Juvenile Justice: Technical Assistance and Better Defined Evaluation Plans Will Help to Improve Girls' Delinquency Programs

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Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Girls' delinquency has attracted the attention of federal, state, and local policymakers for more than a decade as girls have increasingly become involved in the juvenile justice system. For example, from 1995 through 2005, delinquency caseloads for girls in juvenile justice courts nationwide increased 15 percent while boys' caseloads decreased by 12 percent. Also, from 1995 through 2005, the number of girls' cases nationwide involving detention increased 49 percent compared to a 7 percent increase for boys. More recently, in 2007, 29 percent of juvenile arrests--about 641,000 arrests--involved ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. July 24, 2009.

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Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Girls' delinquency has attracted the attention of federal, state, and local policymakers for more than a decade as girls have increasingly become involved in the juvenile justice system. For example, from 1995 through 2005, delinquency caseloads for girls in juvenile justice courts nationwide increased 15 percent while boys' caseloads decreased by 12 percent. Also, from 1995 through 2005, the number of girls' cases nationwide involving detention increased 49 percent compared to a 7 percent increase for boys. More recently, in 2007, 29 percent of juvenile arrests--about 641,000 arrests--involved girls, who accounted for 17 percent of juvenile violent crime arrests and 35 percent of juvenile property crime arrests. Further, in a 2007 survey of states conducted by the Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice, 22 states listed girls' delinquency as an issue affecting their states' juvenile justice systems. State justice officials responding to the survey noted that juvenile female offenses have increased sharply and also noted that juvenile female offenders generally had more serious and wide-ranging service needs than juvenile male offenders, including treatment for substance abuse and mental health conditions. As programs have been developed at the state and local levels in recent years that specifically target preventing girls' delinquency or intervening after girls have become involved in the juvenile justice system, it is important that agencies providing grants and practitioners operating the programs have information about which of these programs are effective. In this way, agencies can help to ensure that limited federal, state, and local funds are well spent. In general, effectiveness is determined through program evaluations, which are systematic studies conducted to assess how well a program is working--that is, whether a program produced its intended effects. To help ensure that grant funds are being used effectively, Congress asked us to review OJJDP's efforts related to studying and promoting effective girls' delinquency programs. This report addresses the following questions: 1. What efforts, if any, has OJJDP made to assess the effectiveness of girls' delinquency programs? 2. To what extent are OJJDP's efforts to assess girls' delinquency programs consistent with generally accepted social science standards and the internal control standard to communicate with external stakeholders? 3. What are the findings from OJJDP's efforts to assess the effectiveness of girls' delinquency programs, and how, if at all, does OJJDP plan to address the findings from these efforts?"

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • July 24, 2009

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  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. Juvenile Justice: Technical Assistance and Better Defined Evaluation Plans Will Help to Improve Girls' Delinquency Programs, text, July 24, 2009; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc297223/: accessed December 12, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.