When originally developed in 1974, the HOMEBUILDERS® model of IFPS was used primarily to serve adolescents and their families. From 1974 until 1986 adolescents comprised approximately 58% of referrals. The proportion of families served who have younger children has steadily grown. Adolescents now comprise approximately 22% of referrals.
While most of these youth have been referred from the child welfare system, concurrent or past juvenile court involvement is common in this population. Following is a brief history and outcomes of the services to families of youth involved in the juvenile justice system that have been provided by Institute for Family Development (IFD).
- 1976 — Pierce County, WA, Juvenile Court. HOMEBUILDERS® was funded by the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Administration for Children, Youth and Families to provide services to youth and families referred from the Pierce County Juvenile Court.
Twelve months after intake, 73% of youth served were not placed in out-of home care. Data from the overflow comparison group showed that only 28% of the comparison youth avoided placement.
- 1987–1994 — Family Ties, Bronx, NY. The Family Ties program was developed to test the HOMEBUILDERS® model with a juvenile justice population. The program was designed to avert juvenile placements and reduce recidivism. Institute for Family Development trained the New York staff and assisted them in the replication of the HOMEBUILDERS® model.
Outcome data from the program showed that Family Ties averted from incarceration 65% of the youth referred by Juvenile Court; 82% of juveniles who participated in the program remained crime-free and out of placement twelve months later; and the program was cost beneficial, saving the state and city governments an estimated 2.7 million dollars a year.
- 1992–1993 — Division of Juvenile Rehabilitation. IFD entered into a contract with the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services and the Division of Juvenile Rehabilitation to offer the HOMEBUILDERS® model to families of youth committed into Option B Probation (an alternative program to commitment for middle and serious offenders).
Outcome data for the treatment group: 50% of youth had detentions, 17% had new charges, and 8% had new commitments. Outcome data for the control group: 100% of youth had detentions, 80% had new charges, and 20% had new commitments.
- 2003–2006 — Parents and Children Together (PACT), Snohomish County Juvenile Court. IFD received funding from the Washington State Governor’s Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee (GJJAC) and the City of Everett, WA to provide services modeled on the HOMEBUILDERS® program to court involved youth. Referrals included youth on probation and status offenders; youth were assessed as being at moderate risk to re-offend.
An independent evaluation of IFD’s PACT program in Snohomish County compared pre- and post-project court records (JUVIS), and “determined that youths had 58% fewer offense convictions during a 12-month follow-up period than in a comparable period before they entered the project” (September 2005).
Based on these studies and others, HOMEBUILDERS® has been designated as an evidence based practice for juvenile justice:
- The HOMEBUILDERS® program is designated a Model Program for preventing juvenile delinquency by the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) and the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP).
- HOMEBUILDERS® is designated as an effective program by Crime Solutions. Crime Solutions is an effort undertaken by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP) to identify effective, quality programs and practices in the fields of criminal justice, juvenile justice, and crime victimization to serve as evidence-based models for the field. This evidence-based repository will serve as a valuable clearinghouse of information about what works and what is promising in justice programs and practices. www.crimesolutions.gov
To learn more about the Homebuilders® program, visit www.institutefamily.org
Posted by Charlotte Booth, Executive Director, Institute for Family Development