Early Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency
The Trauncy Intervention Program (often referred to as T.I.P.) is a program run by Twin Cedars Youth and Family Services, Inc. It is a collaborative effort between Twin Cedar Youth and Family Services in conjunction with Columbus Bar Association and the Muscogee County School District, as well as the volunteers who choose to become mentors for this program. This program has been in existence since 2002, but has been remodeled under the Twin Cedars Youth and Family Services, Inc. in 2011.
The T.I.P. program targets youths who have become involved in the juvenile court system for excessive absences from school. The program is both preventative and correctional in the sense that it catches juvenile youth before their absences could escalate into bigger troubles, and at the same time correct their behaviors by sending them back to school for the proper amount of education that is compulsory by law.
The method used by the T.I.P. program is mentor based. Trained mentors are paired with a juvenile for at least a year (or until the case is closed), and are required to spend at least 20 hours annually on an individual case to help advocate for the child and family. While doing so, they serve as a role model for their mentee and work with them to identify their problem, as well as help them understand the value of education.
The program aims to provide intervention at an early stage, as well as support the family resolve truancy problems by finding causes of it. According to the Twin Cedar Youth and Family Services, their logic states that their goal is to “identify the reason for truancy and help the family resolved them, thus the child remains in school” (Lewis). As mentioned prior, they believe that by academic success, the affected youth could be redirected to a “more positive and constructive future” (Lewis, para.2).
The missions of the program could not be more clearly stated by the organization. In short, they aim to support youth to reach their optimal academic potential by preventing truancy and related attendance issues. In order to do this, they partner youths with mentors who work with both the individuals and their families for planning and support. While doing this, these individuals are to be served with “respect and dignity”, acknowledged their “strengths, needs, and preferences” (Lewis, para.6). T.I.P. also aims to provide resources that are “culturally responsive to the diverse needs of families” that they serve, as each case may be drastically different from the others and need individualized attention from the volunteer mentors (Lewis, para.6). The association also aims to become a leader in creating long-term resources that benefits the families in their communities.
The Twin Cedars Youth and Family Services provide statistics on both the effectiveness of their truancy program, as well as the detrimental effects of truancy when left untouched. According to their statistics, Twin Cedars claims they have an 82.1 percent success rate since the beginning of the program, and that in 2010, 52.3 percent of the children served were male and 47.7 percent were female (Lewis, para.10). On a macro scale, the organization also claims that their experts “agree that truancy is the first sign of trouble, a gateway to crime”, and that “high school rates of truancy are linked to known risk factors for serious juvenile delinquency” (Lewis, para.7). In conjunction to this, they also note that 88% of all adult prison inmates in Georgia are high school dropouts, and that in the state as a whole, 31% of students do not graduate on time (Lewis, para.9). National truancy statistics show that statements here could be quite accurate, as the National Center for Mental Health Promotion and Youth Violence Prevention shares that studies have been done linking drug use to truancy, as well as noting that many truancy problems are caused by both economic and social dynamics and philosophies at the juvenile’s home (National Center for Mental Health Promotion and Youth Violence Prevention, para.4, para.8).
Although guidance and intervention may be helpful in the long run, it maybe is that the short-term effects could be more crucial than simply mentoring those who refuse to go to school by advocating it. By having the mentors also becoming personal tutors for their mentees, the mentees would be able to jump start their academic careers where they left off, and have personal help and reference when attempting to catch up to their peers. The mentees would also have an outside source of help during their learning process, in case they are too embarrassed to ask the faculty at school, both alone and in front of their peers. On another note, having the juveniles participating in grouped sessions may be helpful. This is because by having a peer based study session, students could help and motivate each other by seeing that they are not alone, and have many people in similar situations that are also seeking help. By having more structure in academic guidance, the association can simultaneously help those in both emotional and academic need.