Cognitive Behavioral Therapy:

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is widely used and a great deal of research has been conducted regarding its effectiveness and is currently the most evidence-based form of psychotherapy. CBT combines two therapies: Cognitive Therapy and Behavioral Modification. CBT is active and focuses on the present, emphasizing problem thoughts and behaviors and taking direct steps to change both.

Completion Criteria:

Completion criteria should be based on behavior changes or skills learned that relate to the offender’s reasons for court involvement. In order for a program to be able to affect and measure progress and success, goals and criteria for completion must be observable and specific.

Coping Skills for Substance Abusers:

Most substance abusers use drugs and alcohol as a way to cope with stress in their lives. Coping Skills Training is one element of relapse prevention and should be done within a comprehensive substance abuse program (for more information see Relapse Prevention summary). Coping Skills Training incorporates elements of cognitive behavioral therapy and helps develop new ways to cope without the use of drugs or alcohol.

Effective Prevention:

Delinquency prevention can take many forms, from general parental supervision to developed curricula taught in classrooms. There are three general types of prevention program currently recognized: universal, selective, indicated.

Ethical Guidelines:

Understanding the reasons for implementing ethical guidelines. Includes some examples of various professional ethical guidelines.

Exclusionary Criteria/Referral Forms:

The following are examples of exclusionary criteria and referral forms for juvenile justice treatment programs.

Family Training:

Effective interventions with youth offenders must include the family and other significant others. The key family variables related to delinquent outcomes are setting clear and consistent limits regarding appropriate behavior and increasing the level of warmth and nurturing in the parent-child relationship.

Female Specific Treatment for Juvenile Offenders:

The following summary is a review of recent literature and research on the treatment of female offenders within juvenile justice.


Generalization is the continued use and transfer of learned skills learned in counseling to a variety of situations. Maintenance refers to a youth’s long term use of learned skills. Transfer refers to the youth’s ability to use the learned skills in varying ways in different situations and settings. With the help of a youth’s treatment team (counselor, advocate, probation officer, family, etc) skills can be maintained and transferred using Behavioral Modification strategies such as positive/negative reinforcement, punishment, prompting, and role playing/practicing.

Peer Contagion:

Social learning theorists suggest peer contagion is the result of observing deviant behaviors and social reinforcement processes1. Normative socialization states that youth are motivated to eliminate differences between themselves and peers. Friendship selection suggests deviant youth choose deviant peer groups as a result of common interests.

Piloting Program Components:

Conducting a pilot study of any program modifications is important in order to assess whether the changes have the intended effects and if the changes produce negative effects. Any time a new program component is instituted, a pilot period of at least one month should be conducted to evaluate the impact of the change. Further modifications are often difficult to make once a program or component has been formally instituted.

Reinforcers and Punishers:

A reinforcer (both positive and negative) is something that will increase the likelihood of a behavior. The reinforcer should always follow the behavior (i.e., a reward); whereas a punisher decreases the likelihood of a behavior.

Relapse Prevention:

The relapse prevention model was first introduced by Marlatt and Gordon (1985) to address substance abuse addiction. Since 1985, relapse prevention is used for several types of addictions and impulsive behaviors.

Risk Need Responsivity:

The Risk Need Responsivity model was created by Andrews and Bonta and has been found to be an effective model in treating criminally involved youth and adults. This literature summary reviews 15 principles of this model, which can be used in program design and treatment planning.

Risk and Criminogenic Needs:

Andrews and Bonta have identified eight risk and criminogenic need factors. Risk factors should be used to determine the level of treatment and criminogenic needs should be the focus of treatment where the goal is to reduce the risk of future criminal behavior and involvement in the criminal/juvenile justice system. This summary reviews the risk and criminogenic needs and provides examples for how to target these needs.

Social Skills Training:

The purpose of social skills training is to assist you in developing prosocial behaviors and interactions with others. Research has shown that poor social skills goes hand in hand with emotional and behavioral problems (Spence, 2003). Also, youth with good social skills are less likely to engage in delinquent behavior and associate with delinquent youth and more likely to have positive school involvement, and engage in prosocial activities and with prosocial youth.

Teaching Behavioral Skills:

Steps on how to teach youth behavioral skills (adapted from ART curriculum)

Treatment Dosage:

Treatment dosage includes: 1. Duration or Length: For example, number of weeks or months 2. Intensity: Hours of program per week.

Last Updated: 9/4/18