UNIVERSITY PARK – While youth violence and delinquency continue to challenge many communities across the U.S., Pennsylvania has been a national leader in confronting youth problem behaviors in a progressive and proactive fashion for more than a decade, according to a report by Penn State researchers.
The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency’s Research-based Programs Initiative has supported the implementation more than 140 proven-effective prevention programs, with $60 million in overall funding. The programs are making a significant difference in Pennsylvania communities by reducing youth drug use and antisocial behavior, preventing school bullying and strengthening families, says a project report by Penn State’s Prevention Research Center.
Mark Greenberg, director of the Center, noted, “These success stories demonstrate that evidence-based programs are already having a significant impact on violence, delinquency and youth substance use, and show that the full benefits of Pennsylvania’s investment in research-guided prevention will continue to be seen for generations to come.”
He added, “An essential component in the success of these programs is the fact that Pennsylvania has created a model of technical assistance to ensure that the programs are being implemented with the highest quality and fidelity.”
The report, “Reducing Youth Violence and Delinquency in Pennsylvania: PCCD’s Research-based Programs Initiative, Reducing Youth Violence and Delinquency in Pennsylvania,” describes Pennsylvania’s approach to addressing juvenile crime through case studies of 19 of these model prevention programs being implemented throughout the Commonwealth.
The report contains de scri ptions of the wide variety of positive outcomes being seen in these communities. The Prevention Research Center team that prepared this report has also studied how these programs fare after state funding support ends, and has found that most have been sustained by local communities.
Project Director Brian Bumbarger noted, “Pennsylvania has made a wise investment in local community coalitions by supporting their use of proven-effective models for preventing youth violence and aggression, delinquency and youth substance abuse.”