Back to top

Yahner, Jennifer

"In 2010, an ambitious model for social change emerged in Chicago that aimed to connect detained youth and those at risk for incarceration (“at-risk youth”) to rigorous and engaging arts instruction, infused with social and emotional learning goals. Dubbed the Arts Infusion Initiative, the Chicago Community Trust (“the Trust”) spearheaded and funded this five year, $2.5 million demonstration while earning cooperation from the local detention facility, public school system, community policing office, and community arts program leaders to integrate arts programming into youths’ school and after school environments. Since its launch, the Arts Infusion Initiative has served more than 2,000 youth at an average annual cost of $700 per teen, linking them to high performing arts instruction associated with significant increases in social and emotional learning. This report marks the first large-scale evaluation of the Arts Infusion Initiative which was designed to: (1) assess the degree to which the project, as an emergent model for social change, was achieving its intended purposes and (2) generate actionable information for promoting effective Arts Infusion practices while redirecting those that have been less effective" (p. 3). Six chapters comprise this evaluation: introduction; importance of the Arts Infusion Initiative; components of the Arts Infusion Initiative; evaluation methods; seven key findings; and recommendations for promising practices. Two of the key findings are: Arts Infusion youth participants had statistically significant improvements in their social and emotional learning skills; and Arts Infusion programs were successful in "exposing at-risk youth "to new skills and technologies, providing confidence building experiences that opened their minds to a positive future" (p. 5).

Arts Infusion Initiative, 2010-15 Cover

This report focuses on LGBTQ [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning] youth who become involved in the commercial sex market to meet basic survival needs, describing their experiences with law enforcement, the criminal justice system, and the child welfare system. Interviews with these youth reveal that over 70 percent had been arrested at least once, with many reporting frequent arrest for “quality-of-life” and misdemeanor crimes other than prostitution offenses. Youth described their experiences of being cycled in and out of the justice system as highly disruptive and generating far-reaching collateral consequences ranging from instability in the home and school to inability to pay fines and obtain lawful employment. This report is part of a larger three-year Urban Institute study of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning (LGBTQ) youth; young men who have sex with men (YMSM); and young women who have sex with women (YWSW) engaged in survival sex. Sections of this report cover: highlights; literature review; study goals and methodology; LGBTQ youth interactions with and perspectives of law enforcement—youth demographics, what type of interactions, whom do youth turn to when in trouble, and concluding thoughts; criminal justice system responses to LGBTQ youth, YMSMS, and YWSW—LGBTQ affirming policies and practices, the challenges the criminal justice system must face in addressing this population, what stakeholders need to better serve theses youth, and the role the criminal justice system must play for LGBTQ youth engaged in survival sex; child welfare stakeholder perspectives—how the child welfare system responds to these youth; and the role the child welfare system faces addressing this population; LGBTQ youth perspectives on child welfare; LGBTQ youths' experiences in the child welfare system, perspectives on these experiences, concluding thoughts; discussion and summary; policy and practice recommendations; and how these agencies can be improved according to young people.

Locked In: Interactions with the Criminal Justice and Child Welfare Systems for LGBTQ Youth, YMSM, and YWSW Who Engage in Survival Sex Cover

This report summarizes findings from the Urban Institute’s replication validation of the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) Employment Retention Inventory (ERI). This study was conducted under NIC Cooperative Agreement Award 16CS04GKU7 to determine the ERI’s ability to identify workforce detachment risks for employed and unemployed justice-involved populations in Indiana, New York, and Massachusetts. This study also examined practitioners’ use of the ERI in diverse community correctional settings.

From June 2017 to July 2018, 185 employed and 148 unemployed people participated in the study, completing the ERI during check-in meetings with NIC-trained Employment Retention Specialists. Most study participants were living in the community under probation or parole supervision or with a history of justice involvement; others were incarcerated in state prison. ERI baseline responses were quantitatively compared with employment outcomes approximately 3 to 6 months later for all participants. The relationship between employment and recidivism was also examined. Qualitative interviews with ERI-trained professionals provided insight into the instrument’s use in practice

Items in the ERI showed strong content and construct validity, meaning the tool conceptually covered the key domains related to employment retention, particularly for community-based participants. Predictive validity analyses demonstrated that the ERI yielded “good” and “excellent” performance ratings in predicting unemployment 3 to 6 months later for those in community settings. Analyses of the ERI’s validity for incarcerated participants were insufficient due to small sample sizes. For all participants, bivariate analyses supported a linkage between employment experiences and recidivism. ERI practitioners expressed that the instrument had strong utility and potential for their work.

Overall, validation analyses coupled with practitioners’ feedback suggests that the ERI, when implemented with motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioral techniques learned through NIC’s Employment Retention Specialist training, could be a useful case management tool for community correctional populations.

This is "the first study to focus on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning (LGBTQ) youth; young men who have sex with men (YMSM); and young women who have sex with women (YWSW) who get involved in the commercial sex market in order to meet basic survival needs, such as food or shelter. The report documents these youth’s experiences and characteristics to gain a better understanding of why they engage in survival sex, describes how the support networks and systems in their lives have both helped them and let them down, and makes recommendations for better meeting the needs of this vulnerable population " (website). Sections of this report include; highlights; youths' engagement in the commercial sex trade for survival; current study goals and methodology; findings regarding the characteristics of LGBTQ youth, YMSM, and YWSW engaged in survival in New York City, the pathways into the survival-sex trade for this population, the characteristics of the commercial sex market, how much the youth earn and how they spend these earnings, the physical risks to them and how they protect themselves, the ways others help the youth find customers, the number of youth involved in exploitative situations, the composition of the youths' network, and the youths' perceptions of engaging in survival sex; discussion and summary; policy and practice guidelines; and main findings.

Surviving the Streets of New York: Experiences of LGBTQ Youth, YMSM, and YWSW Engaged in Survival Sex Cover
Subscribe to Yahner, Jennifer