Leadership and Resiliency Program (LRP) - Crime Prevention in Action

Table of Contents

Public Safety Canada has a mandate to develop and disseminate knowledge of effective crime prevention programs to help decision makers and practitioners across the country make the best use of their crime prevention resources. In order to achieve this mandate, Public Safety Canada seeks to provide practical answers to three key questions: what works (with whom and in what circumstances), at what cost, and how. Identifying what works is achieved through selectively evaluating crime prevention projects. Establishing the costs and cost-benefits is done through cost-benefit analyses. And understanding how project work is done through collecting and analyzing qualitative information from all organizations Public Safety Canada supports to implement interventions.

This Crime Prevention in Action publication provides information on the Leadership and Resiliency Program (LRP) and the LRP projects Public Safety Canada is supporting in locations across Canada. It addresses implementation issues to be considered by those interested in implementing the LRP such as: when is the LRP appropriate for a community? What are some key characteristics of organizations most suited to implementing the LRP? How are participants successfully recruited? And what are the key partnerships that will foster the success of the LRP?

What is Evidence-Based Crime Prevention?

Chronic offenders do not appear suddenly in the criminal justice system. They have a history and pathway that can often be traced back to various identifiable risk factors in their lives, as well as missed opportunities to change these pathways. Studies, conducted in various countries, demonstrate that pathways to chronic offending can be traced back to ages 7 to 8, when young persons, especially boys, begin demonstrating risk factors associated with crime. These factors have been well documented both internationally and in Canada and include, for example, early aggressiveness, poor peer relations and early substance use.

Pathways to a life of crime are not inevitable. Many of the risk factors can be changed if focused interventions are delivered to the right persons at opportune points in their lives. When opportunities to intervene are missed, the costs and difficulties of responding effectively increase.

Evidence-based crime prevention rests on intervention principles and methods established through research to address risk factors known to be associated with offending behaviour among those who are at risk. Implementing this approach can result in reductions over time in offending and victimization and their associated costs, and increased community safety.

What is LRP?

The Leadership and Resiliency Program (LRP) is a school- and community-based program for students 14 to 19 years of age that enhances youths' internal strengths and resiliency while preventing involvement in substance use and violence.

Based on a clinical prevention strategy designed to identify and enhance internal strengths and support the building of positive attitudes, the LRP is designed to:

A licence from the LRP developer, Fairfax-Falls Church Community Service Board in Virginia, USA, is required to implement LRP and training, manuals and ongoing technical assistance is provided for implementation. Information on licensing, training and technical assistance is available from the developer's web site.

The LRP is primarily designed for males and females aged 14 to 19 years. The program has been found to be effective with participants of diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Some of the sites in Canada are providing the program to younger age groups and evaluating this to learn how LRP can work for other age groups.

LRP requires partnerships between schools, substance abuse and others in the community who work with youth and their families.

LRP - The Evidence

Information on the results of research related to LRP can be found through the developer of the program, Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board. The program has demonstrated reductions in school suspensions and juvenile arrests and increases in school attendance and high school graduation rates. Footnote 1

Further evaluation is underway among the projects supported by Public Safety Canada to assess the impact the program has in a variety of Canadian settings. Information on the results of this evaluation work will be available early in 2014.

Public Safety Canada funded LRP Projects

Public Safety Canada has supported seven LRP pilot projects across Canada. The table below provides information on the location and projects being implemented.

Sponsoring Organization Project Location # of sites Duration
South Slave Divisional Education Council Hay River, NWT 1 Sept 2009 -
June 2014
Tl'oondih Healing Society Fort McPherson, Aklavik and N'dilo, NWT 3 Nov 2009 -
Oct 2014
Yellowknife Catholic Schools (YCS) Yellowknife, NWT 3 Sept 2009 -
June 2015
Hamlet of Arviat (John Arnalukjuak High School)
Telephone: 1-867-857-4223, Ext 5
Arviat, Nunavut 1 May 2011 -
July 2016
The Secwepemc Cultural Education Society Kamloops, BC 3 Sept 2009 -
Sept 2014
The SPEC Association for Children and Families Brooks, Alberta 6 Nov 2009 -
Nov 2012
Centre des jeunes l'Escale de Montréal-Nord Montréal North, Québec 1 Jan 2011 -
Sept 2014

LRP - The Elements

LRP programming has three required components:

Each component complements the others, and all are considered integral to providing a comprehensive program.

Underlying each component is a focus on building leadership and problem-solving skills among the participants while encouraging the development of peer refusal skills, risk management, goal orientation, future-oriented thinking, optimism, empathy, internal locus of control, and conflict management.

The start-up period for the program is generally four months and includes hiring and training staff, establishing agreements and partnerships with schools, business, and off-site programming.

A comprehensive manual is provided with the LRP licence and includes suggestions for activities, sample forms and releases, required supplies and implementation tips.

This day we learned how to catch fish. It was -50° on the open lake. It was difficult to catch the fish. Life is complicated like that too. You have to help and get help from others. If you don't, you can fail. It's like you can make mistakes in your life, people will be ok with it. If you are strong you can get up, learn from it and try again.

Is LRP the appropriate program for your Community?

Public Safety Canada recommends a thorough analysis of the local situation in any given community prior to deciding what crime prevention program to implement.Footnote 2

A portrait of the local situation provides a clear overview of the population, emerging risk behaviours or problem situations, risk factors and the context in which they occur. This assessment increases the understanding of what influences people to adopt risky behaviours and how to best support the building of resiliency. The portrait also includes an inventory of organizations, resources and programs in the community. When the issues and ideas are discussed by community members and service providers, strong partnerships are built.

Based on what is learned, the crime prevention programs that are the best fit with the people and behaviours of concern and with the strengths of the community can be identified. For example, if the analysis of the community determines that substance use and violence among youth are troubling and that there are gaps in terms of services available for those youth and their families, the LRP program might be worth further investigation.

The LRP has been delivered in rural, urban and suburban settings. In consultation with the developer, funders and evaluators, LRP activities can be tailored for different community contexts and many of the Canadian LRPs have incorporated strong Aboriginal cultural context.

LRP is a good fit for our community because of the cultural sensitivity and flexibility it allows. For example, it is very natural to involve elders and incorporate the tradition of sharing circles.

Brooks, Alberta is a very culturally diverse community with a population of approximately 13,000 coming from all over the world. Language barriers, different cultural beliefs and economic and social struggles make it difficult for families and the community. For youth, it can be particularly difficult to navigate in a new world. LRP was selected because it provided concrete ways to address these challenges. Through the program, youth work in groups with representatives from different backgrounds and interests. This challenges the youth and gives them tools to re-think the stereotypes and figure out how to work with a variety of people. Through community service activities, youth get to know the people and organizations that make up Brooks and as a result, they are more interested in making positive changes in the community and grow to understand the importance of community.

What types of organizations are best suited to implementing LRP?

While LRP is most often delivered in schools, it is usually administered by a community organization in partnership with the schools. Organizations that have some experience delivering clinical programming and services for youth and are well connected in the community seem to be well-suited to implementing LRP.

Implementing LRP requires teams of staff who are involved in a variety of work such as assessments, facilitating groups and classroom activities, working one-on-one with participants and families, meeting with school staff, police, child welfare and other partners, record keeping, marketing and evaluation. Hiring the appropriate staff is critical to the success of the program. The most relevant combinations of education, experience and personality traits required vary depending on the team being created. Selecting a good complement of staff and providing training and support for them will make all the difference in the implementation and success of the program.

Volunteers are also an important part of LRP implementation and are often engaged in the out-of-school programming alongside the LRP staff.

Involving LRP participants

A robust youth referral and assessment process is crucial to the effectiveness of LRP projects. The process helps identify which children and families are most likely to benefit and succeed through participating in the project. Referrals come from a variety of sources that make sense for different community contexts and it is important that LRP staff establish strong relationships with referral sources. Schools, substance abuse agencies, along with police and other community partners can provide referrals.

The LRP program operates year round with increased alternative programming when school is not in session. The youth participate over the course of 5 to 12 months for each of the 2 to 4 years they are in the program.

Results are best when students enter the program early in their high school career and remain in the program until graduation. Some of the Canadian LRP sites accept participants at any time and others are stricter about when people can start in the program. In the Canadian projects, the intent is that the pre-LRP students enter the program at Grade 8 or earlier and will continue longer in the program.

An 18-year old high school student hit a really low point in his life when he got drunk one night, stole a car and got arrested. He was on probation when the LRP coordinator met him. The youth went through an intense healing process after building a strong relationship with the coordinator (with the help of LRP) and found working out as a great alternative to alcohol for relieving stress. He became an LRP mentor for the younger students and is a great role model for them. To meet him now you would never guess he had a rocky past.

Many of our youth have jobs and important family responsibilities and commitments that need to be understood and worked with in order to make their participation in LRP possible.

Engaging Partners

The LRP thrives in communities with strong partnerships amongst schools, community, health and mental health organizations as well as police, justice and corrections sectors. The issues faced by children and families are complex and often require the combined efforts of many service providers to find resolution.

It is important for organizations to demonstrate that their LRP is effective and efficient to increase the likelihood that it will be sustained in the longer term. Engaging partners and building sustainability are mutually reinforcing. Building and nurturing strong and relevant partnerships leads to higher levels of community engagement, and in turn, this increases the chances of success for shifting existing resources and investing new resources in ongoing support of the LRP.

Partnerships develop differently depending on their purposes. Sometimes partners are providing support by sharing information or awareness about each others' programs and services. On the other hand, sometimes partners are integral to each others' program and service delivery and concrete agreements need to be established to guide the ongoing partnership.

The charts below demonstrate the importance of partnerships in the delivery of LRP programs. They show the experience of the Public Safety Canada LRP projects with respect to the number of organizations in each sector partnered with and the types of contributions made.

Based on the partners identified by each sponsoring organization through their bi-annual performance monitoring reports, the following chart represents a compilation of all the partnerships for the projects, which is then categorized by partnership sector type.

For the Public Safety Canada LRP projects taken as a whole, 18% of all partnerships were with the government sector. This was followed closely by partnerships from the social or voluntary service sector at 16% and partnerships in the education and for-profit organization or business sectors both at 15%. In particular, relationships with private businesses are important in the LRP and are often integral to the adventure activity component of the projects. The remaining sectors taken together make up the final third and for these sectors, each one represents less than 10% of all partnerships in the LRP projects.

Percentage of Total Partnerships by Sector

This chart illustrates the percentages of total partnerships by sector reported by Public Safety Canada funded LRP projects.

*“Government” refers to partnerships with local/municipal governments, provincial/territorial governments and the federal government.
**“Other” refers to housing and employment organizations and “other” organizations - a fitness centre and a group of volunteers.

Long Description

This chart illustrates the percentages of total partnerships by sector reported by Public Safety Canada funded LRP projects: Education is 15%, Police is 5%, Corrections is 1%, Health/Mental Health is 2%, Government is 18%, Community, Social or Voluntary Service is 16%, Community Coalition or Network is 6%, Aboriginal Agency or Organization is 8%, Service Club / Professional Association is 1%, For Profit Organization / Business is 15%, Arts and Culture is 4% and Other is 1%.

Percentage of Total Contributions by Type

Based on the type of contributions made by partners, along with information identified by each sponsoring organization in their bi-annual performance reports, the following chart represents a compilation of all the individual partner contributions for the projects categorized by contribution type, which is then separated by partnership sector.

For the criminal justice, government, community-based organizations or services and the Aboriginal agencies or organizations sectors, between 30% and 40% of partners contributed by providing staff to deliver some of the project activities and/or training support to the LRP. For the health/mental health sector, one third of the partners provided staff to deliver some of the project activities and/or training support while another third provided in-kind contributions to the LRP. Finally, for the education sector, 40% of the partners provided in-kind contributions while 40% of the for-profit or business organizations provided other contributions to the LRP—this consisted primarily of providing program participants with service learning and volunteer opportunities as well as other hands-on experiences.

Percentage of Total Contributions by Type

This chart illustrates the percentages of total partnerships by sector reported by Public Safety Canada funded LST projects.

*“Criminal Justice” refers to partnerships with the police and corrections sectors.
**“Community-Based” Organizations or Services' refers to partnerships with community, social or volunteer services; community coalitions or networks; service clubs; professional associations; and “other” organizations.

Long Description

This chart illustrates the percentages of total contributions by type reported by Public Safety Canada funded LRP projects:

Education Sector:
Make Referrals: 7%
Accept Referrals: 7%
Provide Staff/Training: 24%
In-Kind: 39%
Financial: 2%
Advisory/Steering Committee: 2%
Other: 17%

Criminal Justice Sector:
Make Referrals: 15%
Provide Staff/Training: 38%
In-Kind: 8%
Advisory/Steering Committee: 8%
Other: 31%

Health/Mental Health Sector:
Accept Referrals: 22%
Provide Staff/Training: 33%
In-Kind: 33%
Other: 11%

Government Sector:
Accept Referrals: 3%
Provide Staff/Training: 29%
In-Kind: 23%
Financial: 20%
Other: 20%

Community-Based Organizations or Services:
Make Referrals: 5%
Accept Referrals: 16%
Provide Staff/Training: 29%
In-Kind: 31%
Financial: 1%
Advisory/Steering Committee: 1%
Other: 19%

Aboriginal Agencies or Organizations:
Accept Referrals: 9%
Provide Staff/Training: 39%
In-Kind: 30%
Other: 22%

For-Profit or Business Organizations:
Accept Referrals: 7%
Provide Staff/Training: 15%
In-Kind: 26%
Financial: 11%
Other: 41%

Through our partnership building, many organizations in the community are aware of the LRP groups and their interest in community service. We no longer struggle to find community service projects and instead, get a variety of invitations to assist.

Conclusion

LRP offers a promising crime prevention approach because it adapts to a wide variety of communities. The level of training and technical support available for the implementation of LRP is also a strength for the program. LRP is demonstrating positive results in helping reduce problem behaviours that are risk factors for criminal involvement.

As more information becomes available from the LRP projects Public Safety Canada is supporting, it will be shared with practitioners, policy makers and other decision-makers to help determine the best use of crime prevention resources.

Program Development Contact Information:

Director, Prevention Services
Alcohol and Drug Services
Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board
3900 Jermantown Road, Suite 200
Fairfax, VA  22030
Phone: 703-934-5476
E-mail: Laura.yager@fairfaxcounty.gov

Interested in knowing more about LRP and other crime prevention approaches?

To find out more about LRP and other crime prevention approaches:

Have a look at the Fairfax-Falls Website.

Have a look at the Public Safety Canada Website in the crime prevention pages for more information on LRP and other model and promising crime prevention programs.

Contact the organizations Public Safety Canada is supporting to implement the LRP and talk with them about their experiences.

End Notes

1  Promising and Model Crime Prevention Programs - Vol I, 2008

2 Guide to Select Model and Promising Crime Prevention Programs

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