Positive Youth Development Projects
Evaluation of Police and Youth Programs (2011-2014)
The Center was contracted by the State of Connecticut Office of Policy and Management to conduct an evaluation of Police and Youth Programs. The goals of the Police and Youth Programs were to promote positive youth development and to increase the numbers of police officers who are experienced and comfortable working and interacting with youth in non-enforcement activities. The purpose of the evaluation was to assess the results of the program for participating youth and police officers, particularly changes in each group’s attitudes toward the other. Both police and youth participants were administered pre-tests and post-tests for each year of programming. A total of twenty-two unique communities in Connecticut participated in the program across three years.
Evaluation of the Adolescent Family Life Project (2011-2012)
Dr. Beth Russell provided the technical support – from analysis to authorship – to the Village for Families & Children’s Adolescent Family Life project in order to publish the program’s 5 year longitudinal results (peer review manuscript currently under review). This project randomized a sample of over 500 adolescent mothers to 2 Mental Health treatment conditions in order to examine the feasibility of coordinated care intervention models.
Program Evaluation of the UConn GEAR UP Program (2007-2011)
GEAR UP is a national program funded by the U.S. Department of Education aimed at increasing college enrollment for low-income students. The Center was approached by the UConn Gear-UP Project, the recipient of a five-year federal grant, to assist in the evaluation of a program being offered in 13 schools located in New Haven and Hamden, Connecticut. Data consist of existing school records (attendance, grades); student and parent surveys; level of students’ exposure to academic support services, and teacher observations of students.
Youth Involvement Study (2009-2010)
The Center was contracted by the State of Connecticut Office of Policy and Management to conduct a research study exploring the link between youth leadership development programming and youth outcomes.
Governor’s Urban Youth Violence Prevention Program/Neighborhood Youth Centers (2001-2009)
The purpose of this project, funded by the State of Connecticut Office of Policy and Management (OPM), was to determine whether youth who attend Neighborhood Youth Centers in Connecticut’s major cities showed positive changes in outcomes such as resistance to negative peer pressures, academic achievement, personal adjustment, emotional well-being, and social skills. Youth center staff members were given technical assistance in administering surveys to youth assessing the degree to which Neighborhood Centers were providing key program components known to be associated with quality youth programs. The project also examined the role of regular Neighborhood Center attendance in facilitating participants’ positive changes.
Results of the initial outcome evaluation showed that youth enjoyed attending the centers and they felt that they were helped by the centers. In addition, the youth who had positive attitudes towards the centers and favorable experiences with staff demonstrated relatively high levels of psychosocial adjustment. Lastly, the youth involved with the centers over time showed positive changes in their attitudes towards school.
Later evaluations showed that the youth’s level of involvement and duration of involvement with the centers had few effects on positive youth development. However, youth who reported staff members to be a source of social support were less likely to report drug use or behavior problems.
Evaluation of the “Effective Police Interactions with Youth” Training Curriculum (2006-2008)
Earlier studies of the juvenile justice system in Connecticut determined that Black and Hispanic juveniles were overrepresented in the juvenile justice system. To address this disparity, a training program was designed by OPM’s Policy and Planning Division to provide patrol officers throughout Connecticut with training in handling juveniles at the earliest point in the interaction between police and juveniles, before written incident reports or referrals to court are completed. The evaluation contrasts participants in the training with a randomly selected group of patrol officers who did not receive the training on their knowledge of youth development, positive strategies for interacting with youth, and attitudes toward disproportionate minority representation of youth in the juvenile justice system. Both groups were administered pre-test, post-test, and three-month follow-up surveys.
Parent Education Projects
Building Family Futures (BFF) Alumni Technical Support (2006-2007)
The State of Connecticut’s Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) provided support to the Center to conduct a series of focus groups with mental health and addiction counselors previously trained to use the Building Family Futures (BFF) curriculum and to provide the necessary in-service training and resources that were identified. A volunteer and new employee orientation and training manual was developed and distributed to the Alumni participants.
Building Family Futures: A Train-the-Trainer Course for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counselors (2004-2005)
Sponsored by the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, the Center developed, implemented, and evaluated a series of 16 week, train-the-trainer workshops for mental health and addiction service counselors employed at DMHAS-funded residential and day treatment programs throughout the state. The program, Building Family Futures (BFF), was nominated by DMHAS to participate in the national, SAMHSA Service to Science Academy. BFF was one of 10 programs to participate in the Academy. The technical support provided is geared toward meeting established criteria for becoming a SAMHSA approved and recognized national curriculum.
Evaluating Parenting Education Programs: Methods and Measures (2004)
The Connecticut Women Consortia and the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) provided support for the development of a training program and materials for agencies and organizations involved in providing and evaluating parenting education programs. The training program was conducted as part of the annual conference of the Connecticut Parenting Education Network (CT-PEN). Representatives from 15 of the largest agencies and organizations providing parenting education participated in the workshop.
Lead Safety and Awareness Projects
Don’t Spread Lead (Video and Online Training) (2006)
A lead-poisoning awareness video for property owners and other do-it-yourselfers, in English and Spanish. Don’t Spread Lead shows viewers how to safely handle small repairs or renovations in homes that contain lead paint. With an introduction by Norm Abram, master carpenter of PBS’s This Old House and host of PBS’s New Yankee Workshop. Developed in cooperation with the Connecticut Department of Public Health, with funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Volunteers Opening Doors: The Five Keys to Lead Safety (Video and Online Training) (2004)
A lead-poisoning awareness video for volunteer painting and housing-rehabilitation programs, in English and Spanish, produced in cooperation with the Connecticut Department of Public Health, with funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Volunteers Opening Doors is a video program that explains how volunteers can protect housing residents, themselves, and their families from lead poisoning. The video is posted on the website of Habitat for Humanity:http://www.habitat.org/env/safe_healthy_housing.aspx
Lead Safe Work Practices for Painting, Remodeling, and Maintenance (Classroom Training)
A train-the-trainer program developed for the Connecticut Department of Public Health and approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, in English and Spanish. This lead-safety training program is designed for renovators, remodelers, painters, maintenance personnel, and property owners. The hands-on program teaches workers how to protect themselves and their families, as well as consumers and their families, from the hazards of lead poisoning.
What You Should Know About Lead Poisoning: A Resource Manual for Childcare Providers (Classroom Training)
A train-the-trainer program, in English and Spanish. This program provides the information that childcare providers need to know about lead poisoning, about Connecticut laws and regulations concerning lead, information sheets for parents or guardians, and resources for further information. It also includes a curriculum to teach very young children the basics of lead-safe behavior. This program was developed in cooperation with the Connecticut Department of Public Health.
Keep it Clean Train-the-Trainer Pilot (Classroom and Online Training)
An innovative, scenario-based training for local health departments to use in raising lead-safety awareness among employees at home improvement, paint, and hardware stores. This training was piloted by the Connecticut Department of Public Health. An online adaptation of the pilot training for employees at home improvement, paint, and hardware stores is available at http://www.nelcc.uconn.edu/kicc.html.
Laboratory Temperament Assessment Battery (LabTAB) Videos for the Kempe Foundation “Infant Program” (2008-2009)
This project involved the scoring of Laboratory Temperament Assessment Battery (LabTAB) videos for the Kempe Infants in Foster and Kinship Care Program (“Infant Program”) at the Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect.
Crop Insurance Education and Information Project (2005-2008)
The Connecticut Cooperative Extension System provided support to the Center to develop and maintain the project’s database and website, and to manage educational logistical activities related to initiatives such as the following – limited resource farmer group, new nursery activities, a statewide marketing conference, commodity specific seminars, and a “Crop Insurance Town Meeting.”
Evaluation of the People Empowering People Project (2002-2004)
The Center conducted an evaluation of the People Empowering People Program (PEP)-an innovative training program designed to build upon the strengths of adults and older adolescents with limited financial resources. The goal of the evaluation was to determine participant’s satisfaction with the program and to assess positive changes in the domains of personal adjustment, family relationships, and community engagement. Positive changes were found in all three domains.
Outcome Evaluation of Improving School Attendance (2007-2012)
Sponsored by Connecticut’s Consortium on School Attendance and the Connecticut Office of Policy and Management (OPM), the school attendance grant program aims to support school districts in implementing innovative strategies for improving school attendance. The Center began working on the school attendance grant program in 2007. During 2007-2009, the grant program provided funds to four districts (Ansonia, Stonington, Thompson, and Willimantic) to implement strategies for improving school attendance in their middle schools and high schools. The Center assisted the four programs in developing an evaluation design and provided technical assistance in setting up data collection strategies. The Center also developed and managed databases, conducted data analyses for each site, and completed a report for OPM summarizing the evaluation results.
During the 2009-2010 school year, OPM elected to run the attendance grant program without a formal evaluation component. In 2010-2011, however, OPM again hired the Center to evaluate projects funded by the school attendance grant. The one-year grant provided funding to five districts (Ansonia, Hamden, Plainfield, Waterbury, Region 10). The Center once again developed and implemented individualized evaluations with each of the districts, managing and analyzing data and developing evaluation reports for each program.
A third cycle of grant funding, for the 2011-2012 period, is now complete. The Center’s involvement began with providing technical assistances to districts during the application phase. Once funding was awarded, the Center continued working with the grantees by developing and implementing individualized evaluation plans with each site and collecting evaluation data.
Evaluation of the Scaffolding Early Learning Professional Development Program (2011-2014)
Through funding from the Connecticut State Department of Education (SDE), EASTCONN has sponsored CARHD Research Associate Dr. JoAnn Robinson and a team of graduate students to conduct a process and outcome evaluation of the Scaffolding Early Learning professional development program. The evaluation examines the impact of training and coaching to promote teachers’ support of children’s executive functioning, social skills, language, literacy, and mathematics skills. Specifically, teachers’ classroom practices and instructional methodologies, as well as children’s learning outcomes, are assessed. Data are drawn from classroom observations, teacher interviews, observations of fidelity of implementation, and direct child assessments.
Evaluation of Tools for Healthy Living (2012-2014)
Dr. Beth Russell is the Project Evaluator for the Children Youth & Families At Risk (CYFAR) funded Tools for Healthy Living project. Her responsibilities include designing the research methods used in the evaluation, completing all data analysis, and collaboration on the anticipated publications that result. This project was a 5 year longitudinal cohort design that targeted elementary school students’ knowledge of self-care practices. The project was administered through the University’s Cooperative Extension department as part of their Urban 4H after school programming, and enrolled 4th -6th graders in high-risk urban elementary schools in the Hartford and New Britian, CT communities.
Evaluation of Programs to Reduce Juvenile Arrests in Connecticut Schools (2010-2014)
Connecticut’s Office of Policy and Management sponsored this work, which provided funding for a small number of programs to develop innovative best practices strategies designed to reduce the number of juvenile arrests originating in Connecticut’s schools. The intent of the project was to support schools in their efforts to reduce school-based arrests, which are a common entry point of youth into the juvenile justice system. CARHD staff provided technical assistance to staff at participating schools in planning and implementing program evaluation plans (e.g., defining the evaluation design, identifying target populations, selecting members of youth participants, identifying existing data and new data that will be required to assess program outcomes) and guidance in developing strategies for collecting and systematically recording outcome data. In addition, the Center analyzed the data collected by programs and prepared written reports summarizing the results.
Teen Talk Program (2011-2014)
This project was a collaboration between Connecticut’s Department of Public Health, Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, and the CARHD to evaluate the Teen Talk program, part of the Personal Respsonsibility Education Program grant. During this multi-year project, Center staff: consulted on an evaluation plan and the development of Institutional Review Board materials; obtained and assessed relevant literature on similar programs; developed and trained front line staff in data collection methods; conducted focus groups with program participants; and analyzed data collected from all sources.