Youth Violence

Youth Advocate Programs

The Crime Lab and Education Lab, in partnership with Youth Advocate Programs, Inc. (YAP), conducted a randomized controlled trial of YAP’s wraparound advocacy services to evaluate the program’s impact on youth academic outcomes and violence engagement outcomes.

Challenge

Youth violence in Chicago, like in most large cities in the United States, has been a persistent challenge for decades. Chicago has tested many programs and strategies over the years, all with the hope of identifying effective and lasting approaches to reduce the number of young people involved with violence as either victims or offenders.

Opportunity

Reaching disengaged youth at higher risk of violence engagement requires an intensive model to reach and actively engage such youth. One potential promising approach is Youth Advocate Programs, inc. (YAP). YAP’s wraparound services are rooted in building trusting relationships between youth and trained mentors. These mentors work intensively and holistically with youth and their families for an extended period of time, providing individualized, immediate support and connecting families to resources within their communities. In 2018, YAP, Chicago Beyond, and the Crime Lab and Education Lab partnered to implement a randomized controlled trial to measure the causal effects of YAP’s wraparound services on key academic and violence engagement outcomes for high-need youth in Chicago.

Project overview

The randomized controlled trial (RCT) studies the YAP model in its “purest” form by imposing minimal restrictions on who YAP serves, overall program length, and the types of service referrals that are provided. YAP directors and advocates have emphasized that the key feature of the YAP model is the ability of YAP staff to continually modify program delivery for each participant based on their assessed needs and goals. Our impact evaluation seeks to assess the impact of YAP on participants’ school engagement and violence involvement.

 

Years Active

2018 – present

Project Leads

Heather Bland

Heather Bland

Research Manager

Monica Bhatt

Monica Bhatt

Senior Research Director

Nour Abdul-Razzak

Nour Abdul-Razzak

Research Director, Inclusive Economy Lab

Related Resources
Evaluating the Effectiveness of a Community-based Program to Increase Fatherhood Engagement
Report

Evaluating the Effectiveness of a Community-based Program to Increase Fatherhood Engagement

Oct 2018

Pre-analysis plan of the Dovetail Project.

Preventing Youth Violence: An Evaluation of Youth Guidance’s Becoming A Man Program
Report

Preventing Youth Violence: An Evaluation of Youth Guidance’s Becoming A Man Program

Oct 2018
Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) Youth Summer Employment Report
Report

Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) Youth Summer Employment Report

Mar 2018

An analysis of the effectiveness of youth summer employment with a reduction in youth involvement in violent crime.

Bolstering Belonging in BAM and Beyond: Youth Guidance’s Becoming a Man Program Components, Experiential Processes, and Mechanisms
Report

Bolstering Belonging in BAM and Beyond: Youth Guidance’s Becoming a Man Program Components, Experiential Processes, and Mechanisms

2016

To complement the RCT, we use program engagement and qualitative data to develop a comprehensive understanding of the components of YAP’s services and how outcomes may be achieved through an in-depth implementation evaluation. Our qualitative study involved interviews with YAP service providers, YAP clients, and individuals in the client’s personal network; and extended observations of YAP service providers in the field.

Analysis for both the RCT and the implementation evaluation is ongoing.