This month's Reading List features articles on family involvement. Below we provide a short summary for each article, as well as a link to the full text.
Osher, T., & Hunt, P. (2002, December). Involving families of youth who are in contact with the juvenile justice system. Research and Program Brief. Washington, DC: National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice. Retrieved July 31, 2006, from http://www.ncmhjj.com/pdfs/publications/Family.pdf
This article emphasizes the importance of family participation throughout a child’s involvement in the juvenile justice system. It identifies benefits of family involvement for the family, child, and system, especially in cases where the child has mental health needs. Obstacles to parent involvement are discussed, and information is provided for ways family involvement can be better facilitated at each important decision point in the juvenile justice process. Because most families are uninformed and unaware of juvenile justice processes, the authors assert the importance of parent and family access to resources and support—from various service providers and systems—so they can actively and effectively participate.
Walker, J. A., & Friedman, K. (2001, January). “Listening and learning from families in juvenile justice”: A project of the Maryland Coalition for Families for Children’s Mental Health. Columbia, MD: Maryland Coalition of Families for Children’s Mental Heath. Retrieved July 31, 2006, from http://www.mdcoalition.org/jjustice.pdf
This article is based on focus groups of families of children in the Maryland juvenile justice system. In the focus groups, parents discussed their experiences with the system, police, and courts regarding what they found helpful and unhelpful. Families also provided recommendations for system improvements including a system of care, and more family involvement in decision making, mental health services, aggressive early intervention programs, educational programs, and other supports for families.
Lichtenwalter, C., Bolerjack, M., & Edwards, J. A. (1997). Parents at the front door in family court and child welfare: Developing parent supports in the juvenile justice system. Focal Point, 11(1), 15–17. Retrieved July 31, 2006, from http://www.rtc.pdx.edu/pgFPS97TOC.php
This article explores Stark County, Ohio’s, collaborative effort to work with professionals from family court, mental health, human services, other systems and agencies, and parents to increase family involvement in the juvenile justice system. Stark County's plan helps to better coordinate all of the human services and develop the support services that families need to be actively involved in their child’s juvenile justice experience.
Osher, T. W. (1994, October). Getting me on your team: Building partnerships with families. Presented at the Issues in Community Mental Health: Focus on Families symposium.
Full report available here.
This manuscript was presented by Trina Osher of the Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health (FFCMH) at the Issues in Community Mental Health: Focus on Families symposium in October 1994. This paper provides information from families’ perspectives of their involvement in the juvenile justice system. Specifically, it delineates the experiences, concerns, suggestions, ideas, and solutions of the family partners within FFCMH.
Slaton, E. (2004). Family engagement in evaluation: Lessons learned. Rockville, MD: Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health. Retrieved July 31, 2006, from http://www.ffcmh.org/FamilyEngagementEvaluation.pdf
This article discusses the use of family involvement in evaluating programs and systems in which children are involved. It indicates benefits gained such as culturally appropriate evaluations and increased support and participation from families. Common objections, challenges, and counterpoints to including families in evaluation are also identified, such as objectivity, misunderstood research/evaluation jargon, racism, and classism. The authors conclude by proposing that the obstacles and challenges to youths' successful recovery are the very reason families should be involved in the evaluation process, as it can "serve only to clarify issues and terms and add precision to evaluative studies."
Kumpfer, K. L., & Alvardo, R. (1998, November). Effective family strengthening interventions. Juvenile Justice Bulletin. Washington, DC: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Retrieved July 31, 2006, from http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles/171121.pdf
Part of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s Family Strengthening Series, this bulletin discusses risk factors for delinquency and the use of family-based prevention and intervention programs. The authors identify three effective program types—behavioral parent training, family therapy interventions, and family skills training, and indicate nine principles of effective, family-focused interventions that can be used in program selection. The bulletin highlights the need for future research in this area, particularly comparison and evaluation studies. In conclusion, the authors report the need for effective marketing strategies to promote the implementation of research-based family interventions.
McDonald, L., & Howard, D. (1998, December). Families and schools together. OJJDP Fact Sheet, 88. Washington, DC: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Retrieved July 31, 2006, from http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles/95441-8.pdf
This Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention fact sheet examines the Families and Schools Together (FAST) program, which aims to enhance family functioning, prevent school failure, prevent alcohol and other drug abuse in the family, and reduce the stress that families experience from daily life. It targets children ages 4–14 and involves school, family, and community partnerships. The authors assert that the FAST program has proven to be effective and is a culturally competent education program.