Source: (2004) Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly. 23(2/3):131-147.

This article recommends and suggests how to develop Circulos del Cuidad (Circles of Care) within Latino communities as an effective means of reducing the disproportionate representation of Latino youth in the juvenile justice system. Using the preference of Latinos for informal support in seeking help, the Circulos del Cuidado is a meeting of all family members, child welfare/juvenile justice officials, members of the community (such as resource and support persons), and other persons involved with the family for the purpose of providing services to and protection for the juvenile and his/her family involved with the juvenile justice system. These Circles consist of partnerships among government officials, families, and community members in order to develop and deliver family-based services that are tailored to the strengthening of family and community support while creating opportunities for families to provide better care and guidance for their children. Participation of a family and youth in a Circle is voluntary. Those referred to a Circle by the police or other authorities must choose to participate. The referred juvenile offender must admit guilt or acknowledge causing harm. In developing a framework for Circulos del Cuidado, the emphasis must be on group members shaping their own curriculum for addressing the problems they identify; group members defining problems and solutions as they experience them, not only as experts define them; group members having strengths, abilities, and knowledge to share and learn from each other; and participants being co-learners who create a new understanding of how youth and families can be helped to develop skills, attitudes, and behaviors that serve responsible and satisfying living. Abstract courtesy of the National Criminal Justice Reference Service,