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Evaluation of the Children at Risk Program in Austin, Texas, Bridgeport, Connecticut, Memphis, Tennessee, Savannah, Georgia, and Seattle, Washington, 1993-1997 [electronic resource]

Adele V. Harrell, Shannon Cavanagh, Sanjeev Sridharan
Format
Computer Resource; Online
Published
Ann Arbor, Mich. Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor] 2000
Edition
2006-03-30
Series
ICPSR
ICPSR (Series)
Access Restriction
AVAILABLE. This study is freely available to the general public.
Abstract
The Children at Risk (CAR) Program was a comprehensive, neighborhood-based strategy for preventing drug use, delinquency, and other problem behaviors among high-risk youth living in severely distressed neighborhoods. The goal of this research project was to evaluate the long-term impact of the CAR program using experimental and quasi-experimental group comparisons. Experimental comparisons of the treatment and control groups selected within target neighborhoods examined the impact of CAR services on individual youths and their families. These services included intensive case management, family services, mentoring, and incentives. Quasi-experimental comparisons were needed in each city because control group youths in the CAR sites were exposed to the effects of neighborhood interventions, such as enhanced community policing and enforcement activities and some expanded court services, and may have taken part in some of the recreational activities after school. CAR programs in five cities -- Austin, TX, Bridgeport, CT, Memphis, TN, Seattle, WA, and Savannah, GA -- took part in this evaluation. In the CAR target areas, juveniles were identified by case managers who contacted schools and the courts to identify youths known to be at risk. Random assignment to the treatment or control group was made at the level of the family so that siblings would be assigned to the same group. A quasi-experimental group of juveniles who met the CAR eligibility risk requirements, but lived in other severely distressed neighborhoods, was selected during the second year of the evaluation in cities that continued intake of new CAR participants into the second year. In these comparison neighborhoods, youths eligible for the quasi-experimental sample were identified either by CAR staff, cooperating agencies, or the staff of the middle schools they attended. Baseline interviews with youths and caretakers were conducted between January 1993 and May 1994, during the month following recruitment. The end-of-program interviews were conducted approximately two years later, between December 1994 and May 1996. The follow-up interviews with youths were conducted one year after the program period ended, between December 1995 and May 1997. Once each year, records were collected from the police, courts, and schools. Part 1 provides demographic data on each youth, including age at intake, gender, ethnicity, relationship of caretaker to youth, and youth's risk factors for poor school performance, poor school behavior, family problems, or personal problems. Additional variables provide information on household size, including number and type of children in the household, and number and type of adults in the household. Part 2 provides data from all three youth interviews (baseline, end-of-program, and follow-up). Questions were asked about the youth's attitudes toward school and amount of homework, participation in various activities (school activities, team sports, clubs or groups, other organized activities, religious services, odd jobs or household chores), curfews and bedtimes, who assisted the youth with various tasks, attitudes about the future, seriousness of various problems the youth might have had over the past year and who he or she turned to for help, number of times the youth's household had moved, how long the youth had lived with the caretaker, various criminal activities in the neighborhood and the youth's concerns about victimization, opinions on various statements about the police, occasions of skipping school and why, if the youth thought he or she would be promoted to the next grade, would graduate from high school, or would go to college, knowledge of children engaging in various problem activities and if the youth was pressured to join them, and experiences with and attitudes toward consumption of cigarettes, alcohol, and various drugs. Three sections of the questionnaire were completed by the youths. Section A asked questions about the youth's attitudes toward various statements about self, life, the home environment, rules, and norms. Section B asked questions about the number of times that various crimes had been committed against the youth, his or her sexual activity, number of times the youth ran away from home, number of times he or she had committed various criminal acts, and what weapons he or she had carried. Items in Section C covered the youth's alcohol and drug use, and participation in drug sales. Part 3 provides data from both caretaker interviews (baseline and end-of-program). Questions elicited the caretaker's assessments of the presence of various positive and negative neighborhood characteristics, safety of the child in the neighborhood, attitudes toward and interactions with the police, if the caretaker had been arrested, had been on probation, or in jail, whether various crimes had been committed against the caretaker or others in the household in the past year, activities that the youth currently participated in, curfews set by the caretaker, if the caretaker had visited the school for various reasons, school performance or problems by the youth and the youth's siblings, amount of the caretaker's involvement with activities, clubs, and groups, the caretaker's financial, medical, and personal problems and assistance received in the past year, if he or she was not able to obtain help, why not, and information on the caretaker's education, employment, income level, income sources, and where he or she sought medical treatment for themselves or for the youth. Two sections of the data collection instruments were completed by the caretaker. Section A dealt with the youth's personal problems or problems with others, and the youth's friends. Additional questions focused on the family's interactions, rules, and norms. Section B items asked about the caretaker's alcohol and drug use, and any alcohol and drug use or criminal justice involvement by others in the household older than the youth. Part 4 consists of data from schools, police, and courts. School data include the youth's grades, grade-point average (GPA), absentee rate, reasons for absences, and whether the youth was promoted each school year. Data from police records include police contacts, detentions, violent offenses, drug-related offenses, and arrests prior to recruitment in the CAR program and in Years 1-4 after recruitment, court contacts and charges prior to recruitment and in Years 1-4 after recruitment, and how the charges were disposed.Cf: http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR02686.v1
Contents
  • Demographic and Household Data
  • Baseline, End-of-Program, and Follow-Up Youth Interview Data
  • Baseline and End-of-Program Caretaker Interview Data
  • Official Records Data
Description
Mode of access: Intranet.
Notes
Title from ICPSR DDI metadata of 2016-02-11.
Series Statement
ICPSR 2686
ICPSR (Series) 2686
Other Forms
Also available as downloadable files.
Copyright Not EvaluatedCopyright Not Evaluated
Technical Details
  • Staff View

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    a| The Children at Risk (CAR) Program was a comprehensive, neighborhood-based strategy for preventing drug use, delinquency, and other problem behaviors among high-risk youth living in severely distressed neighborhoods. The goal of this research project was to evaluate the long-term impact of the CAR program using experimental and quasi-experimental group comparisons. Experimental comparisons of the treatment and control groups selected within target neighborhoods examined the impact of CAR services on individual youths and their families. These services included intensive case management, family services, mentoring, and incentives. Quasi-experimental comparisons were needed in each city because control group youths in the CAR sites were exposed to the effects of neighborhood interventions, such as enhanced community policing and enforcement activities and some expanded court services, and may have taken part in some of the recreational activities after school. CAR programs in five cities -- Austin, TX, Bridgeport, CT, Memphis, TN, Seattle, WA, and Savannah, GA -- took part in this evaluation. In the CAR target areas, juveniles were identified by case managers who contacted schools and the courts to identify youths known to be at risk. Random assignment to the treatment or control group was made at the level of the family so that siblings would be assigned to the same group. A quasi-experimental group of juveniles who met the CAR eligibility risk requirements, but lived in other severely distressed neighborhoods, was selected during the second year of the evaluation in cities that continued intake of new CAR participants into the second year. In these comparison neighborhoods, youths eligible for the quasi-experimental sample were identified either by CAR staff, cooperating agencies, or the staff of the middle schools they attended. Baseline interviews with youths and caretakers were conducted between January 1993 and May 1994, during the month following recruitment. The end-of-program interviews were conducted approximately two years later, between December 1994 and May 1996. The follow-up interviews with youths were conducted one year after the program period ended, between December 1995 and May 1997. Once each year, records were collected from the police, courts, and schools. Part 1 provides demographic data on each youth, including age at intake, gender, ethnicity, relationship of caretaker to youth, and youth's risk factors for poor school performance, poor school behavior, family problems, or personal problems. Additional variables provide information on household size, including number and type of children in the household, and number and type of adults in the household. Part 2 provides data from all three youth interviews (baseline, end-of-program, and follow-up). Questions were asked about the youth's attitudes toward school and amount of homework, participation in various activities (school activities, team sports, clubs or groups, other organized activities, religious services, odd jobs or household chores), curfews and bedtimes, who assisted the youth with various tasks, attitudes about the future, seriousness of various problems the youth might have had over the past year and who he or she turned to for help, number of times the youth's household had moved, how long the youth had lived with the caretaker, various criminal activities in the neighborhood and the youth's concerns about victimization, opinions on various statements about the police, occasions of skipping school and why, if the youth thought he or she would be promoted to the next grade, would graduate from high school, or would go to college, knowledge of children engaging in various problem activities and if the youth was pressured to join them, and experiences with and attitudes toward consumption of cigarettes, alcohol, and various drugs. Three sections of the questionnaire were completed by the youths. Section A asked questions about the youth's attitudes toward various statements about self, life, the home environment, rules, and norms. Section B asked questions about the number of times that various crimes had been committed against the youth, his or her sexual activity, number of times the youth ran away from home, number of times he or she had committed various criminal acts, and what weapons he or she had carried. Items in Section C covered the youth's alcohol and drug use, and participation in drug sales. Part 3 provides data from both caretaker interviews (baseline and end-of-program). Questions elicited the caretaker's assessments of the presence of various positive and negative neighborhood characteristics, safety of the child in the neighborhood, attitudes toward and interactions with the police, if the caretaker had been arrested, had been on probation, or in jail, whether various crimes had been committed against the caretaker or others in the household in the past year, activities that the youth currently participated in, curfews set by the caretaker, if the caretaker had visited the school for various reasons, school performance or problems by the youth and the youth's siblings, amount of the caretaker's involvement with activities, clubs, and groups, the caretaker's financial, medical, and personal problems and assistance received in the past year, if he or she was not able to obtain help, why not, and information on the caretaker's education, employment, income level, income sources, and where he or she sought medical treatment for themselves or for the youth. Two sections of the data collection instruments were completed by the caretaker. Section A dealt with the youth's personal problems or problems with others, and the youth's friends. Additional questions focused on the family's interactions, rules, and norms. Section B items asked about the caretaker's alcohol and drug use, and any alcohol and drug use or criminal justice involvement by others in the household older than the youth. Part 4 consists of data from schools, police, and courts. School data include the youth's grades, grade-point average (GPA), absentee rate, reasons for absences, and whether the youth was promoted each school year. Data from police records include police contacts, detentions, violent offenses, drug-related offenses, and arrests prior to recruitment in the CAR program and in Years 1-4 after recruitment, court contacts and charges prior to recruitment and in Years 1-4 after recruitment, and how the charges were disposed.Cf: http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR02686.v1
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