Comprehensive Responses to Youth at Risk: Findings From the SafeFutures Initiative

Elaine Morley, The Urban Institute

SafeFutures is a five-year initiative supported by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). It is designed to further the existing efforts of selected communities in reducing delinquency and youth violence, using a continuum of care that includes prevention, intervention, treatment, and sanctioning programs or services. Six communities -- Boston, MA; Contra Costa County, CA; Fort Belknap Indian Community, MT; Imperial County, CA; Seattle, WA; and St. Louis, MO -- begain SafeFutures demonstrations in the spring of 1996. A national cross-site evaluation was implemented at the same time to determine the success of site-specific efforts. Most of these sites will conclude their demonstrations by fall of 2001, at which time SafeFutures services will be continued under other auspices or will have to cease. This paper describes the sites' implementation of SafeFutures, including challenges and milestones, as well as the lessons learned. The discussion will highlight key findings about the design, implementation, operation, and sustainability of comprehensive community-based initiatives derived from the process evaluation of the participant communities. Such information is relevant to program planners, those involved in community-based collaboratives, and individuals involved in direct service provision to youth and their families.

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Updated 05/20/2006