In the monthly meeting of the Ashe County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council, the board discussed new changes in the structure of the Standardized Program Evaluation Protocol (SPEP).
SPEP is a system used to evaluate the effectiveness of programs funded through counties’ JCPCs. The evaluation is also supposed to directly show accountability on the programs that are funded.
Linda Graney, a JCPC area consultant for Western North Carolina said that the council’s main focus should be if the services for the children are being delivered.
“SPEP is an added tool to help your programs have support,” she said, in the Sept. 24 meeting.
Graney said the goal throughout the new school year is for everybody in the council and programs to become familiar with the SPEP standards.
“We intend to make sure that every program you fund through JCPC is identified as having a SPEP service or not having a SPEP service,” she said.
One aspect SPEP is changing is an addition to different quality components, which programs will be asked about. Those include staff retention, protocol, monitoring protocol and program fidelity.
Previous versions of the protocol would not look into a program’s delivery or how often there were changes in staff. For some, that had potential for having juveniles return to delinquency.
“A program could score on the old SPEP really well and have a high score. It would predict that it would reduce recidivism in local clients,” Graney said.
The SPEP program also focuses more on programs that offer long-term help to children such as cognitive behavorial therapy and job-related training, as opposed to boot camps or regitmented training programs.
The board also discussed the potential of having two high school students be on the council as a way for student input.
“Over the years we have tried different times to have students appointed from the high school to be part of the council, but that has been difficult due to their class schedules,” Chairperson Grier Hurley said. “We’ve decided in the past not to fill those spots.”
Another idea for student representation on the council was to use home school students, as their schedules are less conflicting.
“I think it is good to get the youth involved, so we can have their input,” Hurley said.
The next scheduled meeting by the council will take place at noon, Tuesday, Oct. 22, in the Agriculture Services Building.
In other action taken by the council:
• The board voted to remove Article VI Section II in their by-laws. The removal means that proxy voting is no longer allowed for the Juvenile Crime Prevention Council.
• In attendance were: Bill Davis, Jimmy Poplin, Kathleen George, Darby Rash, Whitney Dodd, Scott Turnmyer, Doug Goss, Penny Brittain, Lynette Holbrook, Vice Chair Ed Hurst and Chair Grier Hurley. Also in attendance was: Kathy Weaver (Project Challenge), Fawn Roark (Mediation), Kristy Aldridge (PAIRS), Monica Oliver (Barium Springs), Nash Love (AMI Kids) and Linda Graney.