Executive Summary and Table of Contents

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Executive Summary

Table of ContentsNearly two decades ago, the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) began a deliberate effort to bring effective violence prevention programs to communities across the Commonwealth.  Through a variety of efforts Pennsylvania has created an infrastructure intended to support the adoption, implementation, and success of select evidence-based programs where they are needed. This infrastructure includes a cross-system Resource Center for Evidence-based Prevention and Intervention Programs and Practices.  In 2008, with funding from PCCD and the Office of Children, Youth, and Families (OCYF), the Penn State EPISCenter was established, with the primary goal of advancing high quality implementation, impact assessment, and sustainability of a menu of evidence-based programs identified by the Resource Center, in order to maximize the positive impact for youth, families, and communities.

Evidence-based intervention programs (EBIs) play an important role in the state’s initiative to reduce dependency, delinquency, youth violence, and substance abuse. Programs such as Functional Family Therapy (FFT), Multisystemic Therapy (MST), and Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care (MTFC) provide effective intervention for youth who exhibit behaviors bringing them in contact with the juvenile justice and child welfare systems.

In FY 2011/2012, a total of 3,650 Pennsylvania youth were served by EBIs. The vast majority of these youth were referred by the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, and 60% were at imminent risk of placement, according to the providers who served them.  With the support of EBIs, 88% of these youth remained in their communities and 87% had no new offenses at the time of discharge. It is estimated that the state saw an immediate savings of over $16 million related to diversion from placement across the three programs and will experience an economic benefit of $71.4 million resulting from crime reduction due to the use of these programs.While Pennsylvania has seen a strong return on its investment in EBIs, providers report immediate threats to sustainability that are resulting in significant financial losses for many programs. If left unaddressed, the inevitable result will be program closures and fewer evidence-based options for serving high-risk Pennsylvania youth.  Current challenges include underutilization of services, delays in the start of services, administrative requirements that draw from providers’ limited resources, and difficulty accessing adequate funding to cover all aspects of the service.

These challenges are interrelated in complex ways and would be most effectively addressed through collaboration between state leaders, counties, and providers to identify creative and systemic solutions.  Policies and regulations that provide a comprehensive approach to supporting the sustainability of EBIs statewide are needed.

Download the Executive Summary and the Table of Contents (Written in December 2012)

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