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Fact-Finding Report on Community Assessment Centers (CACs): Final Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 1996
63 pages
Site visits to community assessment centers (CACs) for juveniles formed the basis of an analysis of these programs' development, operational features, differences in approach, management information systems, correspondence to the concept presented in a 1995 Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention concept paper, and other aspects.
The first such program opened in Florida in 1993. The concept paper specified several features that a CAC should provide: (1) a single point of entry to services for youth who are involved in the juvenile justice system or at risk, (2) immediate and comprehensive assessments in a community-based setting, (3) a management information system, (4) integrated case management, and (5) provision of input into the policymaking process. The fact-finding study began in January 1996 and involved site visits to eight CAC sites in Florida, Kansas, Colorado, and Utah. Information was collected via observations, a review of printed materials and forms, interviews with crucial staff, and meetings with agency heads or other representatives of partner agencies. Many of the program were relatively new. All were developed through a multi-agency planning process, usually lasting a year or more. Common features included around-the-clock availability for police, or close to it; provision of intake, preliminary assessment, service referrals, and follow-up; and release of youth to detention, home, or an alternative setting within about 2-6 hours. Each program also had unique features. The programs had computerized management information systems (MIS) or were implementing one. None of the programs displayed all the features in OJJDP's concept paper. Most significantly, none provided a single entry point for all categories of youth. Programs had large budgets; multiple agencies usually shared costs. Most agencies are enthusiastic about the approach; none of the centers has undergone a formal evaluation. Findings suggested the desirability of OJJDP program planning grants to other communities interested in the concept, encouragement of improved MIS, promotion of program evaluations, and other actions. Table, footnotes, and appended tables and program profiles

Date Published: June 1, 1996