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PBS and At-Risk Youth: A Continuum of Needs and Supports

PBS and At-Risk Youth: A Continuum of Needs and Supports. C. Michael Nelson University of Kentucky Matthew Cregor Southern Poverty Law Center Jeff Sprague University of Oregon Kristine Jolivette Georgia State University. Agenda. Introductions Needs of At-Risk & Adjudicated Youth

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PBS and At-Risk Youth: A Continuum of Needs and Supports

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  1. PBS and At-Risk Youth: A Continuum of Needs and Supports C. Michael Nelson University of Kentucky Matthew Cregor Southern Poverty Law Center Jeff Sprague University of Oregon Kristine Jolivette Georgia State University

  2. Agenda Introductions Needs of At-Risk & Adjudicated Youth Front End: Prevention Mid Depth: Diversion Programs Deep End: Residential Treatment; Secure Confinement

  3. Youth in Juvenile Corrections • Characteristics that relate to behavior: • Special education classification • Mental disorders • Drug and alcohol abuse • History of abuse, neglect, and witnessing violence • J. Gagnon, 2008

  4. Youth in Juvenile Corrections • Of students with disabilities in public schools • 8.1% are classified with emotional disturbance (ED) • 48.3% with a learning disability (LD) (U.S. Department of Education, 2006) • Of students with disabilities in JC schools • More than 42% are classified with ED • 42% are classified with LD (Gagnon et al., 2008; Quinn et al., 2001; Quinn et al., 2005) J. Gagnon, 2008

  5. Youth with Mental Disorders • Youth with mental disorders may have a greater likelihood of arrest, due to problems with interpersonal skills, problem solving skills, and with impulsivity (Mulford, Reppucci, Mulvey, Woolard, & Portwood, 2004)

  6. Youth with Mental Disorders in Juvenile Corrections • Compared to youth in the general population, youth in juvenile correctional facilities • Are about ten times more likely to be identified as having a diagnosis of conduct disorder or psychoses • Are two to four times more likely to have ADHD • Girls were 2-4 times more likely to have major depression and boys were twice as likely (Fazel, Doll, and Langstrom, 2008) J. Gagnon, 2008

  7. Youth with Mental Disorders in Juvenile Corrections • Excluding conduct disorder, 2/3 of males and 3/4 of females met diagnostic criteria for one or more psychiatric disorders (Skowyra & Cocozza, 2006; Teplin et al., 2002) • More than half of youth have oppositional defiant disorder or conduct disorder (Teplin, Abram, McClelland, Dulcan, & Mericle, 2002) • J. Gagnon, 2008

  8. Youth with Mental Disorders in Juvenile Corrections • One in ten youths in juvenile detention has recent thoughts of suicide and another one in ten has attempted suicide (Abram et al., 2008) • Youth in custody are three times more likely to complete suicide than youth in our communities (Gallagher & Dobrin, 2006) • Youth involved in child welfare and juvenile justice are five time more likely to complete suicide than youth in the general population (Farand et al., 2004) • Approximately 2/3 of incarcerated youth attempters used violent means that (e.g., cutting, hanging) that are more likely to succeed. About 85% of adolescents in the general population who attempt suicide, do so by overdose, which has less likelihood of completing suicide (Penn et al., 2003) • J. Gagnon, 2008

  9. Youth in Juvenile Corrections-Drug Abuse • About half of detained males and almost half of detained females have a substance use disorder (Abram, McClelland, Dulcan, & Mericle, 2002) • J. Gagnon, 2008

  10. Youth in Juvenile Corrections-History of Abuse, Neglect, and Witnessing Violence • 11% of detained youth were identified as having posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) • About 90% of youth in juvenile corrections have witnessed someone hurt very badly or killed (Abram, Teplin, Charles, Longworth, McClelland, & Dulcan, 2004; Teplin, Abram, McClelland, Dulcan, & Mericle, 2002) • 16% of youth have themselves sustained a gunshot or stab wound in the previous year (Shelton, 2000) • J. Gagnon, 2008

  11. Youth in Juvenile Corrections-History of Abuse, Neglect, and Witnessing Violence • 70% of females had been physically abused and 70% sexually abused (Evans, Alpers, Macari, & Mason, 1996) • Evans et al. also reported that of males, over 50% had experienced physical abuse and 20% has been sexually abused • In another study (Shelton, 2000), 35% of detained youth reported being physically abused and 18% reported being sexually abused • J. Gagnon, 2008

  12. Questions Why do these troubled and disabled youth end up in the juvenile justice system? When do their problems first emerge? What role do social institutions (family services, early childhood programs, schools) play in either addressing or exacerbating these problems? How does positive behavior support fit?

  13. Stopping the School-to-Prison Pipeline Matthew Cregor Southern Poverty Law Center

  14. Referral to Juvenile or Adult Court Juvenile Detentionor Secure Commitment Adult Prison SCHOOLS SCHOOL-TO-PRISON PIPELINE

  15. Juvenile Detentionor Secure Commitment Dropping Out Suspension & Expulsion Adult Prison SCHOOLS SCHOOL-TO-PRISON PIPELINE

  16. 75% of state prisoners are high school drop-outs

  17. Nationally, African-American children in public school are suspended or expelled at three times the rate of white students.


  19. African-American men are incarcerated at 6.5 times the rate of white men

  20. 70% of children in juvenile correctional facilities have significant mental and emotional problems

  21. EMOTIONALLY DISTURBED STUDENTS • Worst graduation rate; nationally, only 35% graduate high school (compared to 70% for all students) • More than three times as likely to be arrested before leaving school as all students • Twice as likely to be incarcerated as an adult


  23. JEFFERSON PARISH CLASS-WIDE SETTLEMENT • First in nation • Appointment of special master • Positive behavior interventions for ALL students • Psychological services • Eliminate illegal practices • End segregation • Vocational training services Jefferson

  24. OUT-OF-SCHOOL SUSPENSION RATE 30% 25% 42% Special Education Students Removed For More Than 10 Days Special Education Students Regular Students JEFFERSON PARISH

  25. 44% 0% After Before JEFFERSON PARISH Special Math or Reading Instruction for ED students

  26. Mississippi Alabama Louisiana


  28. Stopping the School-to-Prison Pipeline

  29. PBS in Alternative Education Jeffrey Sprague • University of Oregon

  30. PBS in Alternative Education • Status of alternative ed in the U.S. • Who is served? • Who is overrepresented? • Alt Ed Definitions • Alt Ed Research • What do we know? • What do we need? • An applied example

  31. Alternative Education 39 percent of public school districts administer at least one alternative school or program for at-risk students 1.3 % of all public school students, are enrolled in public alternative schools or programs for at-risk students 33% to 75% of students in alternative and residential programs are identified as emotionally and behaviorally disordered

  32. Alternative education • “Alternative education” (AE) can refer to any non-traditional educational service, but is often used to indicate a program provided for at-risk children or youth • (Aron, 2006). • 10,900 public alternative schools and programs in the nation served at-risk students during the 2000-01 school year (NCES, 2001). • Urban districts, large districts (those with 10,000 or more students), districts in the southeast, districts with high minority student enrollments, and districts with high poverty concentrations are more likely than other districts to have alternative schools and programs for at-risk students. • Students from ethnic minority groups tend to be over-represented in AE programs involving involuntary placement due to disciplinary problems • They are more likely to be under-represented in voluntary charter or magnet schools that focus on specialized themes or content areas, such as foreign language immersion schools.

  33. What works for the “few” in alternative ed? • Universal Screening (clear criteria for entry and exit) • Individualized support and school-based adult mentoring • Intensive social and life skills training • Alternatives to suspension and expulsion • Stronger reward systems • Increased monitoring in school • Parent/Family collaboration • Multi-agency service coordination • Service Learning and/or community service (Tobin & Sprague, 2002)

  34. Alt ed characteristics • Small class size and small student body • Choice to attend versus involuntary placement (although students may be placed in AE involuntarily for a variety of reasons) • A personalized school environment • High expectations for success • Students feel included in the decision making process • Special teacher training • Flexible teaching arrangements • Parent involvement and collaboration • Effective classroom management • Transition support. • Whether these characteristics are functionally related to student outcomes (positive or negative) is unknown (Quinn & Poirer, 2006; Tobin & Sprague, 2000a, 2000b, 2002).

  35. Alt Ed Configurations • Sponsoring agency • Public school • charter or magnet schools • “turn around” schools for students who have been expelled • collaborative efforts with businesses or non-profit charitable organizations • Mental health agencies, particularly hospitals and institutions providing residential treatment, operate AE programs for their school-age patients. • Juvenile justice agencies provide AE programs for youth who are detained in a correctional facility or, sometimes, who are on probation and who may be placed in a group home or other institution where they cannot attend their neighborhood schools • These various agencies may serve the same student at different times, creating a need for collaboration and coordination to facilitate transitioning from AE provided by one agency to AE provided by another, and sometimes to a traditional neighborhood school • Location • 59% of all public alternative schools and programs for at-risk students are housed in a separate facility

  36. Does it work? • No experimental study of efforts to implement PBS in separate alternative schools’ has been published to date • School within a school • Gottfredson (1997; 2001) • Sprague & Nishioka (2001; 2005; in preparation) • Exemplary alt ed programs • Quinn & Poirer, 2006

  37. Case Study: “José” José is a seventh grade student. Spanish is the primary language spoken in his home; English is considered his second language. José has difficulty sitting still and often engages in horseplay with other students by pretending to choke, hit, or kick them. This sometimes leads to fights and is viewed as disruptive by his teachers.

  38. José’s Presenting Problems Cultural and language issues Frequent discipline referrals for fighting, disruptive, and abusive language Failing grades High rates of aggressive behavior with peers Attention problems in class

  39. Interventions for José • Adult mentoring • Daily check-in and check-out • Self-management training and practice • Intensive social skills training and academic support • Alternative discipline with stronger rewards • Bi-lingual communication with family

  40. Outcomes for José • José’s grades improved greatly. • In 6th grade, his overall GPA was 1.25. • In his first semester of 7th grade, his GPA was 3.11. • Attendance: • Satisfactory attendance maintained • Behavior referrals: • Behavior referrals decreased from 16 referrals in 6th grade to 3 referrals in 7th grade

  41. School within a school example • Seven Schools • Three years implementation • Skills for Success • PBS plus school w/in school • Implementation fidelity • Student outcomes • Sprague & Yeaton (in preparation)

  42. . 97% Implementation Fidelity 99% Combined Implementation Fidelity by year 3

  43. Results Math & LA teachers for 80 students who were participating in either the Skills for Success Classroom or receiving Mental Health services were surveyed. The teachers reported that during the last semester: • 62% of the students were more attentive in class • 68% of the students were behaving better in class. • 75% of the students were getting along better with other students. The average improvement in these three indicators was 68%

  44. Results: Skills for Success Prior to SFS Math & LA grades averaged 0.50 (D-). Both Math & LA grades increased 1 full grade from D- to C-

  45. Results: Skills for Success Absences dropped from an average of almost 7 per term to below 5 and Referrals dropped from an average of almost 2.5 per term to below 1.

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