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Program Profile: AMIkids Community-Based Day Treatment Services

Evidence Rating: Promising - One study Promising - One study

Date: This profile was posted on June 13, 2012

Program Summary

A day treatment program that provides community-based interventions while allowing youth to reside at home as they attend daily services. The program is rated Promising. The treatment sample was significantly less likely to be adjudicated or convicted for an offense within 12 months of release.

Program Description

Program Goals
AMIkids offers a variety of community-based, experiential treatment interventions for at-risk and delinquent youths that are designed to reduce recidivism and be cost effective. The AMIkids programs are run by the nonprofit organization AMIkids, Inc. (formerly Associated Marine Institutes) in Florida and offer services through several different program settings, including day treatment centers, wilderness camps, home-based family counseling, residential programs for male adolescents, gender-specific programming for female adolescents, and alternative schools.

Program Theory
AMIkids’ service delivery is targeted at eight integrated components: education, challenge experiences, cognitive–behavioral therapy, strengths-based case management, behavior modification, family partnership, problem-solving and social skills development, and community service. This approach is based on theoretical perspectives and treatment interventions found in empirical research literature to effectively reduce juvenile delinquency (Winokur Early et al. 2010).

The foundation of service delivery adheres to the AMIkids Personal Growth Model (PGM), which is a unified approach to treatment, education, and behavior modification designed to help youths achieve personal growth and success. The PGM uses an experiential learning environment to deliver cognitive–behavioral interventions designed to reduce youths’ risks for mental, behavioral, and emotional problems while encouraging the youths to make positive changes in their lives to avoid future involvement in the juvenile justice system. The goals of the PGM are:

  • Integration of evidence-based interventions and strategies into the services provided by AMIkids
  • Reduction in recidivism and improvement in prosocial outcomes by addressing youths’ risks, needs, and responsivity
  • Establishing a holistic approach to serving youth, encompassing the individual, the family, and the community
The conceptual framework of the PGM is based on research and theory of delinquency and treatment interventions for juveniles (AMIkids 2009a). The PGM also embodies the integration of program components centered on the AMIkids Culture, which consists of six core principles: bonding, family atmosphere, nonprison environment, positive learning environment, gender responsiveness, and cultural relevancy.

Program Components
Upon enrollment in AMIkids, each youth is administered a comprehensive assessment called the Positive Achievement Change Tool (PACT). The PACT assessment instrument identifies youths’ criminogenic risks and needs. Based on the PACT assessment, youths are assigned to mental health or substance use treatment services (or to both) that consist of:

  • Cognitive–Behavioral Therapy, to address anger, mental health, behavior, and substance use treatment needs
  • Motivational Enhancement Therapy, to address substance use treatment needs
  • Aggression Replacement Training, which concentrates on anger and skills deficits as well as moral reasoning
  • Skillstreaming, to deal with social skills deficits
  • Motivational Interviewing for rapport building and moving youths toward positive change
The assessment also determines the necessary intensity and duration of treatment interventions based on individual risk and protective factors, responsivity to treatment, readiness to change, and criminogenic needs.

The AMIkids day treatment programs provide community-based interventions that allow youths to reside at home while they attend daily services. During the day, youths receive intervention services and attend school at the day treatment center in an academic setting. At night, youths return home, which fosters family involvement in the treatment process. Day treatment programs are designed to serve delinquent youths in a nonresidential setting and to improve youths’ academic achievement, vocational achievement, and school attendance and reduce their problem behaviors such as substance use, violence, delinquency, and conduct disorders. Youths participating in day treatment programs have been adjudicated delinquent by the court for misdemeanors and lesser felonies and often have co-occurring substance misuse and mental health issues.

The day treatment programs are usually small, usually located near the youth’s home, and generally operate from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays. The average length of stay in the program is typically 4 to 6 months. Services provided by program staff address issues in both the home and neighborhood by working with each youth and his or her family together. Services include staff home visits, a small staff-to-student ratio, comprehensive counseling, individualized cognitive–behavioral treatment services, and family integration.

Evaluation Outcomes

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Study 1

Overall, after controlling for group differences and predictors of recidivism, Winokur Early and colleagues (2010) found the AMIkids community-based day treatment sample was significantly less likely to be adjudicated or convicted for an offense within 12 months of release (38 percent day treatment recidivism rate versus 43 percent residential recidivism rate). Youths who received AMIkids day treatment services were significantly less likely to be rearrested (54 percent versus 59 percent), rearrested for a felony offense (30 percent versus 42 percent), convicted for a felony offense (18 percent versus 27 percent) and subsequently committed, placed on adult probation, or sentenced to prison (23 percent versus 29 percent) compared with youths who completed residential programming.
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Evaluation Methodology

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Study 1
The evaluation by Winokur Early and colleagues (2010) used a quasi-experimental design to compare recidivism outcomes for male and female juvenile offenders who completed AMIkids’ community-based day treatment program during fiscal year 2007–08 to a matched sample of youths who completed secure residential programming during the same time period.

Youths completing AMIkids day treatment programs were compared with a matched sample of youths completing low-, moderate-, and high-restrictiveness-level residential programs. A completion of secure residential programming is defined as any youth designated in Florida’s Juvenile Justice Information System (JJIS) having successfully completed the program, having been assigned to probation following release, having been directly discharged without subsequent supervision, and/or having reached the maximum juvenile jurisdictional age or term served and then being released back to the community. Restrictiveness level refers to the physical and staff security level of the facility, and not to the risk of reoffending. However, youths were matched by risk level, as measured by the PACT that is used by the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (FDJJ) to assess criminogenic risks and needs. A propensity score matching protocol was used to statistically control for inherent differences between the groups. The propensity score was calculated as the probability of a given youth completing AMIkids day treatment services versus residential commitment using the probabilities produced by a logistic regression model. Youths with the same propensity score were matched and divided into two groups: those who did and did not receive AMIkids community-based interventions.

Youths who received AMIkids day treatment services (n=1,083) were 80 percent male, 51 percent African American, and 14 percent Hispanic, with an average age of 16.2 years at admission. Youths who completed residential programming (n=1,083) were 81 percent male, 53 percent African American, and 15 percent Hispanic, with an average age of 15.8 years at admission. There were no statistically significant differences between the groups except on two factors: youths who received residential programming were younger at release and had a longer average length of stay, compared with youths who received AMIkids day treatment services.

Measures of recidivism and standard follow-up periods are based on those used by FDJJ in their annual outcome evaluations of juvenile justice programming in the state. Recidivism, defined by FDJJ, is any subsequent offense that results in adjudication, adjudication withheld, or adult conviction within 1 year of release. The analysis in the study also examined alternate youth outcome measures including felony adjudication or conviction, arrest and felony arrest, and subsequent placements into commitment, adult probation, or prison within 1 year of program completion. Data was compiled from the JJIS, the Florida Criminal Information Center, the Florida Department of Corrections, the FDJJ Office of Management and Budget, and the FDJJ Bureau of Quality Assurance. Independent sample t–tests were used to test for significant differences in the outcomes between the groups for each analysis.
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The relative expenses of AMIkids day treatment and residential services were estimated using the standard FDJJ method for calculating program costs. According to the 2009 FDJJ Comprehensive Accountability Report, it costs on average $40,235 for every juvenile offender who completes low-, moderate-, and high-risk residential programming. In comparison, AMIkids day treatment services cost approximately $9,356 for each youth who successfully completes the program. The difference in expense between the day treatment and residential programming is $30,879 for each youth receiving services. The cost comparison shows that the State of Florida saves more than $3 million for every 100 youths who complete AMIkids day treatment services (versus residential programming) each year (Winokur Early et al. 2010).
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Evidence-Base (Studies Reviewed)

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Study 1
Winokur Early, Kristin, Gregory A. Hand, Julia L. Blankenship, and Steven F. Chapman. 2010. “Experimental Community-Based Interventions for Delinquent Youth: An Evaluation of Recidivism and Cost Effectiveness.” Unpublished manuscript.
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Additional References

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

AMIkids. 2009a. AMIkids Personal Growth Model: Service Philosophy Manual. Tampa, Fla.: AMIkids, Inc.

AMIkids. 2009b. AMIkids Personal Growth Model: A Unified Approach to Behavior Modification, Education, and Treatment. Tampa, Fla.: AMIkids, Inc.

AMIkids. 2010. Behavior Modification Operations Manual. Tampa, Fla.: AMIkids, Inc.

AMIkids. 2011. “Home.” Accessed December 2, 2011.

Justice Research Center. 2011. AMIkids Outputs and Outcomes Reports 2010. Tallahassee, Fla.: Justice Research Center.
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Related Practices

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Following are practices that are related to this program:

Formal System Processing for Juveniles
The practice of using traditional juvenile justice system processing in lieu of alternative sanctions to deal with juvenile criminal cases. The practice is rated No Effects for reducing recidivism compared to the youth that were diverted from the system.

Evidence Ratings for Outcomes:
No Effects - One Meta-Analysis Crime & Delinquency - Multiple crime/offense types

Juvenile Diversion Programs
An intervention strategy that redirects youths away from formal processing in the juvenile justice system, while still holding them accountable for their actions. The practice is rated Promising for reducing recidivism rates of juveniles who participated in diversion programming compared with juveniles who were formally processed in the justice system.

Evidence Ratings for Outcomes:
Promising - More than one Meta-Analysis Crime & Delinquency - Multiple crime/offense types
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Program Snapshot

Age: 14 - 17

Gender: Both

Race/Ethnicity: Black, Hispanic, White

Geography: Rural, Suburban, Urban

Setting (Delivery): Other Community Setting

Program Type: Alternatives to Detention, Cognitive Behavioral Treatment, Day/Evening Treatment, Diversion, Family Therapy, Gender-Specific Programming, Probation/Parole Services, Motivational Interviewing

Targeted Population: Young Offenders

Current Program Status: Active

Listed by Other Directories: Model Programs Guide

Program Director:
AMIkids, Inc.
5915 Benjamin Center Drive
Tampa FL 33634
Phone: 813.887.3300
Fax: 813.889.8092