Research: Program Evaluations
- Early Childhood Projects
- Court Appointed Special Advocate Program
Weisz, V & Thai, N. (under revision). The Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Program: Bringing information to child abuse and neglect cases. Child Maltreatment
The Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Program has been rapidly expanding in its twenty five year history although there has been little sound empirical data assessing its value. The present study compared 21 judicial hearings regarding children who had a CASA with 20 hearings for children who were on a waiting list for a CASA. Judges, CASAs, and attorney guardians ad litem provided the data for the study. The findings indicated that CASA involvement improves the breadth and quality of information provided to the courts. Unfortunately, CASA involvement also appears to decrease the involvement of the guardian ad litem.
- Teen court evaluation with a therapeutic jurisprudential perspective
Weisz, V., Lott, R., & Thai, N. (2002). A Teen court evaluation with a therapeutic jurisprudence perspective. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 20, 381-392.
Teen court defendants were assessed on several attitudinal measures when they entered and when they completed their teen court program. Teen court volunteers and high school civics students in a control group were assessed on the same measures at two points in time that approximated the length of teen court involvement for defendants. Re-offense rates for defendants were assessed. In addition, defendants and their parents completed satisfaction surveys. The teen court experience did not significantly impact the attitudes and beliefs of either the defendants or the volunteers. The re-offense rate for defendants was 13% which is similar to other teen court programs and less than the re-offense rate for the general diversion program in the county that was the target of the study. Since this teen court selected youth with the least serious delinquency activity (primarily shoplifting) conclusions about the program's effectiveness in reducing further offending cannot be made. Defendants and their parents reported high levels of satisfaction with their teen court experience but defendants became more alienated from institutional authority. This study did not support the teen court experience as having a generally beneficial impact on defendants or volunteers that would be expected from a therapeutic jurisprudence perspective.
- Georgia Abstinence Education Initiative Evaluation
In 1996 Congress provided funding to states, as part of the welfare reform legislation, to support sexual abstinence education programs. The Center contracted with the State of Georgia to conduct the evaluation of their state initiative. Outcome and process monitoring data have been collected from an array of abstinence education programs, beginning in 1998. These programs will be followed through FY2003, with reports released at that time.
The evaluation director, Brian Wilcox, is also serving on the technical advisory board to the National Abstinence Education Evaluation being conducted by Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.
- Lincoln Action Program
CCFL is presently involved in a multi-year evaluation of the Lincoln Action Program Early Head Start, a program designed to serve high-risk, low-income pregnant women, infants and toddlers up to 36 months through home- and center-based child development services. Under the direction of Helen Raikes, Ph.D., the evaluation involves assessing child cognitive development at 24 and 36 months, measuring maternal mental health characteristics such as parenting stress and depression, assessing the quality of child care received by Early Head Start children, and tracking and evaluating internal program changes. Recent research activity includes work on the role of family risk and depression in program engagement, determinants of parenting stress, and the quality of mother-child relationships among Early Head Start families.
- Operation Job Success
Evaluation of the Lincoln Action Program's Operation Job Success Grant. Job Success is a Job Opportunities for Low Income Individuals project designed to increase participants' economic self-sufficiency through the creation of micro enterprise ventures. Funding for the project and evaluation is the through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Community Services.