The Guaranteed Attendance Program (GAP) will assist youth in attending court ordered programs and provide a safe, structured and positive environment where youth are given opportunities to learn necessary skills to make positive changes.
The GAP program objectives include the following:
Provide a structured and closely supervised environment for youth.
Provide culturally competent and gender specific programming in social and life skills, character education, and general knowledge.
Provide clear expectations and consistency by working as a team with Probation Officers, Counseling Services, Detention, Alternative Programs, and the Court.
Provide support and encouragement for youth to make positive changes.
Provide accountability and redirection in order to reduce recidivism and live crime free lives.
Provide skill-building groups, which encourage positive behavior changes.
The Guaranteed Attendance Program (GAP) is a staff-secured shelter care facility that serves court ordered Marion County juveniles as an alternative to detention. GAP can accommodate up to 10 girls and 25 boys for a capacity of 30 youth at a time in two separate buildings. The program operates from 3:00 PM to 8:30 AM on weekdays and 24 hours on weekends and holidays. All youth placed in the GAP program have day programs elsewhere, including: public school, Marion County Alternative Programs (Matrix, Market, or Fuel), or jobs in the community. The youth return to GAP daily in the afternoon and spend the evening and night here.
GAP provides a safe, structured, fair and caring living environment where youth have opportunities to learn appropriate skills and make positive changes. During the evening hours and on weekends, youth participate in groups to learn skills to better handle peer and adult conflicts, along with life skills, character education, gender specific information, and basic housekeeping skills. Youth also participate in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy skill building groups. Each week youth also receive one hour each of individual counseling and one hour of individual skill building. They have daily recreation time and participate in community outings with staff supervision to places like the Boys and Girls Club, community parks, the Public Library, local Narcotic Anonymous meetings, various community events and multi-cultural activities.
The Guaranteed Attendance Program began in November 1995 as a way to address the need for an alternative to Detention where youth could be held accountable in a staff-secured setting, yet still attend their daily programs. At that time GAP served up to ten boys and in April of 2000 GAP moved to it's current location and expanded to serve up to 25 youth. In August of 2005 five more beds were added to meet the growing need for space for more boys, bringing the total to 30 beds. In the Spring of 2006 an additional building was secured and remodeled so the girls and boys could be housed in separate buildings and still maintain the current capacity of 30 youth. The waiting list for a spot in the program still averages between 15 and 25 youth at a time. Some youth come to GAP for a short-term consequence of up to seven nights for inappropriate behavior that may not warrant detention. Other youth are awaiting placements in residential treatment programs, or other alternate placements and may be in GAP for up to four months, and sometimes longer.
When youth first enter GAP they go through a one-week orientation process. During this time they do not receive phone contact, or home visits with their family. Youth copy the GAP Orientation Handbook and read about the Six Pillars of Character. Youth also attend the following orientation groups facilitated nightly by staff:
Introduction to CORE Mindfulness and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Skills
Diversity and Multi-Cultural Awareness
Personal Space and Privacy
After this initial week youth complete “Orientation” status and begin to participate with the other groups and activities.
Sixteen full time staff work in the GAP program as Group Workers. Staff supervise youth activities at all times, facilitate groups, and take youth into the community on outings, among other things. Three part-time counselors also work at GAP providing behavioral counseling. Each youth is assigned a GAP counselor whom they meet with one time a week. GAP also utilizes volunteers from the community who come into the program and share information with the youth.