youth and families, and caring for special target populations.
In developing a comprehensive federal response to disadvantaged youth, the Task Force began with a Vision for Youth in the form of a national youth policy framework. This outcome-focused approach delineates the desired outcomes for all youth—namely, that they grow up healthy and safe; ready for work, college, and military service; ready for marriage, family, and parenting; and ready for civic engagement and service.
The national youth policy framework is designed to ensure that programs meet one or more of these four goals. The Task Force was organized into committees around this framework. Each committee was charged with developing recommendations to improve federal disadvantaged youth programs under existing authorities. The way to achieve the best outcomes for disadvantaged youth from the significant federal funds invested was to focus on (1) better management, (2) better accountability, (3) better connections, and (4) priority to the neediest youth.
The Task Force identified 339 federal youth programs in its preliminary report, which was submitted to the President in April 2003. The preliminary report looked specifically at statutes, regulations, and funding. By surveying programs in youth-serving agencies to determine goals and target audiences, the Task Force found that many programs are directed to large numbers of youth (with significant overlap among programs) and have a wide range of goals. These factors can cause problems in terms of accountability when multiple agencies respond to the same problems. Likewise, congressional earmarking of funds for disadvantaged youth programs is problematic because it eliminates linkages between accountability measures and funding decisions (as opposed to a competitive grant process). As a result, there is no incentive for agencies to provide oversight. The report analyzed data by looking at programs and quantifying the degree to which programs were being evaluated at a high level. Of the 339 programs identified in the report, only 27 had been properly evaluated (using a random-assignment method, which is scientifically reliable).
In light of its findings, the Task Force proposed a Disadvantaged Youth Policy Initiative and presented recommendations on mission alignment, interagency coordination, and improving the federal grants system. Designed to be coordinated through the Executive Office of the President, the Disadvantaged Youth Policy Initiative is intended to develop and coordinate policy, maximize interagency collaboration, coordinate federal research, and find and evaluate models of "what works." For example, the Task Force recommended consolidating/coordinating mentoring programs after first determining where the need for mentoring is greatest.
Mr. Flores commended the Task Force on its efforts and asked Council members to review the programs listed in appendix F of the final report and to bring missing programs to the attention of Tim Wight, who will then pass on that information to the Task Force.
Swearing in of Bray B. Barnes
Discussion on Developing Calendar Years 2004 and 2005 Coordination Topics, Work Groups, and Meeting Agendas
Mr. Flores opened a discussion on proposed Council activities for 2004–2005. The Council discussed what action to take regarding the GAO report on child welfare and juvenile justice (Federal Agencies Could Play a Stronger Role in Helping States Reduce the Number of Children Placed Solely To Obtain Mental Health Services [GAO 03–097]).
The Council discussed how to respond to the following three GAO recommendations:
This issue was a Council item last year. The GAO recommendations were written in response to a disturbing trend—some parents feel that the only way for their children to receive mental health services is to surrender their parental rights. Mr. Flores asked the Council to affirm its commitment to provide a response to Congress on this issue. Mr. Flores proposed that the Council provide what assistance it can to help HHS respond to Congress. The Council affirmed this recommendation with no objections. Council member Don Winstead (HHS) agreed to take the lead on the three recommendations, working with DOJ, ED, and other agencies. Mr. Winstead will designate a lead staff person who will survey the rest of the departments to determine whom they want to involve, and the partner agencies will designate lead staff to work with HHS on this issue. Mr. Winstead thanked the other agencies for their support.
The Council also discussed the final report of the White House Task Force for Disadvantaged Youth, examining each recommendation to determine whether it required action from the Council. The following recommendations were deemed appropriate for Council involvement. (Page numbers refer to the final report.)
Interagency Coordination: Improve coordination of mentoring programs (pp. 5, 38)
Interagency Coordination: Support state and local community planning process (pp. 5, 41)
Understanding What Works: Develop a unified protocol for federal "What Works" clearinghouses (pp. 8, 55)
Understanding What Works: Build a rigorous and unified disadvantaged youth research agenda (pp. 8, 65)
Understanding What Works: Improve data collected on the well-being of families (pp. 9, 67)
Holding Programs Accountable for Results: Develop standards for measuring grantee performance (pp. 9, 69)
Holding Programs Accountable for Results: Implement grantee-level performance measurement guidelines (pp. 9, 81)
Holding Programs Accountable for Results: Conduct rigorous oversight of earmarked grantees (pp. 10, 84)
Engaging Youth and Families: Increase parent involvement in federal youth programs (pp. 11, 95)
Engaging Youth and Families: Recruit youth for federal grant review panels (pp. 11, 98)
Caring for Special Target Populations: Target youth who are in public care such as foster care homes and juvenile justice institutions (pp. 12, 103)
Caring for Special Target Populations: Target youth with a high number of factors putting them at risk, such as children of incarcerated parents and migrant youth (pp. 12, 105)
Caring for Special Target Populations: Expand mentoring programs to special target groups, such as foster care and migrant youth (pp. 13, 119)
Mr. Wight discussed future Council meeting dates and venues, acknowledging that Council members need to know about meeting logistics as far in advance as possible. He proposed a quarterly meeting schedule. Mr. Wight thanked HHS for hosting the meeting and providing the meeting space. The next Council meeting will be held on June 4, 2004, at the White House conference center. Mr. Wight requested that Council members volunteer to host future meetings (from December 3, 2004, forward).
Mr. Flores asked the Council members to consider what they can do to improve the benefits that the federal partners receive from the Council. Mr. Flores suggested that Council members think about what it would take to get the Cabinet Secretaries to attend future meetings, thereby underscoring the Secretaries' commitment to juvenile justice issues. Council members could, for example, explain to the Secretaries how the Council's activities relate to departmental agendas. Mr. Flores pointed to the benefit of having Cabinet Secretaries interact directly with Council and practitioner members. After remarking that the nation's youth are the ultimate beneficiaries of the Council's efforts, Mr. Flores thanked the Council members and participants for attending and adjourned the meeting.
U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)
Office of Juvenile Justice and DelinquencyPrevention (OJJDP)
National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
Trina M. Anglin, M.D., Ph.D., Chief, Office of Adolescent Health, Maternal and Child Health Bureau
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration
U.S. Department of Education (ED)
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
U.S. Department of Transportation
Tim Briceland-Betts, Senior Government Affairs Associate, Child Welfare League of America
Arthur L. Burnett, Sr., Senior Judge, Superior Court of the District of Columbia
Joan L. Byer, Family Court Judge, Court of Justice, Louisville, Kentucky Mishaela Duran, Director of Public Policy, National Network for Youth
Bigual Estrada, Policy Analyst, Family Youth Services Bureau
Thaddeus Ferber, Program Director, Forum for Youth Investment
Senior Attorney, American Prosecutors Research Institute
Dr. William L. Howard, Assistant Administrator, Maryland-Judiciary/Administrator of the Court
Lawrence K. Johnson, Management Analyst, Fairfax County Sheriff's Office
Irv Katz, President, National Collaboration for Youth, National Assembly of Health and Human Service Organizations
Jeffrey A. Kuhn, Esq., Project Administrator, National Truancy Prevention Association
Beth P. Lovell, Director of Children, Youth, and Families, Volunteers of America
Jennifer Mankey, Executive Director, Center for Network Development
Catherine Cross Maple, Ph.D., Strategic Planning Officer, Albuquerque Public Schools
Marion Mattingly, National Program Director, National Campaign to Stop Violence
Karen Morison, Executive Vice President, Center for Education Reform
Carissa Pappas, Research Analyst, Fairfax County Juvenile and Domestic Court
Joseph F. Pauley, President, Kahler Communications
Dr. Judith A. Pauley, Chief Executive Officer, Kahler Communications
Jessica A. Sandoval, Juvenile Justice Policy Coordinator, Center for Youth as Resources
William Scott, Esq., Assistant Director, Standards and Accreditation, American Correctional Association
Ray Sweeney, Editor, Children and Youth Funding Report
William W. Treanor, Executive Director, American Youth Work Center