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A program evaluation of the Betty Marler Youth Services Center

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Title:
A program evaluation of the Betty Marler Youth Services Center
Creator:
Moseley, Ivy Ayn
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Language:
English
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ix, 70 leaves : ; 28 cm

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Subjects / Keywords:
Female juvenile delinquents -- Services for -- Colorado ( lcsh )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 67-70).
General Note:
School of Public Affairs
Statement of Responsibility:
by Ivy Ayn Moseley.

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|University of Colorado Denver
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|Auraria Library
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
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227795445 ( OCLC )
ocn227795445
Classification:
LD1193.P74 2007m M67 ( lcc )

Full Text
A PROGRAM EVALUATION OF THE BETTY
MARLER YOUTH SERVICES CENTER
by
IvyAyn Moseley
B.A., University of Northern Colorado, 2005
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Criminal Justice
School of Public Affairs
2007


This thesis for the Master of Criminal Justice
Degree by
IvyAyn Moseley
has been approved
by
w)\^ |m
Date


Moseley, IvyAyn (Masters of Criminal Justice, School of Public Affairs)
Raising the Bar: A Program Evaluation of the Betty K Marler Youth Services
Center
Thesis directed by Associate Professor Mary Dodge
Abstract
An increasing number of female juvenile offenders are entering the juvenile
justice system creating a need for female responsive programs. Current literature
describes female responsive programs as targeting issues surrounding substance
abuse, trauma, mental health and economic marginality. This exploratory study is
a qualitative program evaluation of the Betty Marler Youth Services Center, a
program specifically designed for girls. Interviews and focus groups were utilized
to examine effective and ineffective program elements as perceived by clients,
graduated clients, staff, and client families. Recommendations were made to
maintain positive program elements and to improve select elements.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates thesis. I
recommend its publication.
Signed
idge


DEDICATION
I dedicate this thesis to my family. Without their support and wisdom this project
would not have been possible. I also dedicate this project to all of the young
women who have been through the system and have so often been treated like
boys.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
Many thanks to my advisor and mentor, Mary Dodge, for her endless support and
encouragement. Also, I wish to extend my gratitude to my committee members
for their willingness to assist this project to the end under such unfavorable
conditions. And lastly, to the BMYSC Steering Committee and all the Rite of
Passage staff who provided insight and information resulting in the successful
completion of this project.


TABLE OF CONTENTS
Tables....................................................................ix
Chapter
1. Introduction and Literature Review...............................1
History of Female Juvenile Corrections........................2
Female Responsive Treatment...................................3
History of Rite of Passage and the Betty Marler
Youth Services Center.........................................9
Statement of Purpose and Significance........................15
2. Research Methodology...........................................16
3. Findings.......................................................21
BMYSC Residents..............................................21
Effective Program Elements...........................22
Problematic Program Elements.........................25
BMYSC Graduates..............................................27
Positive Reflections.................................27
Regrets and Struggles in the Program.................29
Goal Attainments.....................................30
Family Members of BMYSC Residents............................30
Self Esteem Building.................................31
vi


Problems with Communication
32
How the Girls Have Changed..........................33
Least Restrictive Policy............................33
BMYSC Counselors and Line Staff............................34
Improvement of Transitional Services................35
Staff Maintenance...................................35
Increased Opportunities.............................36
4. Conclusions...................................................38
Maintenance of Effective Elements..........................38
Recommendations for Improvement............................40
Limitations................................................45
Future Research............................................46
Appendix
A. Research Protocol for Current Residents at BMYSC..............48
B. Research Protocol for Graduated Girls.........................49
C. Research Protocol for Therapeutic Managers....................50
D. Research Protocol for Staff Focus Group.......................51
E. Research Protocol for Family Focus Groups.....................52
F. Introduction/Recruitment Letter for Girls and Family Focus
Groups.........................................................53
vii


G. Focus Group Adult Informed Consent................................54
H. Individual Interviews Girls Informed Consent......................57
I. Parental Informed Consent Form.....................................60
J. Individual Interviews Adult Informed Consent.......................63
K. Institutional Review Board Approval................................66
References.....................................................................67
viii


LIST OF TABLES
Table
1.1 Project ACHIEVE.............................................14
2.1 Research Methodology........................................19
IX


CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION AND LITERATURE REVIEW
Over the past decade, the field of juvenile corrections has been adapting to
accommodate the growing number of female residents within their facilities. In
2004, female youth comprised 30% of all juvenile arrests in the nation and 54%
of those arrests ended in adjudication (Colorado, 2006). Initially, female youth
adjudicated for a crime received the same treatment services as young men
without consideration for gender specific issues. Young females, for example,
were placed in facilities designed for males and rarely were they given the
opportunity to participate in vocational training. In most cases, cognitive and
biological differences were ignored. Eventually, clinicians and practitioners
began examining the importance of gender specific programming and exploring
more effective treatment services. Limited research has explored gender specific
juvenile corrections. Current research focuses on specific program structures;
however, a concise operational definition of gender specific treatment is evolving.
Facilities across the nation are implementing treatment programs focused on the
needs of girls, despite the lack of a clear definition of what works for females.


History of Female Juvenile Corrections
The history of female juvenile corrections is marked by many attempts to
apply male oriented treatment. Juvenile corrections has been comprised of
evolving therapeutic models, such as the house of refuge and state reformatories,
all designed and operated to address the needs of boys (Allen & Simonsen, 1992;
Chesney-Lind & Sheldon, 2004). Facilities often adapted to accept and serve a
female population as the need arose, concentrating more on physical separation
between genders and paying little attention to addressing the specific needs of the
girls. Therapeutic treatment of this population has been almost exclusively been
based on the cultural perspectives of men (Feyes & Miller, 2002). Young female
offenders in the 1970s were most often sent to training schools and at a much
higher rate than their male counterparts (Bowker, 1978). Scholarship on the
subject suggests an overriding paternalistic ideology among the judiciary; that is,
young girls coming before the court needed to be protected and were subsequently
committed more readily than boys were.
The 1992 Reauthorization of the 1974 Juvenile Justice and Delinquency
Act promoted a closer examination of the needs of delinquent girls. The
legislation, according to Belknap (2001), addressed three areas of concerns: (a)
assessment of existing services and treatment; (b) identification of gender specific
needs; and (c) assurance of fair treatment. The changing perceptions and
2


governmental funding support a large scale research study that identified five
needs to achieve best practices in programming for delinquent girls (Greene et al.,
1998, p8).
1. need for physical safety and healthy physical development
2. need for trust, love, respect, and validation for emotional
development and positive relationships
3. need for positive female role models
4. need for safety to explore sexuality
5. need to belong, feel competent, and worthy
According to Greene et ah, programs must consider the effectiveness of
management, staffing, training, intake, education, wealth services, recreation,
mentoring, family, community, and evaluation. Overall, the researchers identified
20 specific guiding principles for best practice in programs for delinquent girls.
Female Responsive Treatment
The responsivity principle is a classification of offender rehabilitation that
encourages effective service delivery with an outcome goal of reduced recidivism
(Blanchette & Brown, 2006a). Two types of responsivity are included in the
principle: general and specific. General responsivity utilizes operant
conditioning, social learning, and cognitive behavioralist strategies to address
3


offender treatment. Based on these learning theories, the following techniques are
deemed useful in providing services to clients: positive reinforcement, prosocial
modeling, prosocial skill acquisition, extinction, and cognitive restructuring.
Client-specific responsivity strategies focus on individual factors that may
help or hinder the effectiveness of treatment (Blanchette & Brown, 2006a).
Internal, client-specific factors include: personality, emotional/mental health,
cognitive ability, motivation, demographic factors, and strengths. External factors
that can impact treatment effectiveness are related to the treatment environment
and therapist qualities. According to the responsivity principle, individual
specific factors need to be paired carefully with an effective treatment modality
and the appropriate therapist personality.
Female responsive rehabilitation is an outgrowth of the responsivity
principle. Internal, client-specific factors such as demographics and emotional
health drive the practical techniques utilized when treating women and girls.
Personal histories of sexual or physical abuse, drug abuse, and harmful
relationships need to be considered when programming for girls. Bloom and
Owen (2003) suggest that gender responsive practices need to target womens
pathways to criminality by providing effective interventions that address the
intersecting issues of substance abuse, trauma, mental health and economic
marginality (p. 15). Elements of successful female offender treatment, as
4


discussed in the literature, include: positive program staff, specific treatment
goals, prosocial peer influence, structured and individualized programs, adequate
technical support, acquisition of real skills, positive treatment environment,
victimization issues and assistance from outside the facility (Blanchette & Brown,
2006a; Bloom & Owen, 2003; Feyes & Miller, 2002; Chesney-Lind and Sheldon,
2004). Each of these areas is an integral component of successful and effective
female offender treatment.
Positive program staff is a central theme for female responsive offender
treatment. As Goodenough-Gordon (2006) noted in her research: Girls know
instantly if professionals think they know their problems and how to solve them,
and they will either resent this condescension or willingly hand over their lives for
others to solve, or both (p. 73). Research shows that many correctional workers
have negative attitudes towards working with female offenders including
perceptions that they are more difficult than men (Goodenough-Gordon, 2006).
Gender, considered a specific responsivity factor, requires that therapeutic
workers be respectful, empathic, warm, and caring (Blanchette & Brown, 2006a).
Treatment staff must exercise care not to alienate clients. Young girls must feel
as though at least one person in their lives, possibly their counselor or staff
member, really care about their success (Johnson, 1998). Research also shows
that recruiting and training personnel that are interested and qualified to work
5


with this population is paramount (Bloom & Owen, 2003). In addition, cross
training staff on girls specific needs is paramount, including, for example, such
areas as mental health and post traumatic stress disorder (Alford, 2006).
Peer pressure is blamed for much of juvenile delinquency. Research
shows that antisocial and negative peers are strong influences in regards to
developing delinquent behavior patterns in girls (Chesney-Lind, 2000). In
addition, positive relationships were more predictive of desistance for women
upon reentering the community (Blanchette & Brown, 2006b). Formulating
programs to encourage the growth and development of positive peer relationships
for girls increases the success of girls in the community.
Female responsive treatment relies heavily on structured and
individualized programs. Many facilities utilize process groups for dealing with
grief and loss, effective parenting, and stress management (Alford, 2006).
Blanchette and Brown (2006b) noted that substance abuse treatment is another
necessary programming element because it is linked to poor coping mechanisms
for girls. Teaching problem solving skills and addressing behavioral issues,
which are designed specifically for each girls individual history and needs, are
crucial to successful outcomes. The individualization of treatment related to
personal risks, needs, and protective areas is the basis of treatment for juvenile
females.
6


The acquisition of life skills is an important aspect for the rehabilitation of
young female offenders. Johnson (1998), in a study on young female perspectives
of their own criminality, found that girls usually got into trouble because of a
lack of employment. Bloom and Owen (2003) note that it is imperative to
understand a womans background and provide strength based approaches to skill
building. Female offender treatment must provide opportunities for training,
education, and skill building in order for them to improve their socio-economic
situations. Life skills attainment provides resources for girls to rebuild their self
confidence and status within the community.
Research on female responsive treatment also includes the importance of a
positive treatment environment. A safe and nurturing treatment environment is
essential for treatment progression (Bloom & Owen, 2003). Chesney-Lind (2000)
noted that good, neutral environments that allow for school and treatment services
to coexist are optimal. Gender appropriate clothing, although a seemingly
insignificant detail, creates a more normative environment that encourages self
esteem growth (Alford, 2006). Numerous factors culminate to provide an
environment that is positive in nature and offers a safe setting to encourage girls
to reach their treatment goals.
Girls in commitment settings report increasingly higher levels of violent
victimization such as sexual, incestuous, and long term abuse (Blanchette &
7


Brown, 2006b; Chesney-Lind, 2001; Dembo, Williams & Schmeidier, 1993).
Blanchette and Brown (2006a) noted that, although victimization does not
necessarily correlate with increased criminality, the astounding number of
victimized girls in the criminal justice system calls for treatment in these areas.
When examining the effectiveness of gender-specific treatment programs from
the perspectives of the clients, Feyes and Miller (2002) found that addressing the
abuse in girls lives is a high priority. For example, RADIUS, a girls program in
Minnesota, utilizes weekly groups with a trained trauma counselor to explore
prior victimization issues in conjunction with concepts such as self esteem, coping
skills, and relationships (Goodenough-Gordon, 2006). Histories of victimization
must be adequately addressed to allow girls to lead happy and productive lives.
Assistance from outside the facility plays an important role in
rehabilitating girls. Support from family and friends can be instrumental in
assisting girls to reach their goals. According to Blanchette and Brown (2006b),
prosocial family support was a strong predictor of a girls institutional adjustment.
Furthermore, they found that supportive family relationships were extremely
important for success post-release.
Female responsive offender treatment includes multiple elements based on
each girls individualized needs. Their histories and personal attributes are
considered when developing their treatment plans. Facilities must respond
8


appropriately to their needs utilizing positive, invested staff in a positive treatment
environment. Issues of peer pressure and victimization need to be addressed
while simultaneously teaching life skills and coping mechanisms. Programs must
be structured, individualized, and inviting for external support systems to
participate.
History of Rite of Passage and the Betty
Marler Youth Services Center
In the early 1980s, Rite of Passage (ROP) began operations with the
mission to provide effective programming for emotionally disturbed male youth.
The core values of their program include improving the self esteem of their clients
by enabling them to experience success through educational, vocational,
counseling, and athletic activities. ROP staff administers a cognitive, behavioral
program that focuses on improving problem solving skills. Rite of Passage, Inc
now operates facilities in Nevada, California, Arizona, and Colorado.
In 1993, the summer of violence essentially brought ROP to Colorado.
The news medias coverage of young super predator offenders created an
outrage in Colorado communities and among legislators. Lobbyists argued for
additional funding to provide for more detention and treatment facilities to deal
with youthful offenders. What followed was the construction and implementation
9


of the largest boys facility in the state of Colorado, Ridge View Youth Services
Center. Now in its 5th year of operation, Ridge View marked the beginning of
publicly funded, privately operated, treatment focused youth corrections in the
state.
In the fiscal year 2004-05, Ridge View discharged nearly 300 youth from
its program. Compared to other youth serviced by the Division of Youth
Corrections (DYC), Ridge View youth had a lower number of new charges prior
to discharge which include such indicators as assaults while committed or escape
charges. The comparison group consisted of all other juvenile males released
from Colorado state facilities during the same time frame. Many of these youth
were assessed as high risk, violent, or sex offenders. Ridge View youth, however,
had higher rates of post discharge offenses, new charges filed after completion of
parole, compared to other DYC populations. High recidivism risk factors include
property offenses, prior detention admissions, previous adjudication, and non-
Anglo male demographics. These risk factors are primary characteristics of youth
committed to Ridge View and may explain the increase in recidivism rates of
these particular youth (Colorado, 2007).
In early 2005, Rite of Passage (ROP) submitted a proposal to the State of
Colorado to operate the Betty K Marler Youth Services Center (BMYSC).
Previously the facility was operated by several unsuccessful contractors, many of
10


which ignored the female specific needs regarding treatment services. ROP was
awarded the contract and began operation of their first girls treatment facility on
June 6, 2005.
In a unique collaborative effort the Colorado Division of Youth
Corrections (DYC) and Rite of Passage set out to serve a growing population in
juvenile correctionsteenage girls. The facility services girls between the ages of
12 to 20 with an average age of 16 and 17. The majority of girls committed to the
facility have multiple placement failures and treatment needs. Additionally, the
girls typically have histories of abuse or neglect, substance abuse, and academic
difficulties (Rite, 2004). Programming for such a wide array of treatment issues
for young women was a challenge that ROP, was eager to address with 20 years
of experience in treating males.
The program philosophy utilized at the BMYSC is similar to the vision
ROP utilizes with their male clients at other facilities. Program elements are
designed to be individualized to the needs and potential of each girl. Kent Moe,
the regional program manager for ROP, stated: In an age where so much
emphasis is placed on the girls risk factors, we are looking at their potential, what
they can accomplish, and how can we help them reach their goals (personal
interview, December 1, 2006). ROPs mission statement notes their dedication to
improving the lives of youth and they operate on the basis that each girl has gifts
11


and treatment should be structured to encourage growth in those areas (Betty,
2006). Similarly, each youth is treated as a whole person and is encouraged to
establish healthy relationships and positive partnerships with the community.
Project Achieve is the organizational framework for treatment. The
programming model includes six gender-sensitive domains that offer a holistic
framework for goal setting, case planning, outcome measurement and monthly
reporting (Rite, 2004, 16). Achieve is an acronym that combines elements of
each girls treatment plan (see Table 1.1). The elements are specialized to each
girls needs through case planning completed by the therapeutic managers with
consideration of the juveniles histories and experiences.
Program services offered to the young women at the BMYSC are rich in
diversity and makeup. A gender specific cognitive behavioral model addresses
the behaviors responsible for the youths placement in DYC and includes the
Thinking for a Change curriculum which is an evidenced based cognitive
restructuring class (Bush, Glick & Taymans, 1997). The educational component
utilizes a Denver Public School, which incorporates gender-responsive best-
practices. Vocational training in three trades including culinary, computer
technology, and janitorial services and support from female mentors in those
specific fields prepare the girls for employment. Reunification and therapy is
encouraged through family visits and an evidence based curriculum called Active
12


Parenting (Gestwicki, 2000). Athletic and recreational activities encourage
physical fitness and self esteem building.
Specific treatment services include prescriptive treatment plans
individualized for each youth, as well as psychological and psychiatric services on
site. Many treatment plans include drug and alcohol counseling, and an evidence
based curriculum titled Seeking Safety (Seeking, 2005). The program also
incorporates the Girls Enriched Treatment and Transition (GETTS) program into
the prescriptive treatment plan for many of their clients. The GETTS program is
an intensive substance abuse treatment program for young girls funded through
grant monies. This program is on four goals including: increase prosocial
behavior, improve continuity of care, reduce recidivism and substance abuse, and
increase decision making and self respect. The curriculum teaches skills such as
identifying triggers, mood management, understanding thinking errors, and stress
management techniques. Program services are prescribed to each girl based on
treatment need and individual potential as outlined in the discrete case plan set
forth by the state.
13


Table 1.1 Project ACHEIVE (Rite, 2004)
Activities consist of creating an individual wellness plan that will help in tracking the development of healthy and positive lifestyles
Community focuses on being a positive contributing member to the program, as well as the external community, restorative justice component
Health in all forms (physical, emotional, and spiritual) is an important aspect for young women to possess. The health component emphasizes individualized goals that enable each student to learn health education, self-understanding, stress management, nutrition, and physical fitness to promote overall wellness
Individualized Treatment focuses on the specific needs of the student through individual, group, and family therapy
Education involves the academic, interpersonal, decision-making, and life skills that are necessary to function productively within society
Vocation teaches students job skills, which provide the foundation for future career paths
Empowerment enables young women to take charge of their behaviors, their bodies, their spirits, their relationships, and their future: and removes the roadblocks to success in the future
14


Statement of Purpose and Significance
The purpose of the current study is to identify strengths and weaknesses in
treatment services at the BMYSC. After a year of operation, the administrators of
BMYSC recognized the importance of a program evaluation. The research was
designed to assist administrators in structuring the most effective gender specific
programming to help treat the increasing number of girls entering the juvenile
justice system. Additionally, the research has implications for gender specific
programs across the country.
15


CHAPTER 2: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
This research is exploratory in nature and designed to collect qualitative
data using a process evaluation model. The primary research questions focus on
linking the elements of the program to the overall vision of creating best standard
practices in gender-specific programming for girls secure correctional facilities.
The study also is designed to gain insight on effective and ineffective program
practices from a wide variety of perspectives; including staff, teachers, parents,
and clients.
DYC and the University of Colorado at Denver Human Subjects Research
committee granted approval to conduct the research with human subjects [see
Appendix K], The girls placed at BMYSC are doubly vulnerable because of their
status as juveniles and their secure confinement at a youth services facility. Staff,
counselors, and teachers faced a risk of identification due to the small sample
size. For the protection of the respondents no identifying information was
collected or recorded. Consent was obtained from all participants as required for
participation in accordance with human subjects protocol.
Purposive convenience sampling was used to select participants. All
members of each group were asked to volunteer to participate in either a focus
group or an individual interview (see Table 2.1). A brief introductory letter that
16


explained the purpose and goals of the research was distributed to youth and
family members at the time of the initial recruitment/invitation (see Appendix F).
BMYSC participants were recruited individually through personal contact by the
principal investigator or a student research assistant. Individual recruitment
helped reduce elements of coercion that might have taken place in group settings,
particularly among adolescent subjects. After the initial verbal consent to
participate, all subjects received and signed a letter of informed consent (see
Appendix G, H, I and J). The consent form for the clients were worded to be age
appropriate, though in some cases words or phrases still may have been difficult
for the girls to understand. To ensure that voluntary consent was obtained a
therapeutic case manager was available to explain the process and meaning.
Additionally, issues surrounding voluntary participation and confidentiality were
discussed and reinforced verbally before each focus group or interview. Although
DYC is the legal physical guardian of the girls, signed parental consent was
required for the youth to participate.
All current residents of the BMYSC who had been at the facility for more
than three months were asked to participate. Data collection took several months
allowing for every girl to participate if they chose. There were 40 girls residing at
the facility when data collection began and the total number of respondents was
20; the response rate was 50%. There were 17 girls who had graduated from the
17


facility at the time of data collection and an attempt was made to contact every
graduate. Only six girls were able to be reached and all six agreed to participate
in the telephone interviews to discuss the program; the response rate for graduated
girls was 35%.
Family members and staff were invited through letters and postings to
participate in focus groups. In addition, therapeutic managers assisted in
contacting and inviting the families. Administrators and researchers recruited
staff to participate in the study as well. The number of family members contacted
is unknown and 14 participated in the study. There were approximately 50 staff
invited to participate and 18 total participants; the response rate was 36%. Staff
participation rates could have been impacted due to shifts and availability, for
instance night watch staff had difficulties attending day time sessions.
18


Table 2.1 Research Methodology
Sub ject Population N/n Method
Line Staff 50/18 Focus Groups (see Appendix D)
Girls Currently at BMYSC 40/20 Individual Interviews (see Appendix A)
Girls Who Have Graduated 17/6 Individual Interviews (see Appendix B)
Family Members Unkown/14 Focus Groups (see Appendix E)
Health and Counseling Professionals 6/2 Individual Interviews (see Appendix C)
Data for the focus groups and interviews were audio-taped and notes were
entered directly into a laptop computer or hand-written. The computer/hand-
written notes served as a backup for the audiotape transcription in the event of
equipment malfunction and were used for data analysis as transcription of the
audiotapes became cost prohibitive. The data were analyzed to identify major
themes in the responses.
The data were analyzed for similar statements related to the relationships
among the category responses and any subsequent probes. The responses were
separated into conceptual domains and major themes (Glazer & Strauss, 1967;
Schatzman & Strauss, 1973). The primary advantage to a qualitative approach is
to give voice to the participants that reflect their experiences. The narratives offer
19


depth to our understanding, though the results are often limited in generalizability
(Babbie, 1990; Ragin, 1994; Seidman, 1998).
20


CHAPTER 3: FINDINGS
BMYSC Residents
In depth interviews were conducted with twenty female youth currently
residing at BMYSC. Girls ranged in age from 15 to 20 years old with a mean of
17. The length of stay ranged from three months to fourteen months with a mean
length of stay of eight months. Eight of the girls reported themselves as white and
twelve reported themselves as non white. In regards to the status hierarchy at the
youth center established by ROP, six girls were considered main population
residents, eight girls were currently at the intern level and six girls had obtained
the highest level of contributor.
The respondents voiced numerous opinions about the programming at the
facility, including the strengths and problematic areas. The areas of programming
the girls viewed as effective were treatment services, educational elements, and
positive staffing. Areas which the girls identified as problematic include staffing
issues, lack of communication, and minimal transitional programming.
21


Effective Program Elements
Treatment Services
According to the respondents, an integral component to the effectiveness
of treatment is the integrity of the individual. Numerous girls commented on the
importance of honest and trustworthy counselors. One girl stated: The counselors
all have different styles. I like that, it makes them real. Therapeutic managers
were viewed by many girls as a consistent and positive force within the program
that they could look to when times were tough. Another girl stated: The
counselors themselves is what makes the groups so effective. The counseling
staff within the facility made a positive impact on the girls interviewed.
Another strength identified by the girls was the availability of group and
individual therapy, although no consensus emerged that designated one approach
as better than the other. Group therapy was positively viewed by some girls
because they were able to relate to the material being discussed and they felt that
there was privacy and confidentiality within the group. Other girls preferred
individual therapy sessions that caters specifically to each girls needs in a private
environment. One respondent said: I prefer individual therapy. It is pretty hard
for me to discuss my issues in group. Usually, I just sit back and listen in groups.
Whether their preference is group or individual counseling, the majority of
22


respondents viewed treatment services as a positive aspect of programming. One
girl noted that the treatment is awesome if you are ready and want to hear it.
Educational Elements
Respondents frequently noted that the educational programming at
BMYSC is another positive element. Most of the girls recognize that a large
component of their program at BMYSC is their education. The girls like the
schedule with shorter class periods and longer breaks, as well as the way teachers
individualize each lesson and make learning hands on. One respondent stated:
Education here is totally tailored to what you need so you dont spend too much
time studying something you already know. Similarly, they like having the same
teacher every day even though the class subjects change and the year round
schedule that allows them to make up credits quickly.
Many of the girls commented on the importance of recognition for their
success. They frequently noted the existence of the honor role as something to
strive towards even if they had never made it before. One girl commented that
they challenge you even if you are ahead of the rest of the class. I have my GED
and now we are looking into online college classes. Recognizing these girls for
their accomplishments and pushing them to set their educational goals higher is
important to maintain a sense of accomplishment among the residents.
23


Positive Staff
A large number of respondents made statements about the importance of
positive staff as a role model at some point during their interview. Positive
characteristics that they felt necessary in staff were consistency, supportive,
honest, and trustworthy. Many of the girls also noted that laughter was extremely
important. A respondent commented: I can talk to staff and they dont judge me.
They dont look at me weird, they just understand.
Positive staff interaction also provides many services to the girls that
enrich their experience in the program. One respondent reported that the one-on-
ones were helpful, stating: I dont always want to talk to just anyone so I can go
to staff that I trust and let them know what is going on. Another girl said that
most of the staff is there to pick you up when you fall and motivate you by
encouraging you every time you falter. A person has to want to change, said
one girl, but they need the support of their staff. Staff opens the doors to
change. Many girls felt strongly that positive staff was one of the most
important pieces to their success.
24


Problematic Program Elements
Staffing Issues
Despite the fact that many girls pointed to positive staff as a strength of
the program, a similar proportion of girls pointed to negative staff as a significant
problem within the program. Many common staffing issues in the field of
corrections were brought up in the interviews such as being short staffed, high
employee turnover, and inconsistency among shifts. Likewise, other girls
reported that staff is not always considerate of girls and sometimes show a lack of
respect.
Some respondents expressed real concerns regarding staffs
professionalism. One girl stated: Some staff escalates girls, almost on purpose.
They should let us cool off instead of pushing us until we snap. Some
respondents pointed to a lack of training for staff to handle those situations and
keep their authority in check. Another respondent said: There is 15 staff here
that care and another five that dont and they are here for the wrong reasons.
Commenting on the less than professional tactics of some staff, one girl noted:
Explosive staff plus explosive girls equals disaster.
Communication
Most of the girls had opinions about a perceived lack of communication
between both staff and students. Several girls pointed out that staff often fails to
25


communicate well with each other and there are gross inconsistencies between
shifts. One girl stated: Sometimes we tell a staff member something but they
never tell anyone else. It feels like we are constantly repeating ourselves and
eventually we stop talking to staff. Also, girls reported that staff members
struggle to communicate effectively with them. Staff only hears what they want
to hear. They dont really listen until something bad happens, commented one
girl. The residents have recognized that a lack of effective communication can
result in negative outcomes.
Transitional Programming
Transitional services emerged as a primary theme that, according to the
clients perspective, needs improvement. Many respondents had positive
opinions about the programs use of day and transitional passes to prepare them to
reenter the community. Numerous girls, however, made statements requesting the
expansion of that program. One girl said: The community outings that we do
give us a chance to practice the new skills that we learn in the real world.
The majority of girls interviewed expressed a need to focus on their
transition home. The consensus was that the treatment services offered
throughout the program far outweighed the services offered to prepare them to go
home and they needed to be balanced out. Some respondents requested job skills
classes and independent living skills as classes or groups within the program to
26


reduce their anxieties upon exiting the program. Transition is scary to me. Im
not sure if Im ready to go home or if I can make it on parole, remarked one girl
who was close to exiting the program.
BMYSC Graduates
Six graduates of BMYSC participated in the in depth interviews of this
study. Respondents ranged in age from 18 to 21 with a mean age of 18. The
graduates had an average time out of the facility of five months and a range of
three to twelve months. Four of the respondents were self reported white and two
were non white.
Positive Reflections
Self esteem was a component of every interview with a graduate of the
program. All the respondents commented on their increased self esteem and its
direct relation to their activities while at BMYSC. Several girls related the
increase in self esteem to their participation in a difficult athletic program that
many struggled with. The athletic part of the program taught me to push myself
and when I think I cant do something to keep pushing, commented one
graduate. Other girls reflected that their confidence and self worth had improved
because the program teaches you to love yourself at the same time better yourself.
27


Much like self esteem, drug and alcohol service, more specifically the
GETTS program, was mentioned in all six interviews. Each girl talked about
their drug and alcohol treatment in a positive frame and how it provided them
with a relapse prevention plan and helped them to identify triggers and coping
skills. One respondent stated: I never thought I would but I really used it. When
I feel like using I think back to what I learned in class and I use my relapse
prevention plan. Another girl commented that the class is hands on and it just
makes sense. You really use it when you leave. The GETTS program was
viewed as one of the most successful and useful treatment approaches for most of
the girls interviewed.
The educational programming was a positive aspect to graduated girls
much like it was for current residents. The respondents talked about how they
liked the classroom and schedule setup and that the teachers were great. One girl
stated that she had learned discipline through the educational element of her
program. Several of the graduates reported that they were currently enrolled in
college courses and that BMYSC had helped them achieve that goal through
financial aid assistance and college preparation such as computer courses. One
girl stated: I started doing college stuff when I was at Betty Marler and then
continued when I left. It made the transition easier.
28


Regrets and Struggles in the Program
A common theme in the interviews with girls who had graduated from the
Marler Center was the impact of negative staff. One girl commented that she
remembers staff that would not work out with the girls and the negative influence
it had on her motivation. The girls noted that some staff members were there for
the wrong reasons such as to meet their own power and control needs. Similarly,
they felt that some staff failed to utilize de-escalation techniques and were often
too eager to restrain students. Graduated girls had similar responses to current
residents that negativity breeds negativity.
The majority of program graduates found transition back into the
community stressful. Although most of the girls had positive reflections about the
services offered to them while at the center, they also had recommendations for
improving that aspect of the program. One graduate stated that the hardest part
was obtaining employment and believed that she would have benefited from job
skill training. Other respondents commented that creating more of a step down
process would have been helpful because it is extremely stressful to be locked up
one day and totally free the next. The majority of graduated girls interviewed
stated that their transition would have been easier if the process had been started
sooner.
29


Goal Attainment
The third major theme that arose from the interviews with former BMYSC
residents was goal attainment and the success that they have found. A respondent
said it best when she stated: The Marler Center taught me to stand up for myself
and to stop letting people walk all over me. We talked a lot about empowerment
and it stuck with me. Other lessons that stuck with the graduates were staying
focused and keeping busy as well as discipline, communication skills, and the
importance of a support system. Another girl noted: I dont let people take
advantage of me and Im continuing to better my life. Graduating from a
program that is achievement based and focuses on your accomplishments has
primed these young ladies to face the world. All of the graduates reported an
increased self esteem and self confidence.
Family Members of BMYSC Residents
The family members of girls currently committed to the Division of Youth
Corrections in Colorado occupy a difficult positiona government agency is
temporarily raising their child. Equally as difficult is the limited access these
families have to their daughters as well as the limited say in their treatment.
Nonetheless, the fourteen family members who participated in the focus group for
30


this study were eager to share their opinions, both positive and negative, regarding
the BMYSC.
Self Esteem Building
The single most discussed theme within this group was the efforts of the
program to empower girls and to improve their self esteem. Parents across the
board were stunned at the measures taken to ensure that the girls felt as if they
were worth something. For instance, one mother commented on the uniforms:
At her last placement, I would go and visit and it was hard to see her in prison
scrubs. Here she wears regular clothes and has even earned her letter jacket just
like in real high school. From their clothes, to the gourmet health food, to the
premium hygiene products they are provided, the program is designed to
encourage girls to take better care of them and to believe that they are worth the
effort. The hope is that they will continue to take care of themselves upon exiting
the program and continue to make decisions in their best interest as a result of
enhanced self esteem.
Another component of the program that the families identified as helping
to build their daughters self esteem was the athletic requirement. Some of the
parents noted that even though their daughters expressed that they disliked the
physical elements of the daily routine they recognized that they were
accomplishing something they never thought they could. They also recognized


that accomplishing a physical fitness goal gave the girls a sense of pride. One
father commented that in many facilities, girls gain weight from unhealthy food
and lack of exercise but here they lose weight which helps them build their self
esteem. The physical component of the program is another way that parents feel
the program is helping their daughters feel better about themselves.
Problems with Communication
One aspect of the program that parents felt could be improved was the
communication. Many of the parents made statements regarding the lack of
information they felt they were receiving regarding their daughters treatment.
Several participants stated that they are unaware when the monthly meetings with
the client managers are scheduled. Similarly, some of them felt as though they
were uninformed regarding their daughters education and would benefit from
parent teacher conferences even over the phone. When asked for their opinions
on the GETTS program, the drug and alcohol treatment so popular with their
daughters, they had no opinion because they were unaware of the program. The
consensus among the group was that communication between parents and staff
could be greatly improved.
32


How the Girls Have Changed
Although the participants were admittedly unaware of many aspects of
their daughters daily life, they definitely knew the ways in which their daughters
had changed thus far in the program. Parents frequently stated that their child had
learned to respect themselves as well as authority figures. In addition, their
daughters had learned to set and respect boundaries. They also commented that
the girls had begun to take responsibility for their own actions and had stopped
blaming others for their mishaps. One mother seemed most proud of the fact that
for the first time in her life she cares what her future will be like. She is planning
and dreaming. The parents of the girls residing at the Marler Center are proud of
their daughters accomplishments and seeing positive changes in their
personalities.
Least Restrictive Policy
The majority of parents are frustrated that a program like this was not
available earlier. An overwhelming theme among the group was that the least
restrictive policy of the juvenile justice system in Colorado is setting their
daughters up for failure. The courts commit delinquent youth to a less restrictive
placement and if the youth fails they move up to a more restrictive placement.
The majority of parents expressed frustration that their daughters, who are
33


inclined to run from placements more than boys, are placed in facilities that are
not locked and then punished when they run away. One mother stated: Where
was the Marler Center when she was 11 and running away. I couldnt bring her
here, the judge had to send her but he didnt think she needed it. The
participants felt that one of the biggest strengths of the program was that the girls
could not run from the consequences or the treatment. She was forced to deal
with issues from the past that she always ran away from before, said another
mom. Most respondents commented that there should be more locked treatment
facilities for girls.
BMYSC Counselors and Line Staff
The data analyzed in this section was collected from both focus groups as
well as individual interviews. Two focus groups were conducted with line staff,
one included staff with prior experience in the field and the other without. There
are two individual interviews of therapeutic managers included in this data set.
The total number of respondents in this group was 20. The data were analyzed
and are presented in aggregate form.
34


Improvement of Transitional Services
The first major theme that emerged from data collected with staff and
counselors was the need for improved transitional services. The majority of the
staff felt that many of the girls were not prepared for their reentry into the
community and the troubles they would face were shocking. A number of staff
agreed that visits and home passes were an excellent resource for the girls;
however, many felt that increasing the number of community outings would
enable them to practice their newly acquired skills. The staff with previous
experience in the field recognized a need for transitional housing for girls with
unfavorable home situations. One staff commented:
Some of these girls dont have real homes to go to. They have abusive
situations that are ultimately going to harm them more than help them. We
should be able to do something for these girls. We dont want to send them
home.
Staff frequently noted that transition was an important component to treating their
clients and required more attention to ensure their successful reentry.
Staff Maintenance
Although the majority of the staff reported that they enjoyed their job and
found it rewarding, they also pointed to a need for improved staff maintenance. A
lack of staff and high turnover rates inevitably puts a strain on line staff working
35


with the girls every day. In addition, staff frequently noted that 16 hour shifts
made it difficult to be a consistent positive role model'for their clients. One staff
commented that: the quality of the work we do is diminished when we are run
down and tired. Incentives and compensation are needed to ensure the happiness
of staff which directly relates to their job performance.
Another component of staff maintenance that arose from the focus groups
was the difficulty of working with girls. Staff who had prior work experience in a
boys facility noted the emotional strain they experienced as the primary
difference between populations. One long term employee said: Girls function on
a much more emotional level. Sometimes I leave work and I am just totally
drained. Many respondents noted a need for more training focused on gender
specific treatment areas including mental health, trauma, and sexual abuse.
Increased Opportunities
The focus groups yielded a major theme regarding the opportunities
available to the girls; that is, there are limited choices. Many of the staff
participants felt as though the programming options were limited and their clients
could benefit from expanding the program to include such activities as art, choir
and dance classes. Other staff noted that more educational electives should be
offered as well as sports teams and recreational activities. One staff replied that
36


boredom is what gets most of these kids in trouble. We have to teach them what
to do when they get bored in the community. Adding program elements to
improve the lives of BMYSC residents was important to the staff supervising
them
37


CHAPTER 4: CONCLUSIONS
Several recommendations can be made utilizing the data collected and
analyzed in this study. These areas for improvement include specific procedural,
policy, and implementation components. BMYSC also has many areas of
perceived success and effectiveness.
Maintenance of Effective Elements
Educational services offered at the BMYSC were viewed as a positive
aspect of the girls programming. The hands on approach to learning coupled
with a special short class period and year round school schedule helps the girls
embrace a desire to learn. Also, hiring invested teachers that strive to meet the
challenge of educating students, who have formerly met with little success in the
classroom, is also a key component of the perceived effectiveness of the academic
program at the facility.
Treatment and counseling services are another strong element at BMYSC.
Current residents appreciated the availability of both individual and group therapy
and graduated girls accredited the GETTS program for much of their success.
The drug and alcohol treatment offered is perceived by most respondents as
highly effective. Offering different treatment formats is a positive element, in
38


addition to employing trustworthy and honest treatment staff to conduct the
sessions. Treatment coordinators need to continue to utilize different forums for
counseling in order to effectively reach more clients.
The core value of ROP surrounding the self esteem building is perhaps the
most important according to the girls, their families, and staff. Even the smallest
steps taken to encourage these young women to feel better about themselves are
noticed. Providing quality meals, uniforms, and personal hygiene products is
essential to a program centered on self esteem building. Staff that encourages
girls to be empowered and in control of their lives become a catalyst for long term
change.
The athletic programming, based on running and physical fitness, is
another aspect of the program that addresses the self esteem of the clients.
Although many of the current residents expressed their dislike of this element,
most girls, both current and graduated, noted that the athletic focus enabled them
to feel better about themselves. The families of the girls also felt as though
encouraging their daughters to be active allowed them to improve their self
image. Maintaining a positive self concept through athletics and quality services
helps these young girls build a strong healthy foundation for which they can build
on.
39


Many of the services currently offered by the BMYSC are perceived as
effective by respondents of this study. Core values, such as self esteem building
and empowerment, are offered to the clients in the form of programs and staff
implementation. Gender specific needs are being met by addressing the substance
abuse and trauma histories of the girls and they are empowered through the
development of positive and healthy relationships with staff and peers complete
with appropriate boundaries. These youth are setting educational goals and work
towards them throughout the program. They also obtain useful job skills that will
help them back in the community. The overall structure and operation of the
program offers achievement motivated success and prepares these youth for
reentering the community.
Recommendations for Improvement
With a strong program foundation to build on, ROP has an opportunity to
improve and grow to meet its full potential. Some areas for improvement include:
communication, transitional services, staff maintenance and additional
opportunities. The majority of recommendations based on the findings will not
require extensive program restructuring or excessive financial funding. The
dedication of ROP to improve the programming they offer is the primary
component for implementation of the following recommendations.
40


The young girls in this study noted the most troublesome element of the
program for them was negative staff. Ineffective staff is a common problem
within juvenile correctional facilities across the nation and it is unlikely this will
change. ROP will need to address this issue within their facility if it hopes to
increase the overall effectiveness of the treatment they provide. Policies relating
to screening and hiring practices need to be examined for inadequacies and
applicants will need to be highly qualified and invested in working with young
girls with tremendous treatment needs. Recruiting staff with prior experience in
the field working with girls will need to be prioritized and financial compensation
must be in accordance with other comparable positions in the state. Hiring
practices must be the foundation for change, as each additional recommendation
is impossible without competent and invested staff.
With the further development of a strong team of providers
communication should naturally improve. Many respondents commented on the
inadequacies of communication between students, staff and families.
Communication must become a basic tenet of the treatment of girls; each member
of the community must have unlimited access to information regarding treatment
and progress. BMYSC must take steps to ensure that all client concerns are
responded to in order to maintain clients feelings of safety and welfare. As
staffing issues are remedied, trust and respect between staff and students will
41


breed a climate of openness where students will express concerns to staff and staff
will respond to their needs. In addition, the policy regarding the responses to one
on one request by students should be revised to shorten the response times, also
encouraging other staff to respond to concerns when they hear them arise.
Communication with parents will need to be improved in order for other
program elements to improve. Many families that participated in this study felt
they lacked important information regarding their daughters treatment.
Procedures must be implemented to ensure that therapeutic managers are
contacting families on a regular basis. Furthermore, parents must be informed of
meeting schedules to allow them to attend monthly staffing reviews with client
managers. A parent support group could be a useful addition to encourage the
sharing of information, resources, and basic support through difficult situations.
Veteran parents may provide guidance to new parents who are still learning the
system. Parent teacher conferences were requested by several parents to keep
them informed about their daughters progress academically. Procedures must be
designed to incorporate parents into the treatment community for each girl.
With a solid staff team and improved communication lines, ROP must
consider their staff maintenance techniques. Long hours and a demanding
population can create unhappy and over stressed employees. Even the most
invested and qualified staff can become emotionally and physically drained
42


working 16 hour shifts for 3 days straight. ROP needs to research other shift
structures and identify options for shift rotation and scheduling. State facilities in
Colorado operate on 8 hour shifts and may prove to keep staff happier and more
attentive while on shift. They must also examine benefits to ensure they are
comparable to similar positions across the nation if they are to attract qualified
and invested people.
Improving staff training to be more gender responsive is essential to
running an effective girls program. Many of the staff respondents noted
mandatory training included little in regards to the needs of young girls
specifically and much of what they had learned was through trial and error.
Incorporating substance abuse, trauma, sexual abuse, and relationship training
into the existing curriculum for new staff is imperative. Although the program
offers specific group therapy sessions to address these needs, line staff deal with
these issues throughout the day with each girl and must have the necessary tools
to respond. Mental health is another area in which training is lacking. A large
number of girls experience mental health problems and staff are largely
unprepared to understand or respond to these specific demands. Training for staff
at the BMYSC needs to encompass more gender responsive elements to enable
staff to be more effective.
43


Transitional services were noted by most participants to be in need of the
most improvement. Many of the girls who had graduated felt as though their
transition started too late. Graduation and transition plans must be created within
the first few months of commitment. As time progresses, these plans can be
changed and altered however, the early creation of those goals will help the girls
keep focused on their transition back into the community. Also, ROP would be
well served to hire a transitional worker who will work with each girl throughout
her commitment and then follow her into the community. Developing a strong
relationship between student and transitional worker early will allow the girls to
add another member to their support team. Transitional workers must be
available to clients for the duration of their parole time and assist in securing
employment, educational services, housing, and further counseling. The services
offered to young women reentering the community are vital to her success.
Job skills and work experience is a program element that will directly
impact the transition for BMYSC residents. The literature states that employment
is a key factor in the successful reentry of youthful offenders. By expanding the
vocational program to include several alternatives and building partnerships with
local technical schools, the employability of girls graduating from the program
will increase. Also, by incorporating community outings to see female mentors
44


working in the community may assist residents in forming their concept of the
world of work.
Limitations
The current study had a number of limitations because the sample of
committed and graduated girls was relatively small. The facility has a 40 bed
capacity and, at the time of the study, had a short length of program operation.
Data may be an incomplete representation of total responses and generalizability
is limited.
The self-reported data collected may also have internal validity problems.
Although current residents were interviewed alone and confidentiality was
maintained, juvenile females in a locked setting may experience pressures to
respond in certain ways, increasing the likelihood for exaggeration and inaccurate
statements. The responses are impossible to confirm due to their subjective
nature.
The research was also limited in regards to the types of information
gathered. The study was unable to examine the crimes that led to each girls
adjudication due to confidentiality issues. The types of delinquency exhibited by
the respondents may have been a confounding variable and the data may have
been subsequently skewed.
45


A final limitation of this study is the existence of confounding variables.
Several safety and security threats occurred during the data collection phase of the
study. Individual responses, as well as major themes, are likely to have been
influenced by those events.
Future Research
The current study leads to many future research questions. The nature of
crimes committed by BMYSC residents should be examined in further research.
Studies to examine specific crimes related to recidivism rates as well as
longitudinal studies to track long term progress and success are needed to develop
a complete picture of the programs effectiveness. In addition, future studies must
explore the effectiveness of specific program elements such as education and
vocational training as determined by outcome measures including educational and
job attainment.
As the need for female specific juvenile corrections increases, research to
explore effective and ineffective programming needs to move in tandem.
Utilizing the responsivity principle and the existing research, programs must be
willing to adapt to accommodate their clientele and needs. The BMYSC has
provided an innovative approach to the rehabilitation of juvenile females
combining many elements discussed throughout the current literature and
46


research. By examining the effective and ineffective programmatic elements,
providers will be able to develop a more complex understanding of the issues and
concise action plans for improvement.
47


APPENDIX A
Research Protocol for Current Residents at BMYSC
1. What makes the Betty Marler Center unique?
2. What services offered at the BMYSC do you believe are the most
effective?
3. What services offered at the BMYSC do you think could be better (are
ineffective)?
4. What services/program best address substance abuse and mental health
issues (probe: program specific and aftercare; GETTS program)?
5. What are your opinions about the programming and environment at the
BMYSC?
a. Athletic programming?
b. Vocational programming?
c. Educational programming?
d. The physical layout of the building?
6. Describe how connections are being made to families? To community?
7. What would you do to make BMYSC a better place? (probe: safety and
trust issues)
8. In what ways has the staff at the BMYSC helped or hindered your
progress?
9. Whats working to help you achieve your goals?
10. How does your stay at the BMYSC compare to other facilities (if
applicable)?
11. Whats working to help you achieve your goals? (probe: Are they invested
in their treatment goals? Do they believe the treatment goals are
achievable?)
12. Is there anything we havent discussed that you think is important?
48


APPENDIX B
Research Protocol for Graduated Girls
1. What makes the Betty Marler Center unique?
2. What services offered at the BMYSC do you believe are the most
effective?
3. What services offered at the BMYSC do you think could be better (are
ineffective)?
4. What services/program best address substance abuse and mental health
issues (probe: program specific and aftercare; GETTS program)?
5. What are your opinions about the programming and environment at the
BMYSC?
a. Athletic programming?
b. Vocational programming?
c. Educational programming?
d. The physical layout of the building?
6. Describe how connections are being made to families? To community?
7. What obstacles have you faced since you left the program? How have you
dealt with them?
8. Is there anything that BMYSC could provide to make your transition back
to your family easier?
9. What skills did you learn at the BMYSC that you continue to use?
10. Whats working to help you achieve your goals?
11. Is there anything we havent discussed that you think is important?
13. How does your stay at the BMYSC compare to other facilities (if
applicable)?
14. Whats working to help you achieve your goals? (probe: Are they invested
in their treatment goals? Do they believe the treatment goals are
achievable?)
15. Is there anything we havent discussed that you think is important?
49


APPENDIX C
Research Protocol for Therapeutic Managers
1. What makes the marler center unique?
2. What services offered at the BMYSC are the most effective?
3. What services offered at the BMYSC do you think could be better?
4. What services/programs best address substance abuse and mental health
issues?
5. What are your opinions about the programming and environment at the
BMYSC?
Athletic programming?
Vocational programming?
Educational programming?
The physical layout of the building?
6. Describe how connections are being made to families? To communities?
7. What do you do to cultivate healthy relationships with the girls in the
program?
8. How is the daily programming sensitive to gender specific issues?
9. What program components work well for the girls?
10. How do the services offered compare to other facilities that you are familiar
with?
11. Is there anything we havent discussed that you think are important?
50


APPENDIX D
Research Protocol for Staff Focus Group
1. What makes the BMC unique?
2. What services offered here are effective?
3. Which services are ineffective?
4. What are your thoughts on the Getts Program?
5. How are mental health concerns being handled at the Marler Center?
6. What are your opinions regarding the athletic programming?
7. What is being done to foster relationships with families?
8. How is the programming at the Marler Center gender specific?
9. Other comments?
51


APPENDIX E
Research Protocol for Family Focus Groups
1. What makes the marler center unique?
2. What services offered at the BMYSC are the most effective?
3. What services offered at the BMYSC do you think could be better?
4. What services/programs best address substance abuse and mental health
issues?
5. What are your opinions about the programming and environment at the
BMYSC?
Athletic programming?
Vocational programming?
Educational programming?
The physical layout of the building?
6. Describe how connections are being made to families? To communities?
7. How has your daughters stay at BMYSC changed her behavior?
8. If your daughter has been at other facilities, how do you think BMYSC
compare?
9. What has your experience with the BMYSC taught or shown you that will help
your relationship with your daughter?
10. What obstacles still exist for your daughter? How can BMYSC assist in
dealing with those obstacles?
11. Is there anything we havent discussed that you think is important?
52


APPENDIX F
Introduction/Recruitment Letter for Girls and Family Focus Groups
University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences
Center
Mary Dodge, Ph.D.
Graduate School of Public Affairs
Campus Box 142, P.O. Box 173364
Denver, Colorado 80217-3364
Phone: 303-556-5987, Fax: 303-556-5971
The Betty Marler Youth Services Center (BMYSC) and researchers from
the University of Colorado would like to invite you to participate in a focus
group [an interview]. Small groups [individual interviews] will meet for 1 X>
hours [45-60 minutes for interviews] to talk about the current programming
at the BMYSC. Your participation in the project is voluntary and you
should feel no pressure to take part. The focus groups [interviews] are
designed to give you a chance to discuss what works and what doesnt
work at the BMYSC.
Focus groups [Interviews] will discuss the services at the Center and the
athletic, vocational, and educational programming. The research will give
you the chance to voice any concerns and make suggestions for future
activities.
You will be contacted individually to discuss your participation and
scheduling. At that time, a full informed consent form will be provided. If
you have any questions please contact Laura Shipman-Hamblin, LCSW,
CACII at the BMYSC (720.963.5021) or Dr. Mary Dodge (303.556.5987).
Thank you,
Mary Dodge
53


APPENDIX G
Focus Group Adult Informed Consent
University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences
Center
Mary Dodge, Ph.D.
Graduate School of Public Affairs
Campus Box 142, P.O. Box 173364
Denver, Colorado 80217-3364
Phone: 303-556-5987, Fax: 303-556-5971
Rite of Passage (ROP) and the Division of Youth Correction (DYC), in
collaboration with researchers from the University of Colorado at Denver and
Health Sciences Center, invite you to participate in a focus group to discuss the
program at the Betty Marler Youth Services Center (BMYSC).
What Am I Being Asked to Do?
You are being asked to participate in a focus group discussion that will help
identify elements of the BMYSC program that are working to promote the goals
and vision of the facility. The focus group will last approximately 1 Vi hours.
Your participation is completely voluntary.
How Will Confidentiality be Maintained?
The focus groups sessions will use pseudonyms to help protect your identity. The
session will be audiotaped and notes will be taken as a back-up measure. The
information that you share during the focus groups will not be attached to your
name and each group will be identified according to type. ROP administrators
and personnel will not have access to the focus group information in raw form to
help ensure confidentially. A final report that combines comments and responses
will be prepared for distribution. The focus group transcripts and notes will be
stored for a period of at least three years on a password secure computer server
and on password secure USB devices that limit access to the principal researcher
and DYC.
Professional standards will be used to maintain the confidentiality of any
information that you share with us. Anyone involved in the project may not
54


disclose your participation without your permission. Your individual privacy will
be maintained in all published and written data resulting from this study. Groups
will simply be given a code as an identifier. Every effort will be made to keep the
information confidential, though non-research members of the group may
intentionally or unintentionally repeat information revealed in a group.
You can help by not sharing information from the group discussions with anyone
else.
What are the Risks?
We cannot guarantee that what you say will be kept in confidence by non-
researchers attending the focus groups. Please note that any disclosures of
physical or sexual abuse must be reported according to the law and DYC
mandatory reporting policy. In the event that confidentiality is breached the risks
include possible embarrassment, loss of employment, or negative performance
evaluations. Social embarrassment or potential uncomfortable feelings may occur
among participants who disagree with the opinions and perspectives of other
members of the group. There is also the possibility that administrators may
recognize individual statements in the report and negative attributions about
people or places may jeopardize your standing at center.
What are the Potential Benefits of Participation?
Participation in the focus groups provides an opportunity for stakeholders in the
BMYSC to express and reflect on important aspects of the services provided by
ROP. Participants may benefit from providing feedback on a relatively new
program that may result in better services for current and future residents. The
focus groups provide a venue for you to share your thoughts, experiences, and
perspectives that will contribute to the evaluation and improvement of the
BMYSC.
Do I Have to Participate?
Participation is voluntary. Please remember that your decision to participate or
not will in no way affect your status at the BMYSC.
You may discontinue your participation in the project at any time without penalty.
If you decide to participate, you have the right to withdraw your consent or
discontinue participation at any time. You have the right to refuse to answer any
55


question(s) for any reason, at any time, without giving an explanation, or simply
choose not to answer any particular questions.
Whom to Contact with Questions or Concerns?
If you have any questions or concerns about the research study, please contact
Mary Dodge, Ph.D., Associate Professor at the University of Colorado at Denver
by phone (303)556-5987 or email: marv.dodge@cudenver.edu. If you have
questions about your rights as a participant, you may contact the Human Subjects
Research Committee Administrator, 1380 Lawrence Street, Suite 300, at
(303)556-4060.
INFORMED CONSENT
I consent to participate in the focus groups for the BMYSC
evaluation.
Signing your name on the line below means that you have read this consent form
and you agree to participate in the focus groups, and that you have received a
copy of this informed consent document for your records.
Participants Signature
I consent to being audiotaped.
Participants Signature


APPENDIX H
Individual Interviews Girls Informed Consent
University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences
Center
Mary Dodge, Ph.D.
Graduate School of Public Affairs
Campus Box 142, P.O. Box 173364
Denver, Colorado 80217-3364
Phone: 303-556-5987, Fax: 303-556-5971
What Am I Being Asked to Do?
Volunteer to talk to a researcher about the BMYSC program for about an hour.
How Will Confidentiality be Maintained?
The interviewer will not be told your real name. The information that you share
will only be connected to a fake name. ROP and BMYSC personnel will not see
what you say. Only, a final report that puts together main ideas will be prepared
for distribution. The data will be stored for at least three years in a safe place.
Professional standards will be used to maintain the confidentiality of any
information that you share with us. Anyone involved in the project may not tell
about your participation without your permission. Your individual privacy will be
protected in all published and written data resulting from this study.
What are the Risks?
If confidentiality is breached the risks include that people will find out what you
said. This may cause you embarrassment or problems at the center. The law
requires that we report anything about physical or sexual abuse. Social
embarrassment or uncomfortable feelings may occur during the interviews.
What are the Potential Benefits of Participation?
Participation gives you a chance to talk about important parts of the services
provided by ROP. The interviews give you a chance to share your thoughts and
experiences to help improve the BMYSC.
57


Do I Have to Participate?
NOParticipation is voluntary. Please remember that your decision to participate
or not will in no way affect you at the BMYSC or DYC.
You may stop your participation in the project at any time without penalty. If you
decide to participate, you have the right to take back your consent or stop talking
at any time. You can refuse to answer any question(s) for any reason, at any time,
without giving an explanation, or simply choose not to answer any particular
question.
Whom to Contact with Questions or Concerns?
If you have any questions or concerns about the research study, please contact
Mary Dodge, Ph.D., Associate Professor at the University of Colorado at Denver
by phone (303)556-5987 or email: marv.dodge@cudenver.edu. If you have
questions about your rights as a participant, you may contact the Human Subjects
Research Committee Administrator, 1380 Lawrence Street, Suite 300, at
(303)556-4060.
INFORMED CONSENT
I consent to participate in the focus groups for the BMYSC
evaluation.
Signing your name on the line below means that you have read this consent form
and you agree to participate in the focus groups and that you have received a copy
of this informed consent document for your records.
Participants Signature
58


I consent to being audiotaped.
Participants Signature
59


APPENDIX I
Parental Informed Consent Form
University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences
Center
Mary Dodge, Ph.D.
Graduate School of Public Affairs
Campus Box 142, P.O. Box 173364
Denver, Colorado 80217-3364
Phone: 303-556-5987, Fax: 303-556-5971
Rite of Passage (ROP) and the Division of Youth Correction (DYC), working
with researchers from the University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences
Center, would like to invite your daughter to take part in an individual interview
to talk about the program at the Betty Marler Youth Services Center (BMYSC).
What Is My Daughter Being Asked to Do?
Your daughter will talk to a researcher for about 1 hour about the BMYSC
program. Her participation is completely voluntary.
How Will Confidentiality be Maintained?
The interviews will use fake names only. The sessions will be audiotaped and
notes will be taken as a back-up measure. The information that is shared during
the interviews will not be attached to your daughters name and each group will
be identified according to type. ROP and BMYSC personnel will not see the
information in raw form to make sure your comments are kept confidential. A
final report that puts together comments and responses will be prepared for
distribution. The data will be stored for at least three years in a safe place.
Professional standards will be used to maintain the confidentiality of any
information that is shared with us. Anyone involved in the project may not
disclose your daughters participation without your permission. Individual
privacy will be protected in all published and written data resulting from this
study.
60


What are the Risks?
We cannot guarantee that what is said will be kept in confidence by non-
researchers if confidentiality is breached. Please note that any disclosures of
physical or sexual abuse must be reported according to the law and DYC
mandatory reporting policy. In the event that confidentiality is breached the risks
include possible embarrassment, retaliation from staff members, and/or negative
performance evaluations. Social embarrassment or potential uncomfortable
feelings may occur during the interview. There is also the possibility that
administrators may recognize individual statements in the report and negative
attributions about people or places may jeopardize your daughters standing at
center.
What are the Potential Benefits of Participation?
Participation provides a chance for your daughter to talk about her views on the
important parts of the services provided by ROP. She may benefit from providing
feedback that makes the services better. The interview gives her a chance to share
thoughts and experiences to help improve the BMYSC.
Does She Have to Participate?
NOParticipation is voluntary. Please remember that your daughters decision to
participate or not will in no way affect her status at the BMYSC or DYC.
Your daughter may stop her participation in the project at any time without
penalty. She has a right to withdraw her consent or discontinue participation at
any time. She has the right to refuse to answer any question(s) for any reason, at
any time, without giving an explanation, or simply choose not to answer any
particular question.
Whom to Contact with Questions or Concerns?
If you have any questions or concerns about the research study, please contact
Mary Dodge, Ph.D., Associate Professor at the University of Colorado at Denver
by phone (303)556-5987 or email: marv.dodge@cudenver.edu. If you have
questions about your rights as a participant, you may contact the Human Subjects
Research Committee Administrator, 1380 Lawrence Street, Suite 300, at
(303)556-4060.
61


INFORMED CONSENT
I consent to allow my daughter to participate in an interview for
the BMYSC evaluation.
Signing your name on the line below means that you have read this consent form
and you have given consent for you daughter to participate in an interview and
that you have received a copy of this informed consent document for your
records.
Parents Signature
I consent to my daughter being audiotaped.
Participants Signature
62


APPENDIX J
Individual Interviews Adult Informed Consent
University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences
Center
Mary Dodge, Ph.D.
Graduate School of Public Affairs--
Campus Box 142, P.O. Box 173364
Denver, Colorado 80217-3364
Phone: 303-556-5987, Fax: 303-556-5971
Rite of Passage and the Division of Youth Corrections, in collaboration with
researchers from the University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences
Center, invite you to participate in an interview to discuss the program at the
Betty Marler Youth Services Center (BMYSC).
What Am I Being Asked to Do?
You are being asked to participate in an in-depth interview will help identify
elements of the BMYSC program that are working to promote the goals and
vision of the facility. The interview will last approximately 1 hour. Your
participation is completely voluntary.
How Will Confidentiality be Maintained?
The interview sessions will be audiotaped along with hand written notes. The
researchers will use password-protected personal computers to process the
information. No names will be included by the note-takers. The information that
you share will not be attached to your name and grouped according to broad
categories associated with position. ROP and BMYSC personnel will not have
access to the interview data in raw form to help ensure confidentially, though a
final report that combines comments and responses will be prepared for
distribution. The interview notes will be stored for a period of at least three years
on a password secure computer server and on password secure USB devices that
limits access to the principal research.
63


Professional standards will be used to maintain the confidentiality of any
information that is shared with us. Anyone involved in the project may not
disclose your participation without your permission. Your individual privacy will
be maintained in all published and written data resulting from this study.
Participants will simply be given a code as an identifier.
What are the Risks?
We cannot guarantee that what you say will be kept in confidence by non-
researchers. Please note that any disclosures of physical or sexual abuse must be
reported according to the law and DYC mandatory reporting policy. In the event
that confidentiality is breached the risks include possible embarrassment, loss of
employment, or negative performance evaluations. Social embarrassment or
potential uncomfortable feelings may occur among participants who disagree with
the opinions and perspectives of other members of the group. There is also the
possibility that administrators may recognize individual statements in the report
and negative attributions about people or places may jeopardize your standing at
center.
What are the Potential Benefits of Participation?
Participation in the interviews provides an opportunity for stakeholders in the
BMYSC to express and reflect on important aspects of the services provided by
ROP. Participants may benefit from providing feedback on a relatively new
program that may result in better services for current and future residents.
Do I Have to Participate?
Participation is voluntary. The interviews provide a venue for you to share your
thoughts, experiences, and perspectives that may contribute to the evaluation and
improvement of the BMYSC. Please remember that your decision to participate
or not will in no way affect your status at the BMYSC or DYC.
You may discontinue your participation in the project at any time without penalty.
If you decide to participate, you understand that your participation is voluntary
and you have the right to withdraw your consent or discontinue participation at
any time. You have the right to refuse to answer any question(s) for any reason,
at any time, without giving an explanation, or simply not to answer any question.
64


Whom to Contact with Questions or Concerns?
If you have any questions or concerns about the research study, please contact
Mary Dodge, Ph.D., Associate Professor at the University of Colorado at Denver
by phone (303)556-5987 or email: marv.dodge@cudenver.edu. If you have
questions about your rights as a participant, you may contact the Human Subjects
Research Committee Administrator, 1380 Lawrence Street, Suite 300, at
(303)556-4060.
INFORMED CONSENT
I consent to participate in the individual interviews for the Betty
Marler Center evaluation.
Signing your name on the line below means that you have read this consent form
and you agree to participate in an interview and that you have received a copy of
this informed consent document for your records.
Participants Signature
I consent to being audiotaped.
Participants Signature


Appendix K
Institutional Review Board Approval
University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center
Human Subjects Research Committee institutional Review Boani
Downtown Denver
Campus Box 120. P.O. Box 173364
Denver. Colorado 80217-3364
Phone: 303-556-4060, Fax: 303-556-3377
DATE:
TO:
FROM:
June 14,2006
Mary Dodge
Dorothy Yates, HSRC Chair,
SUBJECT: Human Subjects Research Prqfocil)#2006-132 Betty Marler Youth Services
Center Focus Groups and Individual Interviews
Your protocol has been approved as non-exempt. This approval is good for up to one year
from this date.
Your responsibilities as a researcher include:
If you make changes to your research protocol or design you should contact the
HSRC.
You are responsible for maintaining all documentation of consent. Unless
specified differently in your protocol, all data and consents should be
maintained for three years.
If you should encounter adverse human subjects issues, please contact us
immediately.
If your research continues beyond one year from the above date, contact the
HSRC for an extension.
The HSRC may audit your documents at any time.
Good Luck with your research.
66


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