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Juvenile Justice Program Evaluation: An Overview

NCJ Number
Date Published
16 pages
This briefing was prepared to provide juvenile justice program managers with a seven-step program evaluation process that they can implement.
This seven-step program evaluation process includes defining the problem, implementing research-based programming, developing a program logic model, developing measure, collecting and analyzing data, reporting findings, and reassessing program logic. The problem identification process includes collecting data demonstrating there is a problem and identifying the characteristics of the juveniles being targeted for particular interventions. Implementation of research-based programs is the solution of the problem using the OJJDP Blueprints Project to accumulate research and evaluation knowledge, plus the use of similar initiatives as models for success. A program logic model, in which the logical connections between goals, objectives, and activities are specified is necessary to lead to the accomplishment of the programs objectives and goals. The development of a set of measures or indicators to be used to assess the degree that goals and objectives have been achieved is essential. Two types of measures are used, the first, process measures, indicate how well the programs activities have been implemented; and the second, outcome measures, indicate what effect the program's activities have had on the juveniles it served. Data collection and analysis are essential to determine whether the project's objectives have been met. The data can be obtained from existing State, police, or court database files or may need to be developed by the program itself. Analysis can be achieved by comparing before and after behaviors of participating juveniles, or comparing participating juveniles with a like group on non-participating juveniles. Reporting on the results of the data analysis is also essential and can include both achievements and recommendations for future improvement. Reassessing the program logic completes the evaluation circle, providing for an ongoing evaluation process that incorporates all accumulated knowledge into future development, assessment, and revision of programs.

Date Published: January 1, 2001