Best Practices

Ages 12–17


  • Provide family-strengthening/effectiveness training to improve parenting skills, build life skills in youth, and strengthen family bonds.
  • Promote emotional and social competencies in elementary school-age children, while simultaneously enhancing the educational process in the classroom.
  • Increase prosocial peer bonds, and strengthen students’ attachment and commitment to schools.
  • Increase teachers’ classroom management, interactive teaching, and cooperative learning skills.
  • Develop gender-specific programs.
  • Improve parents’ involvement in and support for their children’s academic progress.
  • Steer at-risk youth from delinquent peers to prosocial groups and provide positive peer modeling.
  • Engage community groups, individuals, and institutions to respond to the multiple needs of youth and their families through case management for the highest-risk youth and their families; provide an array of services, after-school activities, and community activities to strengthen families.
  • Mobilize community leaders and Boys & Girls Club staff to recruit at-risk and gang-involved youth into club programs in a nonstigmatizing way through direct outreach efforts to discuss local gang issues, and design a strategy to offer youth alternatives to the gang lifestyle.
  • Educate youth to modify their perception that gang membership is beneficial.
  • Involve grassroots organizations in the creation of violence-free zones.
  • Provide social support for disadvantaged and at-risk youth from helping teachers, responsible adults, parents, and peers.
  • Provide after-school programs.


  • Build a comprehensive framework for the integration of child and adolescent services programming that links the juvenile justice system with human service and other related agencies, including schools, child welfare services, mental health agencies, and social services.
  • Create an infrastructure consisting of client information exchange, cross-agency client referrals, a networking protocol, interagency councils, and service integration.
  • Target potential and current serious, violent, chronic gang-involved juvenile offenders for resource priority.
  • Provide case management by a particular agency for case conferencing and to coordinate services to offenders and the families of gang youth.
  • Provide mentoring of at-risk and gang youths, counseling, referral services, gang conflict mediation, and anti-gang programs at schools in the community.
  • Provide close supervision and monitoring of gang-involved youth by agencies of the juvenile/criminal justice system and also by community-based agencies, schools, and grassroots groups.
  • Provide intensive probation supervision linked with more structured behavioral and/or skill-building and multimodal interventions.
  • Provide direct placement and referral of youth for employment, training, education, and supervision.
  • Provide alternatives to gang involvement, including remedial and enriched educational programs for gang youths with academic problems and vocational and apprentice training.
  • Intervene with victims in the community or in hospital emergency rooms to break the cycle of violence.
  • Provide rehabilitation services in prisons and in youthful offender facilities.
  • Provide stepped-down control and support services for reentry of confined offenders by linking them with court-based services.


  • Form or modify existing gang units that perform four primary functions: intelligence, enforcement/suppression, investigations, and prevention activities; ensure that these functions are integrated with core policing units.
  • Sponsor Police Athletic Leagues that provide recreation and mentoring.
  • Serve as teachers in school-based educational programs, such as Gang Resistance Education And Training (G.R.E.A.T.), that, among other things, educate youth on the consequences of gang involvement.
  • Provide mentoring, grief counseling, referral for social services, gang conflict mediation, and case conferencing on individual youths for at-risk and gang-involved youths.
  • Conduct anti-gang programs in the community.
  • Provide community policing that enlists community support, shifts police focus from individual gangs and crimes to the neighborhoods, and recognizes the importance of strategies and tactics other than what the police can provide.
  • Simultaneously enforce curfew and truancy laws and regulations.
  • Develop a Comprehensive Gang Prevention, Intervention, and Suppression Strategy.
    1. Acknowledge the gang problem.
    2. Form an agreement among stakeholders to work together in addressing the gang problem.
    3. Set goals and objectives.
    4. Develop and integrate relevant services, strategies, and graduated sanctions.
    5. Form an Interagency Intervention Team that targets gang members for interagency services and sanctions and provides case management.
    6. Create a one-stop center that addresses gang involvement and general delinquency involvement with individual problem assessment, services, service referral, and recreational activities.
    7. Implement an evaluation of outcomes.
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