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J Subst Abuse Treat. 2014 Feb;46(2):134-43. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2013.06.012. Epub 2013 Aug 16.

RCT of a promising vocational/employment program for high-risk juvenile offenders.

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Family Services Research Center, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC 29407, USA.


Juvenile offenders with substance use problems are at high risk for deleterious long-term outcomes. This study evaluated the capacity of a promising vocational and employment training program in the building sector (i.e., Community Restitution Apprenticeship-Focused Training, CRAFT) to mitigate such outcomes through enhanced employment and education. Participants were 97 high-risk juvenile offenders (mean age=15.8 years) randomized to CRAFT versus education as usual (EAU) intervention conditions. Multi-method procedures measured employment, education, substance use, mental health, and criminal outcomes through a 30-month post-baseline follow-up. CRAFT was significantly more effective than EAU at increasing rates of youth employment and GED attendance. Intervention effects were not observed, however, for months employed, hours worked, or hourly wage. Measures of youth substance use, mental health symptoms, and criminal activity showed no favorable or iatrogenic effects. The potential of CRAFT was modestly supported, and suggestions were made for future research.


Employment; Juvenile offenders; Substance abuse; Vocational training

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