At "Joe's Place," Camden County Teens Receive Day-Treatment Services
The Comprehensive Adjustment Program for Youth (CAP), a project of the Genesis Counseling Center, takes Camden County adolescents serving time for drug-related offenses and provides them with structured and comprehensive day-treatment services at "Joe's Place," a facility in South Camden.
- A total of 56 adolescents ages 14 to 19 were released from Jamesburg Youth Correctional Center from September 2001 through August 2002 to participate in CAP.
- CAP participants received substance abuse counseling, mental health counseling, basic skills training, tutoring and study skills training, recreation, job placement assistance and leadership building education.
- Each adolescent remained in the program for a minimum of 90 days.
- Based on an evaluation of participants after that period, CAP staff concluded that:
- More than half of the participants had reduced their rates of positive urine drug screens while on parole.
- Some 90 percent of participants had developed and enhanced their interpersonal skills.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) provided a grant of $50,000 from September 2001 to August 2002 to support development of CAP.
Thirty-two percent of all juvenile offenses in Camden County over a seven-month period during 1999 were drug-related, according to a review by Genesis Counseling. In the absence of a structured program of counseling and education to integrate adolescents back into the community, young offenders often returned to their destructive behaviors and recidivism was high.
Genesis, a nonprofit organization that provides outpatient substance abuse treatment services to youth and teens, has a track record of coordinating new and complex programs in the field, including helping to establish one of the state's first juvenile and adult drug courts.
RWJF has made two previous grants to Genesis to help set up and support a drug court program for adults in Camden County. See Grant Results on ID#s 033796 and 030315.)
From September 2001 through August 2002, a total of 56 adolescents ages 14 to 19, most of them from low-income families, were released from Jamesburg Youth Correctional Center to participate in the Comprehensive Adjustment Program for Youth (CAP).
These young people had been referred to CAP by the Camden County Youth Parole Board and remained under judicial or administrative supervision. To qualify for participation, adolescents were required to have a healthy, stable and safe place to live while in treatment; a parent, guardian or adult actively supporting them in the program; and a commitment to adhere to CAP's structure.
CAP participants received substance abuse counseling, mental health counseling, basic skills training, tutoring and study skills training, recreation, job placement assistance and leadership building education. Genesis partnered with the Genesis School of Business (not related to Genesis Counseling), Camden County One-Stop Center and the Camden County Resource Center to provide comprehensive services.
Each adolescent remained in the program for a minimum of 90 days. Based on an evaluation of participants after that period, CAP concluded that more than half of them had reduced their rates of positive urine drug screens while on parole. Ninety percent of participants had developed and enhanced their interpersonal skills.
The project offered the following lessons:
- To provide the breadth of needed services, it is important to use and pool the resources of as many diverse agencies as possible when working with at-risk youth. (Project Director)
- At-risk populations function better with a simple program structure where expectations are clearly defined and appropriate behavior is modeled. Participants in the Comprehensive Adjustment Program for Youth initially floundered when the program structure was still being worked out and expectations were not clearly defined. (Project Director)
AFTER THE GRANT
In partnership with other organizations, Genesis has expanded CAP to include mentoring, community service, pre-apprenticeship/ occupational training and other programs and services. CAP now provides an alternative to the Jamesburg Youth Correctional Center and to various youth shelters in Camden County. The New Jersey Juvenile Justice Commission is exploring the use of the model for the entire state. Additional funding is from Camden County ($25,000) and Campbell Soup Company ($5,000), which is headquartered in Camden.
GRANT DETAILS & CONTACT INFORMATION
Counseling Program for Youthful Offenders
Genesis Counseling Center (Collingswood, NJ)
Dates: September 2001 to August 2002
Gabriel L. Guerrieri, M.Ed., M.A.C., L.P.C.
Report prepared by: Karin Gillespie
Reviewed by: Karyn Feiden
Reviewed by: Molly McKaughan
Program Officer: Marco Navarro