Project Descriptions

The two projects described in this document were similar in many respects and quite dissimilar in others. The following capsule overview of each program briefly summarizes their key elements.

The American Probation and Parole Association Project:
Identifying and Intervening With Drug-Involved Youth

Program purpose

The American Probation and Parole Association (APPA) set out to accomplish several objectives through its project, Identifying and Intervening With Drug-Involved Youth. The first was to develop a training and technical assistance curriculum reflecting sound principles for identifying and intervening with drug-involved youth. Providing training and technical assistance for juvenile justice agencies, based on the curriculum, was also a major goal of the project. A final project purpose was to evaluate the effectiveness of the curriculum and its application with training participants and technical assistance sites.

Target audiences

Although juvenile probation and aftercare agencies were a primary concern of the APPA project, the program's efforts were not limited to juvenile community corrections. The curriculum, training, and technical assistance were developed broadly to apply to juvenile justice service providers generally.

Principal activities

The APPA project had three major phases:

  • Curriculum development.
  • Training delivery.
  • Technical assistance provision and evaluation.

Curriculum development. During the curriculum development phase, the project assembled an advisory committee that met periodically throughout the project to provide recommendations to staff, review project products, and provide feedback. With input from the advisory committee, project staff researched and drafted a curriculum document, Identifying and Intervening with Drug-Involved Youth (Crowe and Schaefer, 1992), a 15-chapter, 274-page text. Parts of the curriculum were based on earlier projects APPA had conducted, including the development of a training curriculum on using drug recognition techniques in juvenile probation agencies and the development of the document Drug Testing Guidelines and Practices for Juvenile Probation and Parole Agencies (1992).

Training delivery. The project delivered five comprehensive training programs based on the curriculum. These 4-day programs were held in regional sites around the country to encourage broadest participation by juvenile justice professionals. The 209 participants in these training sessions represented 29 States, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Participating agencies were encouraged to send teams composed of both administrators and line personnel to the training programs.

The content of the training sessions provided an overview of the problem of substance-abusing youth and program development processes and concerns (including legal issues). However, the training concentrated on methods and technologies for identifying illicit drug use, including the use of assessment instruments and techniques, drug recognition techniques, and chemical testing (primarily urinalysis). Throughout the training, the need for appropriate intervention following the use of drug identification measures was emphasized. However, the time available to delve into treatment strategies and other intervention methods was limited.

In addition to the full training sessions, the APPA project delivered shorter training programs based on portions of the curriculum just described. These were provided at national training conferences and as requested by specific jurisdictions.

Technical assistance. Five demonstration sites were selected to implement or enhance a drug identification and intervention program with the assistance of the APPA project. The technical assistance process included three major tasks:

  • Site selection.
  • Onsite and other training and technical assistance for program development.
  • Evaluation of the programs.

Site selection. A Request for Proposals was developed and distributed widely. Agencies interested in becoming demonstration sites were asked to respond by completing brief application forms and submitting accompanying information about their present programs and plans for identifying and intervening with substance-abusing youth. From these submissions, the following sites were selected:

  • Division of Youth and Family Services, Justice Branch, Lexington, KY.
  • Administrative Office of the Courts/Probation, Lincoln, NE.
  • Westchester County Probation Department, White Plains, NY.
  • State of Utah, Juvenile Court, West Valley City, UT.
  • Virginia Department of Youth and Family Services, Richmond, VA.

Technical assistance services. Project staff made three or more visits to each of the demonstration sites. Following the first visit, a cooperative agreement was developed detailing the services to be provided by APPA and the expected activities and support to be undertaken by each site. Project staff helped each site develop policies and procedures for their programs based on the training curriculum and the Drug Testing Guidelines and Practices for Juvenile Probation and Parole Agencies.

Selected staff at each site participated in a 2-day, abbreviated version of the project's training curriculum and a 5-day training program on the pharmacology of psychoactive substances and the use of drug recognition techniques.

Additional consultation was provided to each site as needed -- either onsite or through telephone conversations and correspondence -- during the remainder of the technical assistance phase. Sites also were provided with a small amount of funding to purchase needed supplies and services to conduct the program.

Throughout the technical assistance period, sites were expected to collect data and submit them to APPA staff for analysis. After an initial 6-month period of technical assistance, the project continued providing assistance to three of the demonstration sites for another term of program application and data collection.

Information dissemination and other activities

The APPA project provided limited technical assistance to three other sites:

  • New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services. This site requested a train-the-trainer program for juvenile justice personnel. The training session was based on the curriculum of the Identifying and Intervening With Drug-Involved Youth program and was aimed at equipping participants to train other juvenile justice professionals to practice the substance abuse identification and intervention strategies promoted in the curriculum.

  • New York City Mayor's Office of Drug Abuse Policy. This site was given technical assistance for establishing a management information system for data collection and information sharing among city agencies that provide substance abuse services to youth.

  • Illinois Probation and Court Services Association. This site received a 2-day training program on Identifying and Intervening With Drug-Involved Youth during its annual fall conference.

Beyond these activities, project staff wrote and published seven articles in professional journals (Boone, 1996; Crowe, 1991; Crowe, 1996; Schaefer, 1991; Schaefer, 1992; Schaefer and Crowe, 1992; Willet and Crowe, 1992). Project staff also participated in 16 workshops, symposia, and training seminars providing information about project-related issues.

Drug Identification and Testing in the Juvenile Justice System May 1998