2022 Grants Challenge

Get It Straight (GIS)

Get it Straight (GIS) is a diversion, delinquency-prevention program targeting high-risk youth, ages 11-17, and their families. HPAL, with support from LAPD, USC Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, and other partnering university social work graduates, provides case management, mental health, parent/youth training, and development services. GIS strengthens the family unit to help (1) kids stay in school, out of the juvenile justice system, and on the right track, and (2) parents become better advocates and support systems for their families.


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

Community Safety

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

Central LA

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Applying a proven model or solution to a new issue or sector (e.g., using a job recruiting software or strategy to match clients to supportive housing sites, applying demonstrated strategies from advocating for college affordability to advocating for housing affordability and homelessness, etc.)

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

Get It Straight (GIS) was created in 2002 in Boyle Heights to address (1) local youths’ increased involvement in gang and criminal activity with possible incarceration; low-performing schools, high poverty, and the negative impact these issues have on social/emotional development, quality of life, and familial relations, and (2) disparities in mental health, group therapy, and case management services. These youth and families face trauma/violence and, historically, have limited access to services, low service utilization, and poorer outcomes (White Memorial Med. Center 2015). Of LAPD’s 21 geographic areas, the Hollenbeck (Boyle Heights) Area stands out for its population density, number of gangs/gang members, truancy and/or dropout rates, and academic underachievement. Although changes have been implemented, a Gang Territory map/report indicates that Boyle Heights is home to 23 of the 32 gangs located in the Hollenbeck Area (Gang Report, LAPD Detective, Larry Oliande).

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

Since 2002, with support from LAPD Hollenbeck, LAUSD schools, parents, and USC (since 2016), HPAL has delivered GIS. This evidence-based Diversion, Delinquency-Prevention Prog. focuses on 1) reducing number of at-risk youth of color, 11-17, from arrest/placement in juvenile system, 2) helping youth's social/emotional/academic progress, 3) helping parents become better advocates for their kids, and 4) Building the Bond between cops/GIS students/families. Offering 4, 12-week sessions annually, GIS consists of 5 components: 1) Intake/Assessment: Identify clients' needs/risks/protective factors; 2) Behavioral Case Management (introduced 2009): identifies issues unique to vulnerable youth/families. Case mgrs. conduct pre-intervention risk/in-home assessments, individual/family para-professional counseling, monthly/6-month assessments, referrals; 3) Mental Health Serv.: MSW interns provide culturally-sensitive, individual counseling/coaching to help GIS participants in areas, including personal, social, emotional development, family/peer relationships, and family counseling/coaching; 4) Delinquency Prevention Training: Parents/children learn about costs and dangers of delinquency, gangs, substance abuse, truancy, and academic failure. Communication exercises strengthen families' interaction, allowing parents/youth to address root of delinquent behavior; and 5) 4, 10-week, Parent Skills Training provides parents tools to better deal with risky behavior and support their children.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

Over 12 months, 80 students/70 parents will participate in 4, 12-week GIS sessions: 1) Intake/Youth & Family Assessment, (2) Behavioral Case Management, (3) 12-week GIS Prevention Training for Students/Parents - combats glorification of crime, drugs, and gangs using interactive modalities providing a compelling experience of devastating consequences of delinquency and issues confronting youth/parents, and (4) 10-week Parent Training Project course. A successful GIS Program will: (1) Break the cycle of juvenile delinquency, help students achieve personal/social/academic development, (2) Equip parents with tools to be confident, strong, knowledgeable advocates to support their children, (3) Increase students’ knowledge and awareness of appropriate/expected school behavior, their environment, and community safety so that they can make the right choices, and (4) Create trusting bonds between students, parents, officers, and community. We hope to expand GIS to other LAPD Divisions.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

To measure knowledge gained, improved communication, and attitudinal/behavioral changes, and allow feedback on presented topics, GIS Case Managers implement pre-and post-evaluation surveys for each component including 12-week Parent/Youth, and 10-week Parenting Training. Due to COVID, 2019 (Pre-COVID) GIS outcomes are more representative of expectations in next 12 months. In 2019, GIS served 96 youth/89 parents. Participants reported increased knowledge on impact of incarceration, drugs, gangs, and other harmful activities. Of 96 youth: 71% transitioned from delinquent activity and improved attitudes/behaviors; 51% improved communication skills with parents and were more inclined to work to improve family issues; 73% increased self-confidence/self-esteem; 71% committed to regularly attend school; and 60% showed academic progress. Of 89 parents and/or guardians, 81% increased self-confidence in parenting skills, improved communication with their children, and became better parents.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 150

Indirect Impact: 400