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Evaluating a Cognitive Behavioral Approach for Improving Life Outcomes of Underserved Young Women: A Randomized Experiment in Chicago

Award Information

Award #
2016-JU-FX-0002
Location
Congressional District
Status
Open
Funding First Awarded
2018
Total funding (to date)
$1,247,282
Original Solicitation

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $248,918)

The University of Chicago seeks support for our team to carry out a randomized controlled trial (RCT), testing a structured mentoring program. In collaboration with Youth Guidance, a local Chicago nonprofit with which the university has partnered for many years, will conduct a rigorous multi-year evaluation to test the efficacy of a promising cognitive behavioral mentoring (CBM )approach—WOW, or Working on Womanhood—delivered to young women in
neighborhoods on Chicago’s high-crime and low-income south and west sides. Funding from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention would support efforts to develop a deep understanding of the program model and collaborate on any curriculum enhancements that could both make the program stronger and/or lead to a more fruitful evaluation, design and conduct a process evaluation, complete exploratory analyses to better understand program participants and outcomes of greatest interest, and engage deeply with our nonprofit practitioner partner to ensure readiness for an experiment.

The Practitioner-Researcher Partnership in Cognitive Behavioral Mentoring Program will support the development, implementation, and evaluation of innovative mentoring approaches for youth at high risk for delinquency/juvenile and criminal justice involvement or victimization and trauma. These mentoring approaches must incorporate practices that are informed by research on cognitive behavioral interventions and techniques. The program will fund a partnership between a practitioner/service provider and an evaluator/researcher.

CA/NCF

The University of Chicago is evaluating training and curriculum enhancements to the WOW program being developed and implemented by its partner applicant, Youth Guidance. Under this project, The University of Chicago is planning and implementing a rigorous multiyear evaluation to test the efficacy of a promising cognitive behavioral mentoring approach-WOW delivered to young women in neighborhoods on Chicago's high-crime and low-income south and west sides. The first year has focused on planning for the rigorous evaluation by working with Youth Guidance to identify the program model and curriculum enhancements, design and conduct a process evaluation, complete exploratory analyses to better understand program participants and outcomes of greatest interest, and ensure readiness for an experiment. The proposed evaluation would then be implemented beginning in year two and would focus on two central research questions: (1) Can a structured cognitive behavioral mentoring program designed for young women generate sustained reductions in youth involvement in violent and delinquent behavior and youth victimization, as well as improvements in educational and health outcomes and (2) What is the cost effectiveness of this structured mentoring program compared to other crime-control strategies? It is anticipated that these findings will advance knowledge about the effectiveness of a structured cognitive behavioral mentoring program on reducing violence, preventing delinquency and other adverse outcomes, and improving school and life outcomes for disadvantaged young women.

Note: This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law, and complies with Part 200 Uniform Requirements- 2 CFR 200.210(a)(14).

NCA/NCF

This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law. This program furthers the Department's mission by providing grants and cooperative agreements for research and evaluation activities to organizations that OJJDP designates.

The University of Chicago is planning and implementing a rigorous multi-year evaluation to test the efficacy of a promising cognitive behavioral mentoring approach—Working on Womanhood—delivered to young women in neighborhoods on Chicago’s high-crime and low-income south and west sides. The first year focused on planning for the rigorous evaluation by working with Youth Guidance to identify the program model and curriculum enhancements, design and conduct a process evaluation, complete exploratory analyses to better understand program participants and outcomes of greatest interest, and ensure readiness for an experiment. The evaluation is being implemented beginning in year 2 and focuses on two research questions: (1) Can a structured cognitive behavioral mentoring program designed for young women generate sustained reductions in youth involvement in violent and delinquent behavior and youth victimization, as well as improvements in educational and health outcomes? and (2) What is the cost effectiveness of this structured mentoring program compared to other crime-control strategies? It is anticipated that these findings will advance knowledge about the effectiveness of a structured cognitive behavioral mentoring program on reducing violence and preventing delinquency and other adverse outcomes, and improving school and life outcomes for disadvantaged young women.

NCA/NCF

Date Created: September 26, 2016