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Intervention Summary

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AMIkids Personal Growth Model

The AMIkids Personal Growth Model (PGM) is a comprehensive approach to treatment for 10- to 17-year-old youth who have been adjudicated and, in lieu of incarceration, assigned to a day treatment program, residential treatment setting, or alternative school or who have been assigned to an alternative school after failing in a conventional school setting. The AMIkids PGM, which is intended for use over 6-8 months, is designed to target and reduce the risk factors that sustain delinquent behavior and academic failure, reduce recidivism, improve program completion rates, and promote academic achievement.

Before services are provided through the AMIkids PGM, the risks, needs, and motivation to change of the youth and his or her family are assessed. On the basis of these assessed needs, an appropriate treatment plan is developed, which combines the following components:

  • Education. The education component uses three primary methods to enhance learning: experiential education, project-based learning, and service learning. Participants attend classes in an academic setting, and teachers use a rigorous curriculum designed to address the participants' individualized needs and diverse learning styles. Teachers implementing this component must be certified and highly qualified on the basis of State, local, and AMIkids requirements.
  • Treatment. The treatment component is individualized on the basis of each participant's assessments, and research-based mental health and/or substance abuse interventions (e.g., cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational enhancement therapy, functional family therapy, motivational interviewing) are provided to participants, as well as their families. Participants receive group services on a daily basis, and individual and family sessions are provided on a schedule determined by the individualized treatment plan. Staff implementing this component must be licensed mental health professionals or therapists/counselors who are supervised by a licensed mental health professional.
  • Behavior modification. The behavior modification component is designed to develop or strengthen desired prosocial behaviors and eliminate or weaken antisocial behaviors through three techniques using positive reinforcement: a point card system, a token economy, and a rank system. Staff implementing this component must be designated AMIkids Behavior Modification professionals (i.e., those who have completed the AMIkids Behavior Modification System training).

In studies reviewed for this summary, the AMIkids PGM was implemented in day treatment programs, alternative schools, and juvenile justice programs.

Descriptive Information

Areas of Interest Mental health promotion
Substance abuse prevention
Outcomes Review Date: December 2011
1: Recidivism
2: Academic achievement
Outcome Categories Crime/delinquency
Education
Ages 6-12 (Childhood)
13-17 (Adolescent)
Genders Male
Female
Races/Ethnicities Black or African American
Hispanic or Latino
Race/ethnicity unspecified
Settings Residential
Home
School
Other community settings
Geographic Locations Urban
Suburban
Rural and/or frontier
Implementation History Since 1969, AMIkids has partnered with communities to establish local programs, each with a community-based board of trustees; these programs have helped more than 100,000 at-risk and delinquent youth. AMIkids PGM is used at 57 program sites across Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia, which serve approximately 500 youth annually through alternative schools, 3,500 youth through day treatment programs, and 2,700 youth through residential facilities.
NIH Funding/CER Studies Partially/fully funded by National Institutes of Health: No
Evaluated in comparative effectiveness research studies: Yes
Adaptations No population- or culture-specific adaptations of the intervention were identified by the developer.
Adverse Effects No adverse effects, concerns, or unintended consequences were identified by the developer.
IOM Prevention Categories Selective
Indicated

Quality of Research
Review Date: December 2011

Documents Reviewed

The documents below were reviewed for Quality of Research. The research point of contact can provide information regarding the studies reviewed and the availability of additional materials, including those from more recent studies that may have been conducted.

Study 1

Early, K. W., Hand, G. A., Blankenship, J. L., & Chapman, S. F. (2011). Experiential community-based interventions for delinquent youth: An evaluation of recidivism and cost-effectiveness. Unpublished manuscript.

Study 2

Early, K. W., Blankenship, J. L., & Hand, G. A. (2011, June). Evaluation of AMIkids alternative school and juvenile justice program educational outcomes: An examination of pre/post test academic change. Tallahassee, FL: Justice Research Center.

Supplementary Materials

2010 AMIkids Outputs and Outcomes Report

AMIkids Behavior Modification Fidelity and Integrity Workbook

AMIkids Personal Growth Model Evaluation Manual

AMIkids Personal Growth Model Fidelity Indicators

Outcomes

Outcome 1: Recidivism
Description of Measures Recidivism was assessed on the basis of the following factors:

  • Readjudication/reconviction, defined as any subsequent offense that occurred within 1 year of the completion of program services and that resulted in either a juvenile adjudication or adult conviction
  • Rearrest, defined as an arrest for any subsequent offense, whether adjudicated, convicted, or not, that occurred within 1 year of the completion of program services
  • Felony rearrest, defined as an arrest for any subsequent felony offense (as defined statutorily by the State), whether adjudicated, convicted, or not, that occurred within 1 year of the completion of program services
  • Felony readjudication/reconviction, defined as any subsequent felony offense (as defined statutorily by the State) that occurred within 1 year of the completion of program services and that resulted in either a juvenile adjudication or adult conviction
  • Recommitment, adult probation, or prison incarceration, defined as any subsequent offense that occurred within 1 year of the completion of program services and that resulted in either a juvenile adjudication or adult conviction where the juvenile was sentenced to a juvenile commitment facility, adult probation, or an adult prison
These factors were determined from juvenile outcomes calculated for the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (FDJJ) Comprehensive Accountability Report, which contains data extracted from the following sources:

  • The Juvenile Justice Information System of FDJJ, which contains all statewide official delinquency records for the youth of the State
  • The Criminal Justice Information Services repository of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which contains all statewide official arrest records for adults charged with felonies and for those juveniles charged with felonies who have been direct filed, waived, or transferred to the adult system for the State
  • The Offender Based Information System of the Florida Department of Corrections, which contains all statewide official corrections records for adults and for those juveniles who have been direct filed, waived, or transferred to the adult system for the State
Key Findings Youth who completed AMIkids PGM in a day treatment program were compared with a matched sample of youth who completed non-AMIkids PGM secure residential programming. Results indicated that relative to youth who completed residential programming, those who completed AMIkids PGM had lower rates of the following factors:

  • Readjudication/reconviction (38% for AMIkids PGM vs. 43% for non-AMIkids PGM residential programming; p = .01)
  • Rearrest (54% for AMIkids PGM vs. 59% for non-AMIkids PGM residential programming; p = .02)
  • Felony rearrest (30% for AMIkids PGM vs. 42% for non-AMIkids PGM residential programming; p < .01)
  • Felony readjudication/reconviction (30% for AMIkids PGM vs. 42% for non-AMIkids PGM residential programming; p < .01)
  • Recommitment, adult probation, or prison incarceration (23% for AMIkids PGM vs. 29% for non-AMIkids PGM residential programming; p < .01)
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1
Study Designs Quasi-experimental
Quality of Research Rating 3.3 (0.0-4.0 scale)
Outcome 2: Academic achievement
Description of Measures Academic achievement was assessed using the following measures:

  • The Basic Achievement Skills Inventory (BASI), a norm-referenced achievement test that includes Math Computation, Math Application, Reading Comprehension, Vocabulary, Spelling, and Language Mechanics subtests. Trained staff administered the BASI on a computer to participants over approximately 2 hours and acted as proctors to ensure completion of the assessment in accordance with the developer's guidelines. Growth scale value (GSV) scores were calculated for each subtest and used to indicate academic achievement.
  • The Brief Battery Assessment (BBA) and the Mini-Battery of Achievement (MBA), instruments that assess academic achievement through Reading, Writing, and Math subscales. Both instruments are designed for use with children and adults and require approximately 5-10 minutes to administer. Staff administered the BBA (also referred to as the Woodcock-Johnson III Normative Update Brief Battery) and the MBA, which was used until a transition was made to the BBA. Scoring was based on grade level equivalents (GEs).
Key Findings A study examined academic achievement of youth receiving AMIkids PGM in an alternative school or juvenile justice setting. Participants were assessed at pre- and posttest with the BASI (youth who received AMIkids PGM in Florida) or the MBA or BBA (youth who received AMIkids PGM in Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina, or Virginia). Results were calculated for those participants who completed both pre- and posttests.

Youth who received AMIkids PGM in Florida had improvements in academic achievement from pre- to posttest, as indicated by the following results (presented in order of greatest improvement):

  • For the Reading Comprehension subtest, average GSV scores increased by a factor of 2.52 (p < .001).
  • For the Spelling subtest, average GSV scores increased by a factor of 1.98 (p < .001).
  • For the Math Computation subtest, average GSV scores increased by a factor of 1.55 (p < .001).
  • For the Vocabulary subtest, average GSV scores increased by a factor of 1.52 (p < .001).
  • For the Math Application subtest, average GSV scores increased by a factor of 1.51 (p < .001).
  • For the Language Mechanics subtest, average GSV scores increased by a factor of 1.51 (p < .001).
Youth who received AMIkids PGM in States other than Florida had improvements in academic achievement from pre- to posttest, as indicated by the following results (presented in order of greatest improvement):

  • For the Reading subscale, the average increase in GE was 1.60 for the BBA (p < .001) and 1.37 for the MBA (p < .001).
  • For the Math subscale, the average increase in GE was 1.61 for the BBA (p < .001) and 1.16 for the MBA (p < .001).
  • For the Writing subscale, the average increase in GE was 1.54 for the BBA (p < .001) and 1.01 for the MBA (p < .001).
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 2
Study Designs Preexperimental
Quality of Research Rating 3.1 (0.0-4.0 scale)

Study Populations

The following populations were identified in the studies reviewed for Quality of Research.

Study Age Gender Race/Ethnicity
Study 1 13-17 (Adolescent) 84% Male
16% Female
52% Black or African American
37% Race/ethnicity unspecified
11% Hispanic or Latino
Study 2 6-12 (Childhood)
13-17 (Adolescent)
Data not reported/available Data not reported/available

Quality of Research Ratings by Criteria (0.0-4.0 scale)

External reviewers independently evaluate the Quality of Research for an intervention's reported results using six criteria:

  1. Reliability of measures
  2. Validity of measures
  3. Intervention fidelity
  4. Missing data and attrition
  5. Potential confounding variables
  6. Appropriateness of analysis

For more information about these criteria and the meaning of the ratings, see Quality of Research.

Outcome Reliability
of Measures
Validity
of Measures
Fidelity Missing
Data/Attrition
Confounding
Variables
Data
Analysis
Overall
Rating
1: Recidivism 3.3 3.3 2.8 4.0 3.8 2.8 3.3
2: Academic achievement 3.8 3.8 2.8 2.8 2.8 3.0 3.1

Study Strengths

The studies used standardized measures that had strong, well-documented reliability and validity. In one study, data were collected and verified from several State agencies (i.e., records of law enforcement, department of corrections, and juvenile justice), and there were no known missing records for participants. Matching the intervention and comparison groups on several variables at baseline controlled for potential confounding variables in one study. Both studies had large sample sizes.

Study Weaknesses

Neither study showed evidence (i.e., reporting of data) of acceptable fidelity for adherence to intervention guidelines. There is no indication that study protocols were used. In one study, participants without pre- and posttest data were not discussed, and participants with and without pre- and posttest data were not compared. Data analysis did not adequately account for variance, thereby limiting confidence in both studies' results not having type I errors (i.e., false-positive results).

Readiness for Dissemination
Review Date: December 2011

Materials Reviewed

The materials below were reviewed for Readiness for Dissemination. The implementation point of contact can provide information regarding implementation of the intervention and the availability of additional, updated, or new materials.

AMIkids. (2006). Program excellence programming. Tampa, FL: Author.

AMIkids. (2009). Personal Growth Model: A unified approach to behavior modification, education and treatment [Training handouts]. Tampa, FL: Author.

AMIkids. (2009). Personal Growth Model: Service philosophy manual. Tampa, FL: Author.

AMIkids. (2010). Common issues with administering behavior modification system in AMIkids. Tampa, FL: Author.

AMIkids. (2010). Personal Growth Model: Evaluation manual July 1, 2010-June 30, 2011. Tampa, FL: Author.

AMIkids. (2010). Personal Growth Model: Fidelity indicators July 1, 2010-June 30, 2011. Tampa, FL: Author.

AMIkids. (2011). Behavior modification operations manual. Tampa, FL: Author.

AMIkids. (2011). Behavior modification workbook #2: Implementing behavior modification with integrity and fidelity. Tampa, FL: Author.

AMIkids. (2011). Personal Growth Model: A unified approach to behavior modification, education and treatment. Tampa, FL: Author.

AMIkids. (2011). Utilizing behavior modification in AMIkids. Tampa, FL: Author.

Other program materials:

  • AMIkids Philosophy of Education
  • Day Treatment Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services
  • Program Excellence Plan
  • Program Excellence Plan (PEP) Guidelines

Program Web site, http://www.amikids.org/

Training Web site, https://moodle.amikids.org/login

Readiness for Dissemination Ratings by Criteria (0.0-4.0 scale)

External reviewers independently evaluate the intervention's Readiness for Dissemination using three criteria:

  1. Availability of implementation materials
  2. Availability of training and support resources
  3. Availability of quality assurance procedures

For more information about these criteria and the meaning of the ratings, see Readiness for Dissemination.

Implementation
Materials
Training and Support
Resources
Quality Assurance
Procedures
Overall
Rating
3.0 3.3 3.3 3.2

Dissemination Strengths

The program materials are comprehensive and well written, and they cover all aspects of the intervention, from theory to practice. Practical solutions, based on years of experience in implementing the program at a variety of sites, are shared for potential implementation barriers. The program's training is highly structured and includes modules with quizzes to test the user's understanding of the content. Within the training materials, program-specific terms are reviewed to ensure their consistent use in implementation. Timetables and expectations for reporting quality assurance data to the developer are clearly addressed. Several manuals and tools are provided to aid new implementers in the development of a plan to monitor implementation fidelity. The program developer completes annual fidelity checks at all implementation sites, and designated regional directors are responsible for ensuring quality assurance.

Dissemination Weaknesses

The administrative, programmatic, and fiscal relationships between the program developer and the licensed implementation sites are not clearly outlined in the program materials. Some implementation materials are not well organized for ease of use. It is unclear how new implementers learn about training events or requirements. Substantial amounts of staff time are needed for quality assurance reporting requirements.

Costs

The cost information below was provided by the developer. Although this cost information may have been updated by the developer since the time of review, it may not reflect the current costs or availability of items (including newly developed or discontinued items). The implementation point of contact can provide current information and discuss implementation requirements.

Item Description Cost Required by Developer
Annual licensing fee $5,000 per site Yes
5-day, on-site implementation training (includes all implementation materials, Behavior Modification System training, and pretraining readiness assessment) $20,000 per site for up to 10 individuals, plus travel expenses Yes
Annual on-site booster training $7,000 per site, plus travel expenses Yes, each year after implementation training
First-year, on-site follow-up consulting and videoconferencing (2 days per site per quarter) $8,000 per site, plus travel expenses Yes
Subsequent follow-up consulting and videoconferencing $200 per hour No
Fidelity evaluation tools, annual on-site assessment, and data collection $8,000 per site, plus travel expenses Yes
Monthly and annual analytical reports $6,000 per site Yes
Replications

No replications were identified by the developer.

Contact Information

To learn more about implementation, contact:
Judy Estren, J.D.
(813) 887-3300
jle@amikids.org

To learn more about research, contact:
Kristin Winokur Early, Ph.D.
(850) 521-9900
kearly@thejrc.com

Consider these Questions to Ask (PDF, 54KB) as you explore the possible use of this intervention.

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