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Tackling Urban Inequalities: A Process Evaluation of the Boston Defending Childhood Initiative

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2015
69 pages
This report addresses the findings, methodology, and recommendations of a process evaluation of the Boston Defending Childhood Initiative (DCI), which is one of eight sites receiving grants under the U.S. Attorney General's Defending Childhood Demonstration Program, a grant program that addresses children's exposure to violence in their communities.
The Boston DCI implemented a variety of strategies that targeted the highest risk neighborhoods in the city. It implemented a model for centralizing the importance of racial/social justice and health equity during both planning and implementation in nearly every approach for addressing children's exposure to violence. The process evaluation, which assessed the DCI's implementation procedures, found numerous barriers and challenges to the implementation of each program component. There were also facilitators that enhanced program implementation, such as existing community resources oriented toward child welfare and the political commitment of local leaders. The evaluation concludes that many aspects of the DCI model are replicable. Notable DCI achievements are the commitment to health equity for children and the development of sustainable strategies, which include long-term professional training and capacity building. The program succeeded in funding two community health centers in target neighborhoods, mounting efforts to prevent children's exposure to violence, developing community awareness campaigns to increase residents' awareness of violence in the lives of youth, and training professionals in therapeutic interventions with children. 3 figures, 3 tables, and appended supplementary data and program materials

Date Published: June 1, 2015