Delinquency prevention programs among youth are considered vital in developing a comprehensive and consistent approach to crime and delinquency among youth. The preventive nature of these programs allows them to focus on children of any age (MENTOR, 2005). Current discussions on delinquency and crime prevention among youth focus on the key aspects that define delinquency prevention programs. For instance, these programs need to be educative, as these will provide youth with crucial information and awareness about crimes and their associated consequences. Another critical aspect of these programs is their mentoring ability. The paper’s task is to compare D.A.R.E. (https://dare.org/texas/) and Big Brothers and Big Sisters (https://www.bbbs.org/) to determine which one will be enacted as a delinquency reduction program for youth in Harris County.
The Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E) is a delinquency reduction program, which is focused on equipping children with essential life skills to assist them avoid engaging in gangs, violence, and drugs (D.A.R.E., n.d.). It was founded in 1983, and it has been thriving since then, as the program has been implemented in numerous schools in the country. The program is police officer-led, which means police officers teach the lessons to help children avoid drugs and violence, resist peer pressure, and live productive lives (Crime Solutions, 2011). The program is guided by the mission to help students learn good decision-making skills to lead safe and healthy lives.
The key to the effective delivery of the program is its reliance on a comprehensive training system for those to deliver the curricula. It means that the curricula delivery for the program is undertaken by highly trained individuals who understand the needs of children based on their ages (D.A.R.E., n.d.). Additionally, the program relies on a comprehensive system of advisory boards that comprise experts in various fields, which means that the curricula are effective, impactful, and developmentally age-specific. The program allows children to gain trustworthy adult friends, respect the law, and develop positive attitudes toward law enforcement officers.
Big Brothers and Big Sisters
The organization’s delinquency prevention program focuses on transforming children’s lives through mentoring partnerships (Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, n.d.). Over the years, the organization has been playing a crucial role in transforming children’s lives in the U.S. It is guided by the mission to create and support mentoring relationships aimed at providing children with a chance to achieve their full potential (Youth.gov., n.d.). By nurturing these children, the organization does not only benefit them but also strengthens communities. Enrolling children in the program is an essential step toward providing them with a caring mentor capable of bringing new perspectives to their world (Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, n.d.). Parents of children enrolled in the program benefit from the powerful and informative workshop it provides, which helps them raise highly-capable kids who are unlikely to engage in crime. The program has existed for over a century and has been associated with favorable outcomes.
The program’s main feature is the creation of one-to-one mentoring relationships with children (Crime Solutions, 2011). Such relationships allow these children to view life from a different perspective. For instance, mentors in the program help the children understand the importance of education in their lives. Children that undergo this program are likely to value their education, which will make them focus less on crime. The program is one of the largest and oldest in the country that offers mentoring services to children from ages 5 through young adulthood (Youth.gov., n.d.).
Also, the program helps address the children’s need for positive adult contact through adult mentors. The program reduces negative behavior’s risk factors among these children and enhances protective factors that are linked with positive behavior. It is based on the theory of social control, which posits that attachments to supportive adults and the existence of a mutually trusting relationship between children and adults help the children to feel more supported and socially accepted (MENTOR, 2005). Additionally, children’s increased level of support encourages them to engage in constructive behaviors and view themselves positively, thereby reducing the chances of indulgence in misbehavior.
The Program to Enact and Justifications
The program to be enacted as a delinquency program for youth in Harris County is Big Brothers Big Sisters. The program will effectively prevent delinquency among youth in the county by allowing them to get adult mentors, who will help them have different perspectives about life. Mentorship is vital in preventing youth delinquency through close, trusting relationships, which allow mentors to help youth view life from a different perspective. According to Crime Solutions (2011), the program is rated effective, which will be linked with a statistically significant reduction in misbehavior among youth. Additionally, youth that has undergone the mentorship program are likely to record improved relationships with their parents and academics. According to Crime Solutions (2011), D.A.R.E is rated no effects, which means that its enactment will not be associated with significant effects on the lives of youth in Harris County.
In conclusion, the preferred program to be enacted as a delinquency program for youth in Harris County is Big Brothers Big Sisters. The program involves assigning an adult mentor to a child, who plays an essential role in changing their perspectives about life. Data from Crime Solutions reveals that the program is effective, which is not the case with D.A.R.E, which is associated with no effect.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. (n.d.). About. Big Brothers Big Sisters. https://www.bbbs.org/about/
Crime Solutions. (2011). Program Profile: Big Brothers Big Sisters (B.B.B.S.) Community-Based Mentoring (C.B.M.) Program. Crime Solutions. https://crimesolutions.ojp.gov/ratedprograms/112
Crime Solutions. (2011). Program Profile: Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) (1983-2009). Crime Solutions. https://crimesolutions.ojp.gov/ratedprograms/99#pd
D.A.R.E. (n.d.). About D.A.R.E. D.A.R.E. America. https://dare.org/about/
MENTOR. (2005). How to build a successful mentoring program using the elements of effective practice: A step-by-step tool kit for program managers. MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership. https://www.mentoring.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Full_Toolkit.pdf
Youth.gov. (n.d.). Big Brothers Big Sisters (B.B.B.S.) Community-Based Mentoring (C.B.M.) Program. Youth.gov. https://youth.gov/content/big-brothers-big-sisters-bbbs-community-based-mentoring-cbm-program