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U.S. Attorney General's Defending Childhood Initiative: Formative Evaluation of the Phase I Demonstration Program

NCJ Number
Date Published
November 2011
16 pages
This report presents the methodology and findings of an evaluation of Phase I of the U.S. Attorney General's Defending Childhood Initiative (DCI), which aims to prevent children's exposure to violence, mitigate the negative impact of such exposure when it does occur, and develop knowledge and spread awareness about children's exposure to violence.
In 2010, the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) awarded an initial $1.25 million to eight sites across the Nation for the implementation of Phase I of the DCI. Each site was required to develop comprehensive strategic plans for preventing and reducing the impact of children's exposure to violence through a collaborative process. DOJ committed additional funding for technical assistance and evaluation. The goals of the formative evaluation of Phase I were to implement a participatory research process with the eight sites; describe key strategies, outcomes, and available data; and produce eight assessments and a design for an evaluation of Phase II of DCI. The evaluation found that each of the eight sites proposed a varying mix of prevention, intervention, and community awareness strategies. Prevention efforts included services designed to prevent initial or subsequent exposure to violence. Intervention involved services designed to treat the psychological effects in children who have been exposed to violence. Awareness refers to efforts to increase knowledge of children's exposure to violence and available resources and services through media campaigns, community outreach, and professional training. A brief summary of each site's proposed activities. All sites also faced resource constraints that limited their work in implementing the goals of DCI. Waiting lists for services were common. In the face of shrinking State and local budgets, little funding was available for violence prevention work, resulting in a severe lack of services and programs that could prevent a crisis.

Date Published: November 1, 2011