This is the Summary Overview Report of an effectiveness study of a theory-based system called Link for School (Link), which provides a sustainable infrastructure of upstream support for youth at-risk of violence.
Link is built upon the principles of Trauma Informed Care I(TIC) and Psychological First Aid (PFA) in identifying and intervening to address mental health and behavioral precursors of violence and mitigate the immediate impact of violence among exposed youth. The University of Iowa collaborated with the Cedar Rapids School Community District (CRCSD) and the University of Minnesota in conducting an effectiveness study of Link. CRCSD is the second largest school district in Iowa, consisting of 21 elementary schools, 6 middle schools, and 4 high schools. Compared to neighboring school districts, CRCSD students are disproportionately minority and poor. In recent years, Cedar Rapids has experienced a wave of community violence. The goals of the current research were to improve school safety, prevent and intervene in violence that impacts students, assess school-based violence prevention strategies, and assess cost-effectiveness. These goals were pursued by implementing and testing the effectiveness of Link. Throughout the study, the students who received Link had a lower mean weekly rate of referrals than within-school controls (those identified as needing Link but declined to be treated or for some reason were unable to participate in Link). Study limitations are noted.
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