INTERCEPTING MINORS WITH POSITIVE ATTENTION
1. Briefly describe the structure of your program.
The Intercepting Minors with Positive Attention Care and Training (IMPACT) program is a City of Cerritos program directed toward at-risk youth. Children from kindergarten through eighth grade who display at-risk behavior are identified and assisted by a specially trained Sheriff’s deputy through the IMPACT program. Children who display at-risk behavior may be referred to the IMPACT program by their parents, a Sheriff’s deputy, their school, City Leisure Services staff or any concerned individual. Through IMPACT, at-risk children and their parents receive help and attention from an IMPACT deputy to stop the child’s negative behavior.
Parents of kids referred to the IMPACT program are asked to participate in at-risk awareness training conducted by the IMPACT deputy. The IMPACT deputy will provide parents with parenting tools designed to stop the negative behavior of their children.
The IMPACT deputy also works with City and school staff to coordinate and/or conduct the following programs: drug-awareness education; "officer friendly" classes for Tot Lot preschool children; sports and substance-abuse (steroids, chewing tobacco) education; and after-school programs. Meetings are held at City parks, the Library, and local schools.
The IMPACT program utilizes the following criteria to identify at-risk behavior:
The IMPACT deputy works with City and school staff to coordinate and conduct specific aspects of the IMPACT program. Each aspect of the program is designed to expose the at-risk youth to positive social behavior. The following programs are components of the IMPACT program:
* Pre-School Program: This program introduces members of law enforcement to children between the ages of 2-5. The children become familiar with the duties of a deputy sheriff. They see the uniform and equipment worn by the deputy, including the gun belt and weapons. The child has an opportunity to sit in a police car and learn about the police radio.
* After School Activity Program: The purpose of this program is to get at-risk youth between the ages of 10-12 years old involved in activities that will assist them in making better choices and decisions. This is a four-week program that meets once a week for one hour immediately following the end of the school day. Some of the issues discussed during the meetings are anger management, conflict resolution, teamwork, self-respect, responsibility, and effects of graffiti. A parent night is conducted for the parents whose children attended the program. Parents are given an overview of what the children have learned as part of their after school program. Parents are encouraged to reinforce the lessons learned by their children.
* Spring Break Activity Week: This program gets kids that participate in the after school activity club involved in the park programs. The kids are introduced to park staff and the activities offered at the major parks in the City. Once the kids have made a positive contact, they feel more comfortable in returning to the park at a future date.
* Library Program: The purpose of this program is to introduce law enforcement to kids between the ages of 6-12 years old. The program blends safety issues with reading. This is a six-week program that meets once a week for an hour. The topics covered include stranger awareness, weapon safety, fire safety, responsibility, anger management, conflict resolution, and basic drug awareness.
* Summer Transitional School Program: The purpose of this program is to prepare the incoming seventh grader for middle school. The program is able to accommodate 125 children at each of the three middle schools. The one-week program is designed to duplicate a four-day period at the middle school the child will be attending. It includes passing periods and a snack. Each period is taught by a different professional: teacher, recreation leader, community resource specialist, and IMPACT deputy. The lessons taught may vary from school to school. Many lessons taught by teachers usually include, study skills, time management, goal setting, and they introduce the various club and activities offered on that campus. The lessons taught by the IMPACT deputy usually include rules and consequences, anger management, conflict resolution, sexual harassment, how to make friends, honesty, respect, and responsibility.
* The Junior High School IMPACT Program: This program during the school year is more like an intervention program and targets students who are struggling with the new environment. Referrals are limited to a maximum of 20 students per junior high school. The IMPACT deputy meets with the students four times a month. The topics change every month but the curriculum remains the same as in the elementary schools. The After School Activity Club and Summer Transitional Program include instruction in conflict resolution, anger management, self-respect, and consequences, ...etc. The student’s progress is continually discussed between the IMPACT deputy, teachers, school counselors, and principal. If the student continues to fail, and the parents show a lack of commitment in dealing with student problems, the child is dropped from the program.
2. When was the program created and why?
The IMPACT program was implemented in 1993. IMPACT was created because children today face difficult choices. Many influences act upon their behavior when they are away from home. IMPACT was created to help them avoid negative and self-destructive choices and assist them toward positive activities.
3. How do you measure the program’s effectiveness?
The success of the IMPACT program can be measured by the number of students who willfully participate and by the positive reaction received from parents and teachers. A majority of the students who take part in the IMPACT program at any level do well in school. Because of the regularity with which the IMPACT deputy visits the school sites, former participants usually contact her to report how they have progressed. Unfortunately, the IMPACT program does not help everyone. It has been our experience that approximately 15% of the children are not affected by the programs.
4. How is the program financed?
The City of Cerritos pays for the salary of the IMPACT deputy. All other City and school district personnel participate in the program as their duties allow.
5. How is the community involved in the program?
The success of the IMPACT program lies principally on the partnership between the IMPACT deputy, City recreational department staff, school district employees, and parents of the at-risk youths. No general community involvement is required for the IMPACT program.
6. Contact person:
Mr. Michael S. Fleager, Cerritos Community Safety Manager, was instrumental in the development of the IMPACT program. Mr. Fleager is available to answer any questions concerning the IMPACT program. Mr. Fleager can be reached at: City of Cerritos, Community Safety Division, 18135 S. Bloomfield Avenue, Cerritos, CA 90703, (562) 916-1266.
The United States Conference of Mayors
J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
Copyright © 1999, US Conference of Mayors, All rights reserved.