Intervention Program Evaluation

Evaluating the Success of The 8% Early Intervention Program

May 2001

Beginning in 1997 and aided by a state Repeat Offender Prevention Program grant, the Orange County Probation Department began its research component of the 8% Early Intervention Program. As our juvenile intake officers evaluated new cases for suitability, cases were assigned randomly to either the 8% program (the "experimental" group) or to a control group supervised by probation officers in the traditional way.

This evaluation component focused on North Orange County and primarily cases in the city of Anaheim, not in other regions of the county where Youth and Family Resources Centers were developed later and funding for research was not available.

As of December 31, 2000, there were 116 youth assigned to the 8% Early Intervention Program in North Orange County and 115 cases assigned to the control group. Data from the Intake Worksheet and Case Selection Summary used by our officers have been used to evaluate the comparability of these two groups. To date, the groups are quite comparable on all the 8% risk factors and other important demographic variables, such as average age, gender and ethnicity.

Comparing Crime Recidivism Rates

By the end of the year 2000 in the North County region, it had been 18 months since 71 youth had begun the 8% Early Intervention Program and another 62 cases had begun probation supervision in the control group. Most of those youth either had completed their involvement in the program or completed their probation supervision. The Probation Department had compared the two groups after six and 12 months, and could now make an 18-month comparison.

There are dramatic differences in the intensity of the services provided the youth in the 8% Early Intervention Program versus the control group. Minors in the experimental group are all on-site at the YFRC five to six days per week and receive close supervision and wrap-around services from a multidisciplinary team, whereas the minors in the control group are seen two to four times per month, primarily by the assigned deputy probation officer.

In the first six months, roughly half of both the experimental and control groups faced allegations of either new law violations or probation violations. This demonstrates to our agency that we are correctly earmarking those youth for the program who are, in fact, most likely to re-offend.

Because the problems faced by "8%" youth and their families are broad-based and deep-rooted, it takes time to see tangible and positive results from the intensive intervention. There are modest, positive gains from the experimental group compared to the control group in the first year, but those results are more pronounced after 18 months. Specifically, after 18 months compared with the control group, the experimental group (those in the 8% Early Intervention Program) had:

  • Fewer youth with two or more court petitions filed alleging new crimes committed or probation violations (55% to 70%)
  • A lower average number of days spent in custody for offenses or probation violations (155 days vs. 221 days)

About one-fourth of the youth in each group had no further allegations of new crimes committed or probation violations. Among the repeat offenders, the research demonstrates that the youth in the 8% program committed fewer offenses than their control group counterparts. Specifically, they had:

  • Fewer allegations filed regarding new crimes or probation violations per minor overall (3.3 vs. 4.1 on average)
  • Fewer new crimes alleged per minor (1.0 vs. 1.5 on average)

Clearly, to date, the 8% Early Intervention Program is demonstrating success in reducing chronic repeat offending by high-risk youth. If these results continue into the future, the long-term benefits of this program will far outweigh the cost of these early intervention efforts. There will be cost savings from not institutionalizing as many teenagers and young adults and, more importantly, we will see a reduction in the human pain, suffering, and property loss of their victims.

Review tables comparing the experimental and control groups from the 8% Early Intervention Program research study after 6, 12, and 18 months.

A summary of the research design used by the Orange County Probation Department to evaluate the effectiveness of The 8% Early Intervention Program is included as an appendix to "The 8% Solution: Preventing Serious, Repeat Juvenile Crime" (Schumacher and Kurz, 2000). As noted earlier, the book is available in both hard back and soft cover form from Sage Publications at the company's website at sagepub.com.

Intervention Program Evaluation

Evaluating the Success of The 8% Early Intervention Program

May 2001

Beginning in 1997 and aided by a state Repeat Offender Prevention Program grant, the Orange County Probation Department began its research component of the 8% Early Intervention Program. As our juvenile intake officers evaluated new cases for suitability, cases were assigned randomly to either the 8% program (the "experimental" group) or to a control group supervised by probation officers in the traditional way.

This evaluation component focused on North Orange County and primarily cases in the city of Anaheim, not in other regions of the county where Youth and Family Resources Centers were developed later and funding for research was not available.

As of December 31, 2000, there were 116 youth assigned to the 8% Early Intervention Program in North Orange County and 115 cases assigned to the control group. Data from the Intake Worksheet and Case Selection Summary used by our officers have been used to evaluate the comparability of these two groups. To date, the groups are quite comparable on all the 8% risk factors and other important demographic variables, such as average age, gender and ethnicity.

Comparing Crime Recidivism Rates

By the end of the year 2000 in the North County region, it had been 18 months since 71 youth had begun the 8% Early Intervention Program and another 62 cases had begun probation supervision in the control group. Most of those youth either had completed their involvement in the program or completed their probation supervision. The Probation Department had compared the two groups after six and 12 months, and could now make an 18-month comparison.

There are dramatic differences in the intensity of the services provided the youth in the 8% Early Intervention Program versus the control group. Minors in the experimental group are all on-site at the YFRC five to six days per week and receive close supervision and wrap-around services from a multidisciplinary team, whereas the minors in the control group are seen two to four times per month, primarily by the assigned deputy probation officer.

In the first six months, roughly half of both the experimental and control groups faced allegations of either new law violations or probation violations. This demonstrates to our agency that we are correctly earmarking those youth for the program who are, in fact, most likely to re-offend.

Because the problems faced by "8%" youth and their families are broad-based and deep-rooted, it takes time to see tangible and positive results from the intensive intervention. There are modest, positive gains from the experimental group compared to the control group in the first year, but those results are more pronounced after 18 months. Specifically, after 18 months compared with the control group, the experimental group (those in the 8% Early Intervention Program) had:

  • Fewer youth with two or more court petitions filed alleging new crimes committed or probation violations (55% to 70%)
  • A lower average number of days spent in custody for offenses or probation violations (155 days vs. 221 days)

About one-fourth of the youth in each group had no further allegations of new crimes committed or probation violations. Among the repeat offenders, the research demonstrates that the youth in the 8% program committed fewer offenses than their control group counterparts. Specifically, they had:

  • Fewer allegations filed regarding new crimes or probation violations per minor overall (3.3 vs. 4.1 on average)
  • Fewer new crimes alleged per minor (1.0 vs. 1.5 on average)

Clearly, to date, the 8% Early Intervention Program is demonstrating success in reducing chronic repeat offending by high-risk youth. If these results continue into the future, the long-term benefits of this program will far outweigh the cost of these early intervention efforts. There will be cost savings from not institutionalizing as many teenagers and young adults and, more importantly, we will see a reduction in the human pain, suffering, and property loss of their victims.

Review tables comparing the experimental and control groups from the 8% Early Intervention Program research study after 6, 12, and 18 months.

A summary of the research design used by the Orange County Probation Department to evaluate the effectiveness of The 8% Early Intervention Program is included as an appendix to "The 8% Solution: Preventing Serious, Repeat Juvenile Crime" (Schumacher and Kurz, 2000). As noted earlier, the book is available in both hard back and soft cover form from Sage Publications at the company’s website at sagepub.com.