Urban Institute Research Report
"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).
"This report describes the EBDM [Evidence-Based Decision-Making] Phase II technical assistance approach and presents findings and themes from the process evaluation and outcome assessment (conducted from October 2010 to February 2012) of the technical assistance delivered to the seven sites selected under Phase II of the EBDM initiative … The Phase II technical assistance approach sought to facilitate both the Framework’s goals of recidivism reduction and harm reduction. This involved the adoption of well-evaluated principles and practices, while also allowing for some level of adaptation of these principles and practices to other parts of the criminal justice system … Evaluation results offer ample evidence that Phase II training and technical assistance enhanced site capacity in critical areas (i.e., strengthened collaboration, increased EBDM and system knowledge, increased support for EBDM principles and practices, identified change targets, and facilitated strategic planning) essential for successful implementation. Furthermore, stakeholders generally rated the TA positively, giving it high marks on relevance, quality, responsiveness, and utility" (p. VI-VII). This report is divided into five sections: introduction; evaluation approach—design and methods; EBDM Phase II technical assistance approach; examining the broader impact of Phase II--key findings from the evaluation: findings from the process analysis, findings from the cross-wave, cross-site stakeholder survey, agency collaboration, stakeholder engagement and coordination among key leaders, perceived benefits of technical assistance, implementation readiness, level of involvement in EBDM, stakeholder sphere, and summary; and conclusions and implications. The related NIC Evaluation Brief "Evidence-Based Decision Making in Local Criminal Justice Systems Initiative" is available at https://s3.amazonaws.com/static.nicic.gov/Library/029768.pdf.
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.