On October 28–30, 2009, OJJDP's Girls Study Group (GSG) conducted an Evaluation Technical Assistance Workshop in Chapel Hill, NC. The workshop was designed to equip select organizations with the resources they will need to carry out rigorous evaluations of their gender-responsive delinquency prevention and intervention programs, which are designed specifically to meet the unique needs of girls.
Girls and boys experience many of the same risk factors for delinquency, but they differ in sensitivity to and rate of exposure to these risks. As a result, they often have different programming needs. Established in 2004, the Girls Study Group was convened to study the patterns and causes of female delinquency and to provide scientifically sound and useful guidance on gender-responsive strategies for preventing or reducing girls' involvement in violence and delinquency. A major goal is the identification of programs that have a proven track record in helping girls who have entered or are at risk of entering the juvenile justice system. Comprehensive and accurate evaluations of those programs are essential to determining what strategies work best for girls.
Although there are many unique and much-needed gender-responsive programs currently operating in communities, the technical and financial resources needed to evaluate their effectiveness is limited. The Girls Study Group wanted to be responsive to these programs by organizing a workshop that would meet the specific needs of selected programs.
At the workshop, each of the 10 selected programs was matched with an evaluation expert from RTI International, who tailored instruction specifically to the needs of the program. Each participant left the workshop with a customized practical plan with next steps for their program's evaluation and a renewed commitment to documenting the effectiveness of their programs' ability to prevent or reduce girls' involvement in delinquency. In addition to the customized instruction, there were plenary presentations on evaluation topics that were of interest to all the participating programs.
Resources:For more information about GSG, visit GSG's Web site.
For more information about OJJDP's initiatives, visit OJJDP's Girls' Delinquency Web Page.