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Preventing Children's Exposure to Violence: The Defending Childhood Initiative

NCJ Number
NIJ Journal Issue: 270 Dated: June 2012 Pages: 26-29
Date Published
June 2012
4 pages
Publication Series
This article reports on the features and the progress of the U.S. Justice Department's Defending Childhood Initiative, which was initiated in 2010 to help communities develop, test, and evaluate strategies for determining what works in reducing the number of children exposed to violence in their homes, schools, and communities.
Eight project demonstration sites were selected for the development, implementation, and testing of strategies designed to reduce children's exposure to violence. The project's three goals are to prevent children's exposure to violence, mitigate the negative impact of violence when it occurs, and develop knowledge and awareness of children's exposure to violence in their communities. The demonstration project is divided into two phases, Assessment and Strategic Planning (Phase I) and implementation and Evaluation (Phase II). During Phase I, which ended in April 2011, the demonstration sites conducted assessment to identify community needs. They developed strategic plans and proposed methods for preventing children's exposure to violence, treating the psychological effects of such exposure, and increasing community awareness of children's exposure to violence and the resources needed to address it. An evaluation of the sites' performance at the end of Phase I found that all of the sites had proposed some mix of prevention, intervention, and public awareness strategies. Most sites included intensive direct training of service providers and plans for better data systems for tracking and measuring program implementation and performance. Phase II began in October 2011, when the sites started to put their proposed plans into action. This phase will continue until September 2013, when sites' performance in Phase II will be evaluated. The evaluation will consist of both a process (implementation) assessment and an assessment of results achieved (impact). The objectives of each type of evaluation are outlined. 1 table and 8 notes

Date Published: June 1, 2012