Model Family Programs for Delinquency Prevention
Rating * Model Target * 6-18 Speciality * Family Therapy
Program * Home-Based Behavioral Systems Family Therapy
Description *

  This program is based on the Functional Family Therapy Model. Long-range objectives include: reduced child involvement in juvenile justice system; reduced self-reported delinquency; reduced teen pregnancy; reduced special class placement; increased graduation rates; increased employment. Intermediate objectives include: decreased family conflict; increased cohesion; improved communication; improved parental monitoring, discipline, and support of appropriate child behavior; improved problem solving abilities; improved parent-school communication; improved school attendance and grades; improved child adjustment. Dr. Gordon's adapted model has been applied to multiply offending, institutionalized delinquents, and targets families with lower educational levels and higher levels of pathology than the original model developed. Modifications were made for families in Appalachia and for inner-city African American families.

The program is delivered in 5 phases: Introduction/Credibility; Assessment; Therapy; Education; and Generalization/Termination. In the early phases, therapists are less directive and more supportive and empathic than in the later phases, when the family's cooperation and resistance is more conducive to increased therapist directiveness. Percentage of therapist-family contact time devoted to each phase is approximately: 5 % Introduction; 15% Assessment; 45% Therapy; 25% Education; and 10% Generalization/Termination.

The first evaluation was based on treatment of twenty-seven 14 to 16-year-old, court selected delinquents who were considered likely to recidivate and/or to be placed out of the home. After a two to two-and-a-half year follow-up period, recidivism for the treatment group was 11 % vs 67% for the control group. The subjects in this study were followed for another 32 months into adulthood. The treatment group showed a 9% recidivism rate for criminal offenses vs 45 % for the control group. The second evaluation was conducted with forty juveniles referred to the treatment program because they were the most serious, chronic offenders in the county. Upon an average of 18 months following the end of treatment, 30% of treated delinquents re-offended and 12% required another institutional commitment. A constructed statistical control group, based upon risk of recidivating, would be expected to have a 60-75% recidivism rate, and a recommitment rate of 50-60%. The large difference between actual and expected rates indicate a robust treatment effect, not due to chance.

    Contact * Donald A. Gordon, Ph.D. 
    Address* Psychology Department, Ohio University 
        Athens, OH  45701
    Phone * 740 593-1074
    Email  * 
    Dept. of Health Promotion and Education

Funded by - Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention