Data Collection & Evaluation Leads to Juvenile Treatment Court Program Improvements in Lucas County, OH

gainAs the Grant Data Manager for Reclaiming Futures Lucas County, it is important for me to recognize and implement necessary changes to increase the success of our model and its impact on teens in the Juvenile Treatment Court (JTC).

Over the past 24 months at the Lucas County JTC, we have strived to determine how best to use the data collected through GAIN assessments—which stands for Global Appraisal of Individual Needs, a biopsychosocial assessment created by Chestnut Health Systems.

GAIN assessments of JTC clients (our treatment court youth) take place at baseline or initial assessment, three months, six months and 12 months in the program—GAIN I are the initial interviews and GAIN-M90 are the three-month follow up interviews. Questions asked in the interviews address youth perception of the treatment process and program. GAIN Site Profiles of clients include answers and feedback given during the assessments and are kept confidential beyond the use of the treatment team to evaluate the program.

What the data revealed informed significant programmatic changes, in order to meet the needs of Lucas County Juvenile Treatment Court clients. The GAIN Site Profiles validated that a large percentage of youth were engaging in high health risk behaviors, especially regarding sexual behavior. This information flagged for our team that there were gaps of service in our program that needed to be addressed to enhance our impact.

The GAIN data allowed us to determine the specific areas of discussion and education that were lacking in our program—in this case, the need for more education around high health risk behaviors that can lead to unplanned teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.

As a result, our program has started implementing the PREP (Personal Responsibility Education Program) curriculum—created by the Ohio Department of Health—that helps educate staff to become trainers in evidence-based prevention programming. This curriculum is disseminated to staff during regular, existing meetings, where we share data, discuss needs, and establish next steps. The staff then uses the curriculum to educate our youth, which has been successful and engaging.

LaTonya Harris, Project Director at Reclaiming Futures Lucas County, is a strong advocate of the PREP curriculum:

“The Ohio Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP) has allowed us to educate youth and dispel some myths about abstinence and sex decisions.
The youth in the group seem to be enjoying the structure of the group and they appear to feel comfortable asking questions without fear of judgment. It's been a nice addition to our program.”

As the Grant Data Manager, I conduct the GAIN-M90 interviews and am able to report what I learn from our clients in regularly scheduled meetings with our treatment team, which will allow us to continually make program improvements. We utilize our meetings as time for me to report what’s working and what’s not, and to discuss how to fill any clear gaps in service.

While I cannot determine any major changes in high-risk health behaviors among our program youth, as we are currently halfway through the assessment cycle, I can share from my latest GAIN interviews that clients have reported receiving appropriate classes and education on these behaviors, demonstrating the improvements we have been able to make.

Image from GAIN website

Updated: February 08 2018