Planning Community Services for Children in Trouble

Planning Community Services for Children in Trouble

Planning Community Services for Children in Trouble

Planning Community Services for Children in Trouble

Excerpt

Libraries are well stocked with standard descriptions of agencies concerned with delinquency, and publishers' lists promise substantial additions. This volume will be justified only if its readers agree that it has moved away from the merely descriptive and has begun to suggest the characteristics and scope of a community system of services for coping with the delinquencies and the neglects.

I have long been convinced that community programs have failed on two scores: (1) They have been built on the assumption that the administrative labels "delinquency" and "neglect" denote populations to be dealt with as though all their members were relatively similar. Only recognition of the range and heterogeneity subsumed under each of the labels will permit realistic planning. (2) Too many communities have been willing to accept the agency and institution as the planning unit. Examination of experience discloses that effective intervention is so complex a process that it is doomed to failure unless all agencies are part of a truly integrated, carefully planned network.

These conclusions have been reinforced again and again in a series of studies of individual agencies and programs, as well as in studies of the impact of the total process of public and voluntary agency services on families and children. It was this which led to the decision to attempt an approach which asks how a community must equip itself to deal with serious problems of unacceptable deviance in children. What are the tasks to be done, the functions . . .

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