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.
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 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.
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.