“We can invest in our youth today or pay much more later.”
– Art Acevedo, Chief of Austin Police Department,CARY Board Member
A History of Successful Growth
In 1999, CARY began operating in the Austin ISD Alternative Learning Center, providing training in the prevention of delinquency and youth-violence to at-risk students. By 2015, CARY has expanded its presence to 13 AISD schools, providing PeaceRox at Bedichek, Burnet, Dobie, Garcia Young Mens Leadership Academy, Sadler Means Young Womens Leadership Academy, Webb, Paredes, and Martin middles schools; and Lanier, and LBJ high schools; and Hart and Barrington Elementary schools.
Working with Schools and Parents
In the 2013/14 school year, 13,000 AISD students received at least 25,000 disciplinary referrals. Of these students, CARY is serving 850 of the highest risk students in the disciplinary system.
Focus on Troubled Youth
CARY focuses exclusively on youth who have severe disciplinary issues, have been suspended, or placed in the disciplinary alternative education program (DAEP). The average age of a CARY student is 13, and many have emotional disabilities, limited English proficiency, drug abuse problems, and low academic performance. They mostly live in poverty (95%), are minorities (95%), and male (80%).
Making Early Interventions
School disciplinary acts are powerful predictors of future delinquency and criminality: over half of all students with at least one serious disciplinary referral are predicted to have one criminal court conviction by age 24, and 40% will have three criminal court convictions. CARY works with youth at a stage when intervention is most successful and the student’s school and learning experience can be turned around. (Ask us for copies of “Breaking Schools’ Rules,” a study from the Council on State Governments Justice Center and Texas A&M University Policy Institute.)
Students Tracker: 6 Month Post-Cary Evidenced-Based Program
CARY’s two-semester program uses PeaceRox, an evidence-based curriculum that teaches positive social skills, anger management, empathy, and character education. PeaceRox stems from Aggression Replacement Training, a program certified by the National Center for the Study and Prevention of Youth Violence and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. CARY’s programs also include individual behavioral counseling, parent-support groups, service-learning projects, and a higher-education scholarship fund for program graduates.
CARY’s staff members are primarily Masters-level personnel with social work, psychology, or special-education focus and 3 to 5 years of experience in mental health, special education, youth service, or correctional job settings.
Positive Program Evaluations
More than 10 years of internal evaluations and external studies by PhD researchers prove the effectiveness of CARY programs. Surveys with school administrators, counselors, and parents show significant improvements in student attitudes, behaviors, and school attendance. Data also show decreases in anti-social behaviors and statistically significant reductions in all administrative disciplinary actions and incidents of school violence at every level of severity.
Valuable Public Education
CARY conducts community public-education events with expert speakers on topics related to youth violence, juvenile delinquency, school bullying, and gang violence prevention. We have featured speakers such as Dr. James Fox, Dr. Debra Prothrow-Stith, Barbara Coloroso, Fr. Greg Boyle, Leonard Pitts, and Dr. James Garbarino.
Diverse Sources of Funding
CARY has received funding from City of Austin Health and Human Services, Travis County Justice and Public Safety, Austin ISD, and foundations such as Hogg, RGK, Allstate, Trull, Lola Wright, Meadows, and A Glimmer of Hope. CARY has received government grants from the Texas Governor’s Criminal Justice Division, the Community Gun Violence Prevention program of the Bureau of Justice Assistance, and the Drug-Free Schools program administered by the Texas Education Agency and Department of Education. CARY also receives numerous local donor contributions.
Jim Kester Memorial Scholarship Fund
Through the Jim Kester Memorial Scholarship Fund, CARY awards small grants to graduating seniors who are pursuing higher education.
Making a Difference
CARY helps troubled youth turn their lives around and promote safer schools and safer communities.
Our programs reduce the human suffering associated with violent crime-at significant savings to taxpayers by keeping youth out of the pipeline to prison.
The City of Austin, Travis County, Austin Independent School District, Governor’s Criminal Justice Division and the U.S. Department of Justice are each funding sources for CARY, but the information presented herein does not officially represent the opinion or policy of these government agencies.