(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.
The UTSA community is invited to the Community Networking events hosted by the Student Center for Community Engagement and Inclusion during Roadrunner Days. Various opportunities will be available that will focus on our diverse population.
H-E-B University Center Ballrooms (HUC 1.104 and HUC 1.106), Main Campus
Start in the Paseo then branch out around campus so you know where to go on the first day of classes.
University Center Paseo, Main Campus
This event offers a preview of the UC’s programs and services that students can enjoy throughout the year. There will be food and giveaways too.
University Center Paseo, Main Campus
There will be a special UCinema showing following Kickback at the UC at 9pm in Retama Auditorium (located on the 2nd floor of UC North).
University Center, Retama Auditorium (UC 2.02.02), Main Campus
The Honors College welcomes all new freshmen to UTSA. Join them for breakfast and meet Honors College administrators, staff, and connect with other new Honors students.
University Center, Denman Room (UC 2.01.28), Main Campus
Convocation is UTSA’s ceremony to launch the new academic year. Attendance is mandatory for all incoming freshmen because it marks the first step students will take in their higher education journey of discovery. It is also highly recommended for transfer students as they continue their higher education journey at UTSA and become members of the Roadrunner Family.
Convocation Center, Main Campus
Visit your College to explore your major before the first day of classes.
Various locations, Main and Downtown Campuses
Successful first-year students at UTSA are those who learn how to utilize resources, recognize and resolve problems, and prepare themselves to take advantage of their time on campus. The Student Success Series promotes this achievement by offering workshops on the common concerns and questions first-year students have during their transition to university life.
University Center Retama Auditorium (UC 2.02.02), 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.
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