After School: Still the Prime Time for Juvenile Crime in Arkansas
Afterschool Fights Crime in Arkansas
The more than 5,000 law enforcement leaders around the nation who are members of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, have long known that the hours immediately after school lets out, when parents are likely not available to supervise, are the prime time for juvenile crime. Over the past 20 years, law enforcement leaders across the country have relied on high-quality afterschool programs to provide supportive, stable, and enriching environments with caring adults that keep children and youth out of trouble and safe, while supporting their academic success, and social and emotional development.
We’ve come a long way towards boosting access to afterschool programs but there’s still too many kids that don’t have access to these crime fighting initiatives. This report has a real chance to highlight this pressing public safety issue.
Fight Crime: Invest in Kids member Keith Humphrey, Little Rock Police Chief
The Prime Time for Juvenile Crime in Arkansas
In Arkansas, juvenile crime peaks from 2 to 6 p.m. on school days, with about 25 percent of all juvenile crime on those days occurring during the hours following the last school bell.
Program Highlight: Teen Action and Support Center, Washington County
The Teen Action and Support Center (TASC) was formed in 2005, following a community needs assessment demonstrating a growing demand for teen support services in Northwest Arkansas. In an effort to generate a wide network of supports for teens, TASC established a space called The Station – a collaborative of afterschool programs where teens have access to resources provided by TASC, Washington County Juvenile Court, Tech Hogs Robotics’ STEM program, and Stitches. The collaborators at The Station offer arts, cultural, and music programs, as well as entrepreneurial education, counseling, and other community engagement opportunities for teenagers. The Station staff welcome all teens to engage in afterschool enrichment activities, but in particular, help remove the barriers to participation that exist for at-risk youth. By meeting teens “where they are” and addressing their individual needs, The Station activates the potential of at-risk youth resulting in lower dropout rates, improved grades and school attendance, and lower rates of substance misuse and abuse.
According to TASC’s 2017 Impact Report, only 4 percent of girls have reoffended during or since completion of the Girls Circle program.
One example, Girls Circle, is a structured afterschool support group for girls offered by the Washington County Juvenile Court at The Station. This therapeutic prevention and intervention program targets the specific developmental needs of girls, helping to divert them away from risky behaviors. According to TASC’s 2017 Impact Report, only 4 percent of girls have reoffended during or since completion of the Girls Circle program. The Washington County Juvenile Court also runs diversionary programming through the Youth Reporting Center at The Station. Court-mandated teens attend the Reporting Center’s afterschool program from 4-8 p.m. every day, with the opportunity to interact with counselors, learn from job trainers, and engage in a wide variety of art and music programming. According to TASC, teens reporting to The Station are significantly less likely to reoffend when compared to other teens involved in the juvenile justice system across the county.
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