Chapter 2: Policy And Program Development For Serving Female Juvenile Delinquents|
What Is The Process For Developing Gender Specific Policies
Girls travel a different path to delinquency than most of their male counterparts. After years of struggling to squeeze girls into programs designed for boys (Albrecht, 1994), some agencies that work with girls are seeking solutions that are gender-specific. This does not mean giving girls the same programs as boys, or isolating offenders according to gender. Instead, the most effective programs are rooted in the experience of girls and incorporate an understanding of female development.
Gender-specific programming refers to program models and services that comprehensively address the special needs of a targeted gender group, such as adolescent girls. Such programs foster positive gender identity development. Gender-specific programs recognize the risk factors most likely to impact the targeted gender group and the protective factors that can build resiliency and prevent delinquency.
At the national, state, and local levels, there is a movement to use gender-specific programming to create programs intended to help at-risk delinquent girls. These programs incorporate promising practices meant to help girls get back on a positive developmental track and avoid future delinquent behavior (Community Research Associates, 1997). For a girl already in trouble or at high risk of delinquency, programs that incorporate gender-specific practices offer reason to hope for a positive future.