Research

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The Defending Childhood Demonstration Project

The Defending Childhood Demonstration Project

In this podcast, Center for Court Innovation researchers Rachel Swaner, Lama Ayoub, and Elise Jensen discuss their National Institute of Justice funded report on the United States Department of Justice's Defending Childhood Demonstration Program. The program, which began in 2010, funded eight pilot sites across the country to address children's exposure to violence. The Center produced a series of reports on six of the eight sites, as well as a report that condenses lessons learned across the sites. 


 

 

Articles

Police-Community Relations

Police-Community Relations

This report summarizes lessons learned from the Center for Court Innovation's efforts to cultivate better communication and understanding between police, communities, and youth. (June 2015)

Publications

Coming Home to Harlem: A Randomized Controlled Trial of the Harlem Parole Reentry Court

Coming Home to Harlem: A Randomized Controlled Trial of the Harlem Parole Reentry Court

By Lama Hassoun Ayoub and Tia Pooler

This study of the Harlem Parole Reentry Court compares participants in a neighborhood-based reentry program to similar parolees on traditional parole. Results indicate that the reentry court produced a 22% reduction in the reconviction rate and a 60% reduction in the felony reconviction rate over an 18-month follow-up period. The reentry court also produced a 45% reduction in revocations. Interview findings indicate that reentry court parolees were significantly more likely to be in school or employed and to have positive perceptions of their parole officer.

Interviews

'Peace Must Begin With Me': An Interview with Syracuse Peacemaker Carl Thomas

'Peace Must Begin With Me': An Interview with Syracuse Peacemaker Carl Thomas

Carl Thomas is a trained volunteer peacemaker with the Near Westside Peacemaking Project, an initiative of the Syracuse office of the Center for Court Innovation. Thomas sat down with Sarah Reckess, director of the Syracuse office, to talk about his interest in peacemaking, the challenges of the work, and how the community can begin to heal itself.

Sarah Reckess: Why were you interested in being part of the Near Westside Peacemaking Project?

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Publications

Stepping Up: Strengthening Police, Youth, and Community Relationships

Stepping Up: Strengthening Police, Youth, and Community Relationships

By Members of the Youth Justice Board

This report, researched and presented by the 2014-15 Youth Justice Board, focuses on how teenagers with prior arrests can benefit from meaningful interventions and avoid further justice system involvement. It also provides recommendations to strengthen police-youth relationships in New York City. 

Publications

Fact Sheet: Brooklyn Justice Initiatives

Fact Sheet: Brooklyn Justice Initiatives

An overview of Brooklyn Justice Initiatives, a program that seeks to forge a new response to misdemeanor and non-violent felony defendants in Kings County, New York.

Publications

Defending Childhood Demonstration Program

Defending Childhood Demonstration Program

In order to address the high prevalence of children’s exposure to violence, in 2010, eight sites around the country were selected by the U.S. Department of Justice for the Defending Childhood Demonstration Program. This national initiative aims: 1) to prevent children’s exposure to violence; 2) to mitigate the negative impact of such exposure when it does occur; and 3) to develop knowledge and spread awareness about children’s exposure to violence, both within and beyond the chosen pilot sites. The eight demonstration sites are:

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Publications

Responding to Sex Trafficking in Your Jurisdiction: A Planning Toolkit

Responding to Sex Trafficking in Your Jurisdiction: A Planning Toolkit

By Danielle Malangone, Robyn Mazur and Miriam Goodman

This comprehensive toolkit offers a step-by-step process to help courts and communities assess their current approaches to human trafficking and prostitution, and develop or enhance a court-based response.

 

Publications

Through the NOVA Door: A Process Evaluation of Shelby County’s Defending Childhood Initiative

Through the NOVA Door: A Process Evaluation of Shelby County’s Defending Childhood Initiative

By Elise Jensen and Rachel Swaner

The Shelby County Defending Childhood Initiative, known as the Network for Overcoming Violence and Abuse (NOVA), used a place-based approach to target children and families exposed to violence in three apartment complexes in the Frayser and Hickory Hill neighborhoods of Memphis. The initiative placed staff in apartment complexes to conduct outreach to children and families in need, and, through case management and advocacy, to refer families to necessary services for therapeutic treatment. Other project components included community awareness campaigns, professional training on topics such as children’s exposure to violence and data confidentiality, and the creation of a shared data management system. (April 2015)

Publications

Nawicakiciji – Woasniye – Oaye Waste: A Process Evaluation of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe’s Defending Childhood Initiative

Nawicakiciji – Woasniye – Oaye Waste: A Process Evaluation of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe’s Defending Childhood Initiative

By Rachel Swaner

The Rosebud Sioux Tribe Defending Childhood Initiative incorporated the Lakota way of life in all of its programming and approaches and viewed bringing back Lakota culture as a form of prevention work. The Rosebud DCI model focused heavily on providing case management services for children who have been exposed to violence. Staff facilitated traditional healing ceremonies and made referrals to culturally appropriate treatment, as well provided court- and school-based advocacy. Additionally, the initiative focused on bringing awareness about children’s exposure to violence and available resources to the different communities and schools on the reservation. Finally, staff worked to revise tribal legislation and policy to be more responsive to children’s exposure to violence. (April 2015)

Publications

Love One Another and Take Care of Each Other: A Process Evaluation of the Rocky Boy’s Children Exposed to Violence Project

Love One Another and Take Care of Each Other: A Process Evaluation of the Rocky Boy’s Children Exposed to Violence Project

By Lama Hassoun Ayoub

Rocky Boy’s Children Exposed to Violence Project was informed by a commitment to culture as prevention—reconnecting youth and families with the Chippewa Cree language, culture, and traditions. The primary components of the initiative were advocacy and case management for children and families coping with exposure to violence; crisis intervention services; treatment referrals; traditional healing ceremonies; and community awareness and education activities. (April 2015)

Publications

Tackling Urban Inequalities: A Process Evaluation of the Boston Defending Childhood Initiative

Tackling Urban Inequalities: A Process Evaluation of the Boston Defending Childhood Initiative

By Lama Hassoun Ayoub

The Boston Defending Childhood Initiative centralized the importance of racial/social justice and health equity during planning and implementation in nearly every approach for addressing children’s exposure to violence. Specific strategies included funding community health centers to provide treatment for children exposed to violence; funding local community organizations to implement family nurturing programs; creating a youth-led and produced web series to raise awareness about violence; and engaging professionals (e.g., through “learning communities”) in long-term training on topics related to trauma-informed care and evidence-based therapeutic interventions. (April 2015)

Publications

Building a Safer Tomorrow: A Process Evaluation of Grand Forks County Defending Childhood Initiative

Building a Safer Tomorrow: A Process Evaluation of Grand Forks County Defending Childhood Initiative

By Elise Jensen

Safer Tomorrows, the Grand Forks Defending Childhood Initiative, was unique in its implementation of universal prevention programming in Grand Forks County schools, extending to all students (pre-kindergarten through high school) in public, private, and rural schools. The programs addressed multiple forms of violence (e.g., bullying, dating violence); strategies for preventing violence; fostering healthy positive relationships with others; and improving personal social-emotional health. Other components of Safer Tomorrows included trauma-informed treatment for children exposed to violence; community awareness strategies tailored to the local sports culture; and training of professionals on topics related to children’s exposure to violence and trauma. (April 2015)

Publications

“We Have the Power to Stop the Violence”: A Process Evaluation of Cuyahoga County’s Defending Childhood Initiative

“We Have the Power to Stop the Violence”: A Process Evaluation of Cuyahoga County’s Defending Childhood Initiative

By Rachel Swaner

The Cuyahoga County Defending Childhood Initiative was unique in the creation of a fully integrated, county-wide screening, assessment, and service system for children ages 0-18 who have been exposed to violence and are experiencing trauma symptoms. Smaller initiative components included two targeted prevention programs in high-risk neighborhoods; community awareness and education campaigns; and professional training activities. (April 2015)

Interviews

Supervised Visitation: The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children's Unique Approach

Supervised Visitation: The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children's Unique Approach

Katheryn Lotsos and Stephen Forrester from the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children discuss their organization’s approach to supervised visitation. Supervised visitation is frequently required by courts in child welfare or domestic violence cases and allows children to meet with non-custodial parents in a secure and controlled environment. The Society's therapeutic model includes safety planning, parent education classes, special training for the professionals supervising the visits, and close collaboration with the courts.

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