oversight

At-Risk and Delinquent Youths: Fiscal Year 1998 Programs

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1999-03-30.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

      United States

GAO   General Accounting Office
      Washington, D.C. 20548

      Health, Education, and
      Human Services Division

      B282366

      March 30,1999

      The Honorable Jeff Sessions
      Chairman, Subcommittee on Youth Violence
      Committee on the Judiciary
      United States Senate

      Subject: At-Risk and Delinquent Youths: Fiscal Year 1998 Programs

      Dear Mr. Chairman:

       Over the years, the Congress has passed legislation creating numerous federal programs to
       address the needs of at-risk and delinquent youths as well as other populations.’ These
      programs provide such diverse services as substance abuse prevention, violence prevention, and
      job training, and they target a wide range of youths, including abused and neglected youths, drug
       and alcohol abusers, delinquents, victims of crime, and runaway and homeless youths? In 1997
      testimony, we reported that 15 federal departments and agencies administered 127 programs
      targeted to at-risk and delinquent youths with appropriations that we estimated to total more
      than $4.3 billion in fiscal year 1996.3

      To follow up our 1997 testimony, you asked us for updated information on (1) the number of
      federal programs that served at-risk or delinquent youths in fiscal year 1998, (2) the amount of
      fiscal year 1998 appropriations dedicated toward youths in these programs, and (3) the services
      these programs provided. To mer        your request, we contacted officials at various federal
      agencies to obtain fiscal year 1998 program and appropriations data for programs that served at-
      risk or delinquent youths. As agreed with your office, we did not verify the agency officials
      estimates of the number of programs, the fiscal year 1998 appropriations, and the type of
      services the programs provided.



      ‘The term ‘at risk” can have different meaningsin different contexts. We are using the term in a broad
      senseto refer to youths who, becauseof certain characteristics dr experiences,are in the future
      statistic.aUymore likely than other youths to encounter legal, social, financial, educational,emotional,
      and health problems.
      2Fordefinitions of program servicesand activities discussedin this correspondence,see enclosure II.
      Enclosure I describes the federal programs for at-risk and delinquent youths funded in fiscal year 1998.
      ‘See At-Risk and Delinwnt Youth Mlaltiple Prws       Lack Coor&&ted Federal Effort (GAOR-HEHS
      9838, Nov. 5,1997). Also see At Risk and Delinauent Youth: Fiscal Year 1996Frm     (GAOIHEHS-
      97-21lR, Sept. 2, 1997).




                                                                     GAO/HEHSQ9-SSRAt-Risk and Delinquent Youths
B-282366


In summary, we found that the number of programs decreased from 127 in fiscal year 1996 to
117 in fiscal year 1998. Between the two tical years, several programs were eliminated and
others were established. Of the programs eliminated, some were not funded after fiscal year
1996 or were demonstration programs whose specific authorized period expired. The agency
officials were unable to provide complete information for components in the programs that
targeted youths and could not always identify the portion of funding dedicated to at-risk and
delinquent youths. Nevertheless, the officials estimated that the appropriations available to
serve these youths increased slightly from about $4.3 billion to more than $4.4 billion in Cscal
year 1998.

        LE PROGRAMS SERVED AT-RISK AND DELINQUENT YOUTHS
The federal government continues to fund many programs that provide services to at-risk and
delinquent youths. According to agency officials, in fiscal year 1998,117 programs admin&eret
by 15 federal departments and agencies received funding for their at-risk or delinquent youth
components. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Department of Justic
and the Department of Labor admmistered 85, or 73 percent, of these programs. (See fig. 1.)

me     1: 117 Programs in 15 Deoartments and Agencies That Served At-Risk and Delinm
Youths in Fiscal Year 1998




                                           Other




                                            Department of
                                            Health and Human Services




 2                                                          GAO/HEHS9488R At-Risk and Delinquent Youths
B-282366


AT-RISK AND DELINQIJEWI’ YOUTH PROGRAMS TOTALED $4.4 BILLION IN 1998

The agency officials estimated that the portion of appropriated funds available for the 117
programs for at-risk and delinquent youth services in fiscal year 1998 totaled more than $4.4
‘billion. Labor and the Department of Education received the most funds-$2.3 billion and more
than $904 mUion, respectively. (See fig. 2.) The agency officials could not, however, estimate the
 amount of funds dedicated to at-risk and delinquent youths for 42 of the 117 programs.




                                          Department of Justice



                                          $239.9M




                                          Department of Labor




                                          Health and Human Services
                                          S699.4M




c                                                         ED SIMILAR SERVI
Many programs appeared to fund similar services. According to the agency officiais, in fiscal
year 1998,62 programs provided training and technical assistance, 46 provided mentoring
services, and 53 provided violence prevention services. In some cases, a single agency
administered several programs that provided similar services. For example, 30 of HHSs
programs provided counseling services and 31 provided support services. The services most
often made available under the 117 programs included training and technical a&stance,
counseling, and parental and family intervention. (See fig. 3.)



3                                                            GAO/HEHS!W48R At-Risk and Dehqumt Youth
     B-282366


                Similar Services That Several Dermtment and &encv Promms Funded in F’iscal Yeas




60


50


40


30


20


10


 n




                                                             GAO/?iEHS-%88R   At-Risk and Delinquent Youths
E&282366


                                                                                        .
CHANGES SINCE FISCAL YEAR 1996
Between 1996 and 1998, some programs were added and others were elimUted. The newly
established programs were alI administered by HI-IS, while the programs that were eliminated
were spread out among various other federal departments and agencies.

According to the agency officials’ estimates, the amount appropriated for programs for at-risk
and delinquent youths increased from about $4.3 billion to more than $4.4 billion over the 2
years. Education and Justice appropriations for youth programs increased by $124 milbon and
$13 million, respectively. However, there were many programs for which the agency officials
could not provide estimates of the portion of funds for services for at-risk and delinquent youths.
The variety of services provided by the departments and agencies in fiscal year 1998 was
generally the same as we reported in 1997.

AGENCY COMMENTS
We provided each of the 15 departments and agencies an opportunity to verify the program data
it provided. Some program officials provided technical comments on the data and we
incorporated these as appropriate.



As arranged with your office, unless you publicly announce the contents of this correspondence
earlier, we plan no further distribution until 3 days from its date. We will then send copies to the
Secretaries and Chairmen of the departments and agencies whose data are included in the
correspondence and to others on request.

If you have any questions about this information, please caU me or Larry Horinko, Assistant
Director, at (202) 512-7014. The major contributor to this correspondence was Ben Jordan.


Sincerely yours,




Marlene S. Shaul
Associate Director, Education, Workforce, and
 Income Security Issues

Enclosures - 2




                                                           GAO/'HEHSQ948R   At-RiskandDelinqwntYouths
ENCLOSURE1

                  FEDERAL PROGRAM FUNDING FOR AT-RISK AND DELINQUENT YOUTHS. FISCAL YEAR 1998

This table describesthe programsand servicesprovided by the federal departmentsand agencies. The abbreviationsfor the types of
servicesare counseling(C), clearinghouse(CM), capital improvement (CI), job training assistance(JTA), mentoring (M), parental and
family intervention (PFI), planning and programdevelopment(PPD), researchand evaluation (RE), substanceabuseprevention (SAP),
substanceabusetreatment(SAT), supportservice(SS), self-sufficiency skills (SSS), tutoring (T), training and technical assistance
(TTA), and violence prevention(VP). (Violence preventionincludes conflict resolution, crime and violence intervention, focused
activity, and gang intervention.) (SeeenclosureII for definitions of program services.)

Agency and program                        Estimate of funding dedicated    to youths                                Type of service funded
                                                                          ($millions)
                                                                                        C   CH   Cl JTA M PFI PPD RE SAP SAT                 SS SSS     T   TTA   VP
Appafachfan Regfonal Commlsslon (1 program)
Area DevelopmentProgram                                                       0.2                                                            X               X
Subtotal                                                                      0.2
Corporation for National Service (6 programs)
AmeriCorps                                                                    N/A       X            x x        x             X                  x   x            X
FosterGrandparentProgram                                                      N/A                    x x                                         x   x
Learn and Serve America-Higher       Education                                N/A       X            xxx                x     x    x             xxx              x
Learn and Serve America-                                                      N/A       X                       x       x     x    x             x   x            X
School and Community Based Programs
Retired and Senior Volunteer Program                                          N/A       X            x     x    x                  X         X   xxxx
Volunteers in Service to America                                              11.4      x            x     x    x                  X             xxxx
(AmeriCorps’VISTA)
Subtotal                                                                     11.4
Department of Agriculture       (4 programs)
4-H and Youth Development                                                    61.7                          xx           x    x                   X          X
Children, Youth, and Families At-Risk                                         9.5           x        x     x    x       x    x     x                    x   x     x
Initiative-Cooperative Extension System
Food Stamp Employment and Training Program                                   N/A        X            X                                  X        x      x
Urban Tree House Research Program                                            0.12                                            X
Subtotal                                                                     71.3
Department of Defense (2 programs)
U.S. National Guard-Challenge      Youth Program                              48                 x   xxx                     x     x             X          x     x
U.S. National Guard-STARBASE                                                  2.9                X         x    x                  X             xxx              x
-       -
:       C
-   -   -    -       -   -

:       C    C
-   -   -    -       -   -
    C   C                :
-   -   -    -       -   -
    C   C                C
-   -   -    -           -
        C                :
-       -    -       -
                     ,
        C            .
-       -    -       -   -
C       C                C
-       -    -       -   -
:       C    C           C
-       -    -       -   -
        C
-       -    -       -   -
        C    C           C
-            -       -
        2-               T
-   -   -    -       -   -
    C   C                C
-   -   -    -       -

-   -   -    -           -

        C                    C
-       -    -       -   -
        C                C   C
-       -    -       -   -

    ?            c       c   C
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-       -    -       -   -
x            x


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                               :
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<             :           :
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<     C   C           C   C
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                      C   C
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          C   C           C
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<
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;   3

-   -
ENCLOSURE II




       DEFINlTIONS OF PROGRAM SERVICES USED IN OUR CORRESPONDENCE

In our review, we focused on 15 types of services and activities that programs could
potentially provide to at-risk or delinquent youths. We used the following definitions for
them.

Canital irnnrovement. Funding the purchase of property, facilities, and equipment used in
helping youths.

Clearinghouse. Gathering and disseminating research and other information on youths.

Counseling. Providing youth counseling services to help resolve problems or difficulties
stemming from emotional problems, home or family conflicts, and interpersonal
relationships.

Job-train& assistance. Helping youths prepare for or find jobs. Job-search assistance
includes providing instructions on job-seeking techniques, preparing a job-search plan,
obtaining labor market information, and increasing motivation and self-conftdence. Job
placement assistance includes identifying job openings in the public or private sector and
referring individuals to employers with such openings. On-the-job training is training
provided to an employee in occupational or other skills essential to performing a specific job
or group of jobs. Such training is generally used for entry-level employment and skill
upgrades.

Mentor&. Using adult role models to assist youths in career or educational planning and to
provide encouragement and motivation.

Parental and familv intervention. Improving parenting skills and communication within
families or otherwise promoting positive family and home life. Included in this category are
activities related to youth pregnancy, youth parenting, and child abuse.

Plannine and nrogmrn develoDment. Funding planning and development activities related to
youth programs.

Research and evaluation. Studying innovative approaches for planning and implementing
youth programs or evaluating the effectiveness of such programs.
Self-sticiencv skills. Individual or group training in life skills (such as caring for a home,
reading a bus schedule, and using a checking account) and remedial or basic skills training
in academic subjects (such as mathematics or English, English as a second language, and
literacy training).

Substance abuse nrevention. Providing services to prevent drug and alcohol abuse.

Substance abuse treatment.    Providing   services to treat drug and alcohol abuse.

Support service. Assisting individuals in overcoming barriers to participating in programs
for at-risk and delinquent youths. Examples may include subsidizing the cost of child care


 12                                                           GAO/HEHS-99-88RAt-Risk Youth
ENCLOSURE II


or transportation or providing financial support or reimbursement for medical expenses
incurred by an individual or the individual’s family, thereby facilitating program
participation.

Trainine and technical assistance. Giving training and technical assistance to people
responsible for program management or service delivery. This could include dissemiz&tg
information on youth programs.

Tutorine. Helping individuals or groups master academic subjects, such as reading or
mathematics, including helping them with homework or school projects.

Violence urevention. F’roviding conflict resolution, crime and violence intervention, focxtxd
activity, and gang intervention.




                                                            GAO/HEHS-99-88RAt-Risk Yorrttt
                             RELATED GAO PRODUCTS

At-Risk and Delinauent Youth: MukiDle Promms Lack Coordinated Federal Effort (GAO/T-
HEI-E98-38, Nov. 5,1997).

At-Risk and Delinauent Youth: Fiscal Year 1996 Prosmms (GAO/HEHS97-211R, Sept. 2,
1997).


At-Risk and Delinauent Youth: M&iDle Federal Promms Raise Efficiencv Questions
(GAO/HEHS-9634, Mar. 6,1996).




 (104962)




 14                                                     GAOiHEHS-99-88RAt-Risk Youth
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