Multidisciplinary Team Program

Intervention; Ages 10–17


(Read the criteria for this rating)
  • Promising gang program


The Multidisciplinary Team Program consists of five teams located throughout San Bernardino County, California. Each team has a probation officer, a public health nurse, a licensed clinical therapist, a social services practitioner, volunteers, and others as dictated by client need. The teams implement a case management protocol in which high-risk juvenile probationers are diagnosed through the use of a risk assessment instrument that examines the juvenile’s social functioning, which includes factors such as crime at an early age, disrupted families, school failure, drug and alcohol abuse, and association with other delinquent youths. The team then provides direct service and service referrals relevant to each team member’s professional experience. Interventions include restitution, community services, counseling, and group therapy.

The treatment plan is developed by concentrating on specific problems, possible solutions, strengths of the juvenile and the family, and goals to be met during the treatment phase. The program targets first-time offenders 17 or younger who are at risk for becoming involved in serious crime, including gang activity. The treatment framework is a wraparound or case management modality that is designed to holistically diagnose a juvenile’s problems and then provide intensive treatment to the juvenile and his or her family.

Research on the Multidisciplinary Team Program is based on a larger study that randomly designated juveniles into a treatment group or a control group. The purpose of this study was to compare the outcomes of gang-affiliated juveniles and nongang juveniles who both participated in the Multidisciplinary Team Program. The sample included 145 juveniles identified as gang members and 137 nongang members. More than 70 percent of the juveniles in the gang member group were Hispanic. Nearly half of the juveniles in the nongang group were white. The data was collected from various sources: interviews with the juvenile, interviews with family members, the San Bernardino County Probation Department, and school officials. Six months after participating in the Multidisciplinary Team Program, regardless of involvement in or identification with gang activities, the participating juveniles had benefited from the program. Gang and nongang members both revealed significant improvements in such school factors as increased grade-point average, lower number of classes missed, and reduced number of suspensions. Both groups also reported improvements in family functioning and decreases in alcohol and substance abuse (even though juveniles in the gang group reported more problems than the nongang at both the pretest and posttest). Finally, improvements were observed in subsequent delinquent activity for both gang and nongang members.

Risk Factors

Antisocial/delinquent beliefs
Conduct disorders (authority conflict/rebellious/stubborn/disruptive/antisocial)
Early dating/sexual activity/fatherhood
Early onset of aggression/violence
Exposure to firearm violence
Few social ties (involved in social activities, popularity)
General delinquency involvement
High alcohol/drug use
Lack of guilt and empathy
Life stressors
Low perceived likelihood of being caught
Makes excuses for delinquent behavior (neutralization)
Mental health problems
Physical violence/aggression
Poor refusal skills
Victim of child maltreatment
Victimization and exposure to violence
Violent victimization
Abusive parents
Antisocial parents
Broken home/changes in caretaker
Delinquent siblings
Family history of problem behavior/criminal involvement
Family poverty/low family socioeconomic status
Family violence (child maltreatment, partner violence, conflict)
Having a teenage mother
High parental stress/maternal depression
Lack of orderly and structured activities within the family
Low parental attachment to child/adolescent
Low parental education
Parent proviolent attitudes
Parental use of physical punishment/harsh and/or erratic discipline practices
Poor parental supervision (control, monitoring, and child management)
Poor parent-child relations or communication
Sibling antisocial behavior
Unhappy parents
Frequent school transitions
Frequent truancy/absences/suspensions; expelled from school; dropping out of school
Identified as learning disabled
Low academic aspirations
Low achievement in school
Low math achievement test scores (males)
Low parent college expectations for child
Low school attachment/bonding/motivation/commitment to school
Non-normative school transitions (i.e., changes due to residential moves or mid-year transfers)
Old for grade/repeated a grade
Poor school attitude/performance; academic failure
Poor student-teacher relations
Poorly defined rules and expectations for appropriate conduct
Availability and use of drugs in the neighborhood
Availability of firearms
Community disorganization
Economic deprivation/poverty/residence in a disadvantaged neighborhood
Feeling unsafe in the neighborhood
High-crime neighborhood
Low neighborhood attachment
Neighborhood youth in trouble
Association with antisocial/aggressive/delinquent peers; high peer delinquency
Association with gang-involved peers/relatives
Gang membership
Peer alcohol/drug use
Peer rejection


National Gang Center and OJJDP Model Programs Guide: Promising program


Pamela J. Schram, Ph.D.
Department of Criminal Justice
California State University—San Bernardino
5500 University Parkway
San Bernardino, CA 92407-2397
Phone: (909) 537-5255


Schram, P. J., and Gaines, L. K. (2005). “Examining Delinquent Nongang Members and Delinquent Gang Members: A Comparison of Juvenile Probationers at Intake and Outcomes.” Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, 3(2):99–115.

Schram, P.J., & Gaines, L.K. (in press). Comparing the effects of treatment on female juvenile gang and non-gang members. Women & Criminal Justice, 18, 1-15.

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