This project, one of eleven statewide, responded to a legislative mandate to develop community-based responses to the increase in violent crime referrals to local juvenile probation departments. The Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services asked the UT Austin School of Social Work to assist the 78744 Southeast Austin neighborhoods in developing a community-based collaborative plan to address this problem. The School’s main responsibilities included facilitating community meetings and providing technical assistance in planning and implementing a juvenile crime reduction plan.

The Southeast Austin community developed a comprehensive plan that offered structured, supervised, mentally and physically challenging alternatives to behavior that may result in criminal activity. These activities included employment and job training skills programs such as summer youth employment, youth entrepreneur programs, and youth career planning workshops; educational programs such as computer learning center, after-school enrichment classes and a summer camp; a parent education conference; recreational programs such as organized soccer, skating, football, basketball, and baseball; and safety and crime programs such as a neighborhood conference committee and a youth curfew program.

The community was awarded $900,000 over 18 months to implement these programs. Similar programs were planned for the other 10 communities involved in the Community Youth Development Project. The potential for additional funding will be decided by the next session of the Texas Legislature in January 1997.