Monthly Archives: July 2011
|July 13, 2011||Posted by M. P. under Children and Family, Juvenile Delinquency, Program Model, Youth Development||
It is not uncommon for school-age children to experience temporary lulls in their enthusiasm toward school or schoolwork. However, if such disengagement from school continues, parents and teachers should not hesitate to explore the reasons behind such a shift in attitude. The issue of truancy, or a student’s absence from school without an approved excuse, is of growing concern to juvenile justice professionals as it potentially leads to more serious risk-taking behaviors. Habitual truancy may have a severe impact on the trajectory of a youth’s life.
An article from Education.com by the National Center for School Engagement (NCSE) reports on the most promising efforts to address and prevent truancy among school-age youth. The piece, Effective Strategies for Working with Truant Youth, provides a meta-analysis of sorts from evaluations of numerous truancy programs nationwide, arriving at the conclusion that meaningful alternative interventions with truant youth are more effective and cheaper than the detention option. The authors also discuss the need for court, agency and community partnerships, and include a list of court-ordered activities (sanctions/rewards) related to truancy reduction goals.
If you work with youth and are interested in additional resources for best practices in addressing truancy, visit the National Center for Criminal Justice Resources web site for the latest research, including a report on truancy reduction demonstration programs.
|July 7, 2011||Posted by M. P. under Evaluation, Management, Philanthropy||
A new paper from the Innovation Network discussing strategies in building evaluation capacity should be on the reading list of program evaluators, trainers, foundations and nonprofit leaders alike. The brief, Evaluation Capacity Building: Funder Initiatives to Strengthen Grantee Evaluation Capacity and Practice by Myia Welsh and Johanna Morariu, examines the process of engaging nonprofits in evaluation capacity building (ECB) to support their programs and operations.
The authors present case studies of evaluation capacity building activities with grantee organizations on behalf of and in collaboration with funders. Some of their lessons learned include,
- Ensure organizations begin the evaluation capacity building process with a clear grasp of what evaluation is (and isn’t) and how it may best be used within their organizations.
- Make evaluation a required element of grant reporting.
- Make capacity building services the default offering – do not make grantee agencies have to self-select into the process.
- Capacity building goes beyond the executive leadership. All staff matter in good evaluation practices and should be represented in ECB activities.
Has your organization participated in some kind of evaluation capacity building training? How did it impact your evaluation practices?
|July 1, 2011||Posted by M. P. under Children and Family, Juvenile Delinquency, Program Model, Youth Development||
Children removed from homes and communities by the child welfare system or due to involvement in the juvenile justice system have their family relationships interrupted and their connectivity to positive influences (friends, a teacher, a coach) weakened. These separations will affect a child’s sense of stability and may impede their ability to successfully transition into the independence and responsibility required of late adolescence and early adulthood. How to best address this issue, including empowering communities to advocate for the safety, accountability and success of their children, has been a topic of much discussion and analysis.
In the paper, Safety, Fairness, Stability: Repositioning Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare to Engage Families and Communities by Joan Pennell, Carol Shapiro and Carol Wilson Spigner (with commentaries by Kordnie Jamillia Lee and Trina Osher), the authors suggest changing the approach to one of family and community engagement. In this approach, the traditional roles of the system players, the family, the youth and affected parties are replaced with more equitable relationships and opportunities for feedback and involvement by all.
The authors’ vision for a different, more family-centered method of intervention with endangered or troubled youth is pulled from system of care and restorative justice models. Both utilize practices that fit with the family engagement approach, an approach the authors posit would lead to increased partnerships between system entities (and a reduction of competing goals), service plans that meet the needs of the child and can continue within the community and accountability and acceptance back into the community without a lengthy absence.
Family engagement is seen as a viable starting point to begin the long-term goal of community-system partnership building. A partnership where, with funding, training and advisement, communities will be better able to address the needs of their families and youth within their schools, clinics, churches and associations rather than send them away when crises occur.
Resources on this topic, including this paper and a publication on Pennsylvanian’s use of family involvement models, are available at the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown University’s Public Policy Institute website.