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Final Report on the Evaluation of the SAGE Project's LIFESKILLS and GRACE Programs

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2011
371 pages
The SAGE Project is a nonprofit organization that operates two commercial sexual exploitation (CSE) intervention programs: LIFESKILLS and GRACE. Both programs operate from the philosophical approach of harm reduction, which emphasizes peer education and skills development.
Participants in LIFESKILLS are younger (under 18) and are either involved in CSE or considered at high risk for sexual exploitation. The LIFESKILLS program offers case management, support groups, and referral services. Length of stay for LIFESKILLS girls ranges from 4 to 14 months. GRACE participants are older (adults) and have been arrested for prostitution. Most GRACE program clients are court-ordered to participate for a minimum of 25 hours of group services. This study used a four-phase participatory evaluation design that employed both quantitative and qualitative components. The two qualitative components (phases 1 and 4) used interviews with staff and program participants to assist in operationalizing variables for the evaluation, identifying process and outcome measures, and developing program logic models. The quantitative evaluation followed a quasi-experimental, nonequivalent group design to assess a set of outcomes (phase 2). The principal data sources included baseline and follow-up surveys and official arrest records. The process evaluation (phase 3) integrated both quantitative and qualitative methods to assess whether the program was well designed and implemented as intended and involved an examination of services, management, staffing, information systems, and case files. The key findings: 1. The SAGE Project succeeded in reducing contact with the criminal justice system of both the LIFESKILLS and GRACE groups. 2. Girls and young women typically track along one of four risk-related trajectories, on the basis of whether they are a) from 'risk saturated' communities, b) from troubled suburban families, c) from immigrant families, or d) becoming involved proactively, without (at first) many of the overwhelming risk factors present for the other trajectories. 3. While a LIFESKILLS curriculum with a good theoretical foundation exists, fidelity to a model is lacking, and it has not been sufficiently formalized, operationalized, and documented.

Date Published: May 1, 2011