Client Identification Problems

Timothy Ross, The Vera Institute of Justice
Milton Mino, The Vera Institute of Justice
Eliel Flores, The Vera Institute of Justice

This paper discusses the dynamics of estimating client demand for services, and uses Adolescent Portable Therapy (APT), a new demonstration program providing drug treatment to adolescents involved in the juvenile justice system, as a case study. During its initial months of operation, APT struggled to identify and enroll the right clients during its first months of operation. The paper describes the challenges involved in launching innovations in the juvenile justice system, strategies for engaging front line workers, and the mechanics of service delivery in a secure environment. It is both a cautionary tale of how even a well-planned program can encounter substantial difficulties during implementation and an example of how researchers and program managers can work together to quickly identify problems and test possible solutions. APT's initial enrollment problems also suggest a need for researchers to be more involved in the design of new programs.

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Updated 05/20/2006