(Jan. 17, 2012) -- Supported by a two-year, $280,000 grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, researchers J. Mitchell Miller in the UTSA College of Public Policy Department of Criminal Justice and Michael J. Karcher in the UTSA College of Education and Human Development Department of Counseling will partner with the international nonprofit Youth Advocate Programs Inc. to study professional advocacy as a treatment for chronic juvenile delinquency.
In Texas, the most serious and chronically delinquent offenders are sent to the Texas Youth Commission (TYC). According to the TYC's most recent statistics (2009-2010), 93 percent of those youth were boys, 44 percent were admitted gang members and the group's average age was 16. In addition, 72 percent had high or moderate need for alcohol or other drug treatments. The group also had a sixth grade median reading level.
"Mentoring is widely accepted as a delinquency deterrent, however few in the field really understand what advocacy looks like, particularly for the youth who need it most, those right on the cusp of a criminal career," said Karcher. "This study will provide a picture of what advocacy for delinquent youth looks like, and it should reveal the elements of advocacy that are most helpful. We expect the findings to help mentors across the country hone their skills and boost their impact on the youth they mentor."
When compared to general youth mentoring, youth advocacy is an intense form of support. It generally takes place over a shorter time frame than mentoring, and it requires the participation of people from different parts of the youth's life such as parents, family members, teachers, advocate program administrators and staff, and probation officers.
"From a pure research perspective, we want to know whether paying adult mentors or relying on volunteerism makes a difference in youth outcomes," said Miller. "We also want to distinguish the subtler differences between advocacy and traditional mentoring modalities to see how each best aligns with various troubled youth populations."
The UTSA researchers will conduct the two-year study by collecting qualitative and quantitative data at Youth Advocate Programs in Toledo, Ohio; Las Vegas; Mobile, Ala.; Atlantic City, N.J. and Fort Worth, Texas. Led by Jeff Fleischer, YAP is a national nonprofit youth-work organization with professional advocates active in 17 U.S. states, Europe and South America.
This high school student exhibit features images, videos, interviews and writings that the students learned about while participating in "The Will to Adorn: African American Dress and the Aesthetics of Identity."
Institute of Texan Cultures, Hemisfair Campus
UTSA students who participated in a bus tour of civil rights movement landmarks deliver prepared reflections on their learning and application goals. All UTSA community members welcome.
Student Union, Denman Room (UC 2.01.28), Main Campus
From community trauma and division to hope and action is a free dialogue event hosted by Mayor Ron Nirenberg and State Sen. José Menéndez and co-sponsored by the UTSA College of Public Policy.
Oblate School of Theology, 285 Oblate Dr., San Antonio
Learn about UTSA's more than 350 registered student organizations and get involved at UTSA.
Student Union, various locations, Main Campus
UTSA has a greater focus in 2018 to serve the local community. Learn the many opportunities you can get involved.
Student Union, 1st floor corridor, Main Campus
Come meet STEM recruiters in person from companies across the nation that have full-time, part-time and/or internship opportunities.
Convocation Center, Main Campus
The summit is an opportunity to create an open forum for the community to share ideas and perspectives on civic engagement.
H-E-B University Center Ballroom (HUC 1.104), Main Campus
Meet recruiters in person from companies across the nation that have full-time and/or internship opportunities. Professional dress required.
Convocation Center, Main Campus
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.
We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.