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Program Profile: Neighborhood Enrichment with Vision Involving Services, Treatment, and Supervision (NEW VISTAS)

Evidence Rating: Promising - One study Promising - One study

Date: This profile was posted on April 06, 2015

Program Summary

A comprehensive, neighborhood-based, family-focused service delivery model that employed wraparound services and case management for criminally involved families with identified substance abuse problems. The program was rated Promising. There was a significant decrease in youth alcohol/drug problems, out-of-home placements (both institutional and noninstitutional), and recidivism rates for participating youths who completed the program.

Program Description

Program Goals/Target Population
The Neighborhood Enrichment with Vision Involving Services, Treatment, and Supervision (NEW VISTAS) program was a comprehensive, neighborhood-based, wraparound program for criminally involved families with substance abuse problems in Santa Barbara County (California). The program aimed to reduce substance abuse problems within these families, specifically targeting youths between the ages of 11 and 18.

Program Components
NEW VISTAS was a comprehensive service-delivery model addressing the most critical needs of families with substance abuse problems. The program was composed of five critical service areas for families: 1) family-focused and neighborhood-based supervision, 2) drug and alcohol treatment services, 3) support services, 4) gender-specific services, and 5) neighborhood enhancement programs. Specific components of the program included an interagency approach to neighborhood-based supervision, case planning, and case management services for targeted families; structured drug/alcohol treatment plans and services for those with substance abuse problems, with additional services focusing on family cohesion and social support; linkage to existing support services, such as school-based mentoring programs, parent education and support groups, afterschool programs, and other related services; gender-specific services for females, including life skills training and health care services; and neighborhood enhancement programs to obtain community participation and increase collective efficacy, such as community-based policing and restorative justice programs.

NEW VISTAS was a collaborative service-delivery model with numerous goals, programs, and stakeholders. Since the program followed an individualized treatment model, program duration was variable depending on the extent and variety of services recommended.

Key Personnel
Key personnel included all program partners, including gateway agencies (such as the probation department), the neighborhood supervision team, and licensed alcohol- and drug-treatment planners. Together, these agencies worked to supervise families, link them with appropriate services, and provide an individualized alcohol- and drug-treatment plan. Each family had a designated team leader who was responsible for the final case plan, brokerage of services, and overall familial supervision. In addition, each family was assigned a "family coach" who provided case management and support to adequately address each family's needs. Probation officers performed supervision that consisted of family/home visits, school/office visits, drug testing, and referrals to various community services and programs.

Program Theory
The NEW VISTAS model is consistent with the transactional–ecological model of youth development, which highlights the role of environmental influences on youth behavior (Bronfenbrenner 1995, 1986). Given the evidence suggesting ecological influence on youth behavior, the NEW VISTAS model relied on the idea that successful intervention and prevention should concentrate on the influential parts of one's social context. Another reason for the family-focused model is based on the premise that intervention and prevention programs should counteract family-based risk factors that are empirically related to criminal activity. Empirical evidence shows a strong relationship among delinquency, substance abuse, and general behavioral difficulties (Bui, Ellickson, and Bell 2000). Thus, the NEW VISTAS program sought to alleviate those risk factors by offering comprehensive services within several domains.

Evaluation Outcomes

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Jimerson and colleagues (2003) found that the Neighborhood Enrichment with Vision Involving Services, Treatment, and Supervision (NEW VISTAS) led to a decrease in youth alcohol/drug problems, out-of-home placements (both institutional and noninstitutional), and an overall decrease in recidivism for participating youths. The results discussed below focus on the comparisons between the NEW VISTAS participants who completed the program and the historical comparison group. Results for the NEW VISTAS noncompleters are discussed in the Additional Information section.

Alcohol Problems
When examining only the youths who had alcohol problems at intake, 90 percent of those who participated in NEW VISTAS and successfully completed the program did not have problems at program exit, compared with 39 percent of the historical comparison group (a significant difference). Significant decreases in alcohol problems were sustained throughout the 18-month follow-up.

Drug Problems
When examining only the youths who had drug problems at intake, 91 percent of successful NEW VISTAS completers no longer had drug problems at exit, compared with 28 percent of the historical comparison group (a significant difference). Significant decreases in alcohol problems were sustained throughout the 18-month follow-up.

Noninstitutional Out-of-Home Placements
When examined at program exit, none of the youths completing the NEW VISTAS intervention experienced noninstitutional out-of-home placements throughout the duration of the program, compared with 16 percent of the historical comparison group (a significant difference).

Institutional Commitment
Youths who successfully completed the NEW VISTAS program had significantly fewer institutional commitments at program exit than the historical comparison group. Of the NEW VISTAS program completers, 27 percent received an institutional placement throughout program duration, compared with 48 percent of the historical comparison group.

Recidivism
At both program exit and the 18-month follow-up, analyses indicated that successful completers of the NEW VISTAS program had slightly fewer arrests than the historical comparison group. At program exit, the average number of arrests was 1.39 for completers and 2.02 for the historical comparison group, although this was not a significant difference. However, at the 18-month follow-up, the average number of arrests were 0.1 for completers and 0.31 for the historical comparison group, which was a significant difference.
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Evaluation Methodology

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Study 1
A 4-year longitudinal study conducted by Jimerson and colleagues (2003) evaluated the effects of the Neighborhood Enrichment with Vision Involving Services, Treatment, and Supervision (NEW VISTAS) program. Using a quasi-experimental design, researchers compared outcomes of juvenile probationers who had completed the NEW VISTAS program with a historical, matched comparison group of similar juveniles. The program was implemented in the city of Santa Barbara, California. Youths who were between the ages of 11 and 18, and from criminally involved families with identified substance abuse problems (i.e., either the youth or someone living with the youth had a drug and/or alcohol problem) were eligible for the study. Youths were recruited mostly from probation referrals (about 87 percent), but other gateways included truancy, parole, and child welfare services (CWS). Once youths and their families were identified, comprehensive treatment plans were developed to provide services and supervision that met the individualized needs of the youths and their families. Outcome analyses focused primarily on youths.

The NEW VISTAS sample included roughly 352 youths and their families. Youth participants ranged in age from 11–18, with the majority (77 percent) between 15–17 years old. The treatment-group youth participants were 68 percent male: 81 percent were Latino American, 14 percent were European American, 3 percent were African American, and 1 percent were American Indian. About one third of youths indicated they were previously involved in a gang. Additionally, the majority (79 percent) of juvenile probationers had existing substance abuse problems. About one fourth (26 percent) of the youths lived with someone who was on probation, on parole, or incarcerated. About 86 percent of the treatment group (301 families) remained present for the first follow-up, 56 percent (206 families) completed the second follow-up, and 43 percent (152 families) completed the third and final follow-up.

To create a comparison group of similar youths, archival data from 1994–98 was retrieved from the Santa Barbara County Juvenile Probation Department to obtain a representative sample of youths receiving probation services prior to NEW VISTAS implementation (i.e., probation as usual). The pool included youths identified as having been involved in the Santa Barbara juvenile probation system during the years of 1994–98, with drug or alcohol testing as a condition of probation. A matched comparison group was drawn from the pool, consisting of 127 youths who were similar to the treatment group based on gender, ethnicity, and severity of offense. Specifically, participants in the comparison group were 68 percent male: 82 percent were Latino, 16 percent were European American, and 2 percent were African American. The ages of youths in the comparison group ranged from 11–18 years old, with the majority (70 percent) between the ages of 15 and 17. When examined at baseline, the historical comparison group was statistically similar to the NEW VISTAS group.

Data was collected through a number of sources, including the Santa Barbara Juvenile Probation Department, in addition to a variety of measures examined specifically for NEW VISTAS program evaluation. Board of Corrections (BOC) core data, demographics, and substance abuse information were collected for all NEW VISTAS families and youths. To evaluate effects on the youths, researchers examined juvenile crime rates and psychosocial functioning of youths in regard to their family/peer relationships, problem behaviors, school functioning, and mental health. Youths were measured at entry; exit; and at 6-, 12-, and 18-month follow-ups. The probation department staff conducted family intake interviews, collected BOC questionnaires, and tracked families through the intervention and follow-up periods.

Chi-square tests for independence, one-way analysis of variance, and coinciding post hoc tests were used to compare treatment completers, treatment group noncompleters, and the historical comparison group.
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Cost

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On average, the Neighborhood Enrichment with Vision Involving Services, Treatment, and Supervision (NEW VISTAS) program cost $20,118 per family, including the comprehensive services provided to both juveniles and families. When considering the average family size of 3 persons and average program duration of 11 ½ months, the cost of the NEW VISTAS program was about $6,346 per person (Jimerson et al. 2003).
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Implementation Information

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Neighborhood Enrichment with Vision Involving Services, Treatment, and Supervision (NEW VISTAS) staff attended strength-based-practices classes on how to build treatment plans based on each family's strengths. The Neighborhood Supervision Team completed a 3-hour, cultural-values training to familiarize staff with common values and cultural differences that their clients may have possessed. Active partners included the Santa Barbara Probation Department; Santa Barbara County Department of Alcohol, Drug, and Mental Health Services; the University of California at Santa Barbara; the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse; Zona Seca; Community Mediation; and the Fatherhood Coalition. Team leaders and family coach interactions were crucial for family success, especially when maintaining an emphasis on the family-focused approach. To enhance the impact of the intervention, culturally appropriate and gender-appropriate services were used. Aftercare services were helpful in sustaining positive outcomes over the long term (Jimerson et al. 2003).
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Other Information (Including Subgroup Findings)

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Jimerson and colleagues (2003) found that when compared with the historical comparison group, youths who participated in the Neighborhood Enrichment with Vision Involving Services, Treatment, and Supervision (NEW VISTAS) and completed the program demonstrated significant, positive changes on outcome measures. However, for youths who participated in NEW VISTAS, but did not complete the program, the outcomes showed mixed results. Specifically, 54 percent of the NEW VISTAS noncompleters had overcome their alcohol problems upon discharge from the program, compared with 39 percent of the the historical comparison group receiving “probation as usual” (a significant difference). This finding was seen primarily among female noncompleters. Similarly, for youths who had drug problems at intake, 48 percent of NEW VISTAS noncompleters no longer had drug problems when exiting the program, compared with 28 percent of the historical comparison group (a significant difference). A reduction in drug problems was evident for female noncompleters, but not males. NEW VISTAS participants who did not complete the program also had fewer noninstitutional out-of-home placements when compared with the historical comparison group (7 and 16 percent, respectively). However, youths who did not complete the NEW VISTAS program were at highest risk for receiving an institutional out-of-home placement when compared with both the completers and the historical comparison group. Eighty-four percent of program noncompleters (compared with 27 percent of program completers and 48 percent of the historical comparison group) received an institutional out-of-home-placement. All three groups differed significantly from each other. Similarly, at program exit, youths who failed to complete the program had significantly more arrests during program duration than both NEW VISTAS completers and the historical comparison group. The average number of arrests for the noncompleters was 3.35, compared with 2.02
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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
Jimerson, Shane R., Kathryn M. O'Brien, Michael J. Furlong, Jill D. Sharkey, Andrew Sia, and Kelly Graydon. 2003. Analysis of a Four-Year Longitudinal Study of a Neighborhood-Based, Family-Focused, Intervention Program for At-Risk Adolescents: Examining Behaviors, Relationships, and Numerous Individual, Family, Neighborhood, and Juvenile Justice Outcomes. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Santa Barbara Probation Department.
http://mina.education.ucsb.edu/jimerson/newvistas/files/nvfull.pdf
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Additional References

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

Bronfenbrenner, Urie. 1995. "Developmental Ecology Through Space and Time: A Future Perspective." In P. Moen, G. H. Elder, Jr., and K. Luscher (eds.). Examining Lives in Context: Perspectives on the Ecology of Human Development. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association, 619–47.

Bronfenbrenner, Urie. 1986. "Ecology of the Family as a Context for Human Development: Research Perspectives." Developmental Psychology 22(6): 723–42.

Bui, Khanh Van T., Phyllis L. Ellickson, and Robert M. Bell. 2000. "Cross-Lagged Relationships Among Adolescent Problem Drug Use, Delinquent Behavior, and Emotional Distress." Journal of Drug Issues 30: 283–304.
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Program Snapshot

Age: 11 - 18

Gender: Both

Race/Ethnicity: Black, American Indians/Alaska Native, Hispanic, White

Geography: Urban

Setting (Delivery): Other Community Setting

Program Type: Alcohol and Drug Therapy/Treatment, Family Therapy, Gender-Specific Programming, Probation/Parole Services, Truancy Prevention, Wraparound/Case Management, Alcohol and Drug Prevention, General deterrence

Targeted Population: Young Offenders, Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Offenders, Families

Current Program Status: Not Active

Listed by Other Directories: Model Programs Guide