|CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO JUVENILE JUSTICE ACTION PLAN
One of the most challenging and rewarding adaptions of our model was the public-private partnerships we developed when asked to write and implement a master plan for San Francisco's juvenile justice system. The Plan’s innovations
lie in both its development process and the plan itself. The unique
planning process included key steps:
- The City turned not to professional consultants, but to the people who are the problem
to become the solution. In hiring the Delancey Street Foundation,
where adult ex-offenders have turned their lives around, as the
key designers and implementers of the Plan, the City ensured that all voices would be heard.
- Delancey Street solicited
insights from the myriad voices of the system, including interviews
with over 400 people, from judges to community workers to the
juvenile justice youths themselves. The strengths and needs of each neighborhood
- People put aside historical conflicts to focus
on the actual needs of real youths. In an innovative “Placement
Simulation Exercise,” diverse system players united to study
profiles of actual youths in the system and articulate truly life-changing
services. Participants from historically “opposing camps”
discovered a shared vision of an ideal system that could serve
|“The planning process
has emerged as one of the most effective parts of the
entire Action Plan. It provided a forum to bridge the
philosophical divides that separate systems and providers
in their approaches to working with our youth. People
stopped talking about politics and started talking about
Deputy City Attorney
In July 1997, the City adopted the Juvenile Justice
Action Plan. The Plan had three major goals:
- To change the system to a true collaborative
- To provide a Circle of Care which offers entry
to youth at any point in the Circle, surrounds them with appropriate
intensive services at each stage, and enables youths to move forward
or backward within the Circle from prevention to secure custody
(Click here for Circle of Care)
- To provide six specific programs that filled
critical gaps in the overall system.
Youth enter the Circle of Care programs through a
number of pathways including the police, probation, community-based
organizations, schools, parents, or self-referrals.
AN OVERVIEW OF SAN FRANCISCO JUVENILE JUSTICE ACTION PLAN PROGRAMS
- Early Risk and Resiliency Program: A program to identify and
intervene with young adolescents who demonstrate early signs of
behavioral issues. Develop and administer a strengths-based test
to youths identified from crime-involved families.
- Community Assessment and Referral Center (CARC):
A central intake site where arrested youth are brought, assessed
by providers and referred for appropriate services.
- Safe Corridor: A program providing youth with safe
transport and heightened surveillance along the high crime Mission corridor.
- Bayview Safe Haven After-school Program: A program with recreational,
vocational, and educational programming in an identified high crime area of the city.
- Life Learning Academy: An intensive, extended-day,
public charter high school located on Treasure Island.
- Life Learning Residential Center for Girls: A residential
placement for girls located on Treasure Island. All residents
also attend the Life Learning Academy.
|“I have much better
information on the kids who come through the Action Plan
programs as compared with other kids who come before me…When
these kids come to court, not only have I talked about
their situation with (Action Plan) program staff, but
also staff are there with the kid on their court dates
to tell me what has been going on, both the good and the
bad…and that helps me know what action I should
take.”—Hon. Kevin McCarthy, Superior Court Judge
In the first three years of the Action Plan implementation
over 2,000 youths suffering from family disintegration, poverty,
drugs, crime, and school failure were provided services. Comprehensive
independent evaluations of these programs were conducted over a
three-year period. These independent evaluations have called that
model “phenomenally successful” and given it significant
credit for one of the nation’s largest declines in juvenile
arrests that occurred during the course of the implementation of
Some evaluations highlights:
- Those who participated in the Community Assessment
and Referral Center (CARC) program completed probation at a higher
rate, decreased their percentage of suspensions and expulsions
from prior to program entry to the follow-up periods, and had
fewer sustained petitions and fewer out of home placements, all
of which is in direct contrast to the comparison group. In addition,
youths who successfully completed CARC were significantly more
likely to remain arrest free in the intervention period as well
as the three follow-up periods. This was significant in light
of the fact that approximately 70% of youths served by CARC successfully
completed the program.
From a systemic perspective, the evaluator found
that CARC and its community partners have made a major change in
the way the City and County of San Francisco responds to youths
arrested for committing low- to medium-severity offenses.
|“CARC is an example
of how to efficiently use Police resources. In the past,
it would take an officer 3-4 hours to process a youth
case. Now, Police pick up youth, take them to CARC, and
get back out on the beat where the taxpayers want them.
And officers over time have realized that CARC is effective
with all cases, including the tougher felons.”—Lt.
Vivian Williams, SFPD
- Bayview Safe Haven (BVSH) youths are significantly
less likely to be suspended from school than their comparison
group counterparts. Among those with a history of juvenile
justice system involvement, BVSH youths were significantly
less likely to recidivate than those in the comparison group.
Among those with no history of criminal justice involvement,
BVSH youths were significantly less likely to commit their
first offense than their comparison group counterparts. BVSH
youths were also more likely to end their wardship of court
status than their comparison group counterparts.
The Bayview Safe Haven program also created change
on a community level. In an analysis of the Safe Haven census
tract and comparative tracts, the evaluator found that crime
declined significantly in the experimental census tract. Further
the data show that while the experimental tract started off
with the highest rate of juvenile crime among all of the census
tracts under study, in 1999 it had among the lowest rates of
juvenile crime among these census tracts. By 1999, only one
tract had a rate that was lower (9%) and this tract started
off with a considerably lower rate of crime in 1993.
Delancey Street implemented and operated the six Juvenile
Justice Plan programs for three years and then facilitated the identification
of community-based organizations to take over operation of the programs.
Delancey Street continues to operate the Life Learning Academy which
is modeled on the principles of the Delancey Street Foundation.
(Click here for the Life Learning Academy including evaluation findings.)
Contact Delancey Street at 415-512-5170 for a copy
of the Action Plan and summaries of the evaluations.
"Full House" San Francisco Bay Guardian (2/99)
"New school for problem kids will lean on founder's record " The Independent (2/98)
"Delancey Street Takes Charge of Juvenile Justice System Overhaul," Mission News (11/97)
“Silbert thrilled by
new grant,” San Francisco Examiner (5/18/97)
face lift approved,” San Francisco Examiner (5/16/97)
“Juvenile Reform Plan Wins State Funding,”
San Francisco Chronicle (5/97)