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Through the NOVA Door: A Process Evaluation of Shelby County's Defending Childhood Initiative

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2015
66 pages
This report presents the findings, methodology, and recommendations of the process evaluation of the Shelby (Tennessee) Network for Overcoming Violence and Abuse (NOVA), one of eight sites receiving grants under the U.S. Attorney General's Defending Childhood Demonstration Program, a grant program that promotes prevention and intervention programs for children exposed to violence.

Coordinated by the Shelby County Office of Early Childhood and Youth, NOVA served children ages 0-17 who had been exposed to violence. NOVA initially focused on three apartment complexes in Memphis, because of the prevalence of poverty and violent crime in these facilities. NOVA staff were placed in the apartment complexes, where they conducted outreach to children and families in need. Through case management and advocacy, families were referred to appropriate services. At-risk and violence-exposed children and their parents could receive treatment services and support for their basic needs. Available services included assistance in filing orders of protection, finding housing and employment, and providing group therapy and trauma-informed treatment for child victims of violence. The process evaluation, however, cautions against the danger that such a broad-based approach to families in need may shift the focus to poverty-related issues, while diluting the use of grant money specifically for the needs of children exposed to violence. Further, the place-based approach may be better suited for initiatives that address poverty than for the narrower focus of the needs of children exposed to violence. Other NOVA components included two community awareness campaigns that addressed children's exposure to violence; and a training program was established for professionals who work with children, with attention to the treatment needs of children exposed to violence. Figures and appended evaluation and program materials

Date Published: June 1, 2015