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Outcome Evaluation of the Defending Childhood Demonstration Program

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2015
137 pages
The findings and methodology are reported for an outcome evaluation of six of the eight demonstration sites that have implemented the U.S. Justice Department's Defending Childhood Demonstration Program.
This program's objectives are to prevent children's exposure to violence; to mitigate the negative impact of such exposure when it occurs; and to develop knowledge and increase awareness of children's exposure to violence, both within and beyond the pilot sites. Overall, the outcome evaluations at the six demonstration sites did not find any changes in indicators for children's exposure to violence at school, home, and in the community based on measures examined before and after the implementation of the Defending Childhood Initiative; however, there was evidence of the program's positive impact. At the non-tribal sites, the evaluation's community survey found increased community understanding of what actions are considered violence; and at tribal sites, there was an increased awareness of the Defending Childhood Initiative and the services available through the program. The evaluation's professional practices survey indicated that after attending training sponsored by the Defending Childhood Initiative, professionals' knowledge about children's exposure to violence, evidence-based practices, and vicarious trauma and self-care increased. In addition, agencies reported incorporating more trauma-informed practices in treating children who have been exposed violence. All sites implemented strategies to reduce children's exposure to violence or to reduce its potentially traumatic effect. All sites also implemented community awareness and education campaigns intended to increase the community's knowledge and awareness of children's exposure to violence, along with available resources and services. Some of the sites trained professionals who work with children on the nature and impact on children of their exposure to violence. 27 tables, 2 figures, and appended evaluation questionnaires

Date Published: October 1, 2015