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Case Studies and Evaluation Planning of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's Rural Youth Gang Initiative

Purpose

To assist local jurisdictions to successfully address youth gang problems. Through this 1-year process evaluation, the strategies used by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's (OJJDP's) Rural Youth Gang Initiative demonstration sites to assess their local youth gang problems and plan for the adaptation and implementation of the Comprehensive Community-Wide Approach to Gang Prevention, Intervention, and Suppression Program in rural communities will be documented and subsequently disseminated to the field for use by other communities as a "how to" guide.

Background

OJJDP is soliciting proposals for a program to address the problem of gangs in rural areas. This program, Rural Youth Gang Problems: Adapting OJJDP's Comprehensive Approach, represents the first step in adapting the Comprehensive Approach model, developed by Dr. Irving Spergel and colleagues at the University of Chicago, to gang problems in rural areas. The initiative will implement a process through which rural communities can address their youth gang problems using a structured strategy. Applicants responding to this program announcement should see the Rural Youth Gang Problems: Adapting OJJDP's Comprehensive Approach program announcement for more detailed information about OJJDP's gang initiatives. Copies of that announcement can be obtained by calling OJJDP's Juvenile Justice Clearinghouse at 800-638-8736 or sending an e-mail request to askjj@ncjrs.org. OJJDP program announcements are also available online.

A process evaluation that documents the processes used in each of up to four demonstration sites is a necessary first step in adapting the Comprehensive Approach model to rural areas. Because each jurisdiction selected as a demonstration site under this initiative is expected to have a unique set of problems related to the youth gang issue, such as data availability and accessibility, OJJDP anticipates that case studies will be the primary vehicle in this process evaluation and that additional comparisons can be made across sites, where applicable. Further, should implementation funding eventually be made available to sites funded under this initiative, OJJDP expects that the national evaluator selected under this solicitation will have laid the groundwork for an impact evaluation by providing an evaluation design applicable for site and cross-site analysis and preparing proposed data collection instruments, including but not limited to customizable yet consistent software developed for use in data collection and management in each of the sites. This type of initial design would greatly enhance data collection and impact evaluation efforts should implementation funding and further evaluation be undertaken.

Although the limited research on rural gang activity suggests an intervention appropriate for rural areas, it does not appear that a different model, composed of different services, is required. Rather, an adaptation of the Comprehensive Approach model that maintains the same core services, holds promise for successfully addressing rural youth gang problems. Based on a thorough gang problem assessment, the processes for delivery of services and the mechanisms by which the target population is reached can be adapted to address the differences between urban and rural areas.

Because the intervention this model offers is based on services (treatment and sanctions) to individuals and changes in community and agency responses, an urban location is not necessary. The strategies of community mobilization, social intervention, opportunity provision, suppression (including formal and informal social controls), and organizational development are expected to remain constant. Also, the requirement that these strategies and the services provided within them be highly coordinated, integrated, and focused on a specific population needs no adaptation because the benefits of integrated services would be applicable in rural communities.

This process evaluation is designed to identify and document these distinctions. Further, the evaluator is asked to examine these decisions in the context of the local community and the assessment findings.

Goals

The goals of this program are to:

Bullet Conduct a process evaluation of the planning and assessment approaches used in OJJDP's Rural Gang Demonstration sites and document the approaches for replication by other communities.
Bullet Develop an evaluation design and support package for use in the Rural Gang Demonstration sites should implementation funds be made available after the initial planning and assessment phase.

Objectives

The objectives for this project are to:

Bullet Document the planning and assessment approaches used in each of the Rural Gang Demonstration sites.
Bullet Describe and develop baseline indicators of the nature and scope of the youth gang problem.
Bullet Identify common and effective approaches used to assess the nature of the youth gang problem across the demonstration sites.
Bullet Document the outcome of the planning and assessment processes used by each demonstration site and compare these across sites.
Bullet Develop a preliminary evaluation design to be used if the demonstration sites are provided implementation funding in subsequent years.
Bullet Develop preliminary instruments for evaluating the implementation of the model in these sites.
Bullet Develop common software, data bases, or management information systems for these sites should they become operational.

Program Strategy

Based on OJJDP's experience with the currently funded gang demonstration sites in Mesa and Tucson, AZ; Riverside, CA; Bloomington, IL; and San Antonio, TX, the need for a detailed problem assessment and planning process prior to implementing the Comprehensive Approach model is clear. OJJDP and each of the five demonstration sites spent between 9 and 18 months assessing the local youth gang problem and planning for implementation of the model based on assessment findings. In many cases, the capacity for collecting needed data (e.g., gang crime incident data, youth-related indicators, and risk factors) in the proper form (e.g., aggregated to subjurisdictional levels) did not exist. In some cases, limited service delivery began before the assessment and planning processes were completed, causing "disconnects" that needed to be resolved during the second year of the 3-year projects. To assist rural communities by developing an information base for assessing local youth gang problems and planning for the adaptation of a promising approach, the evaluation funded through this solicitation will focus on the processes used and will conduct full case studies of each of the sites. Additionally, cross-site comparisons will be made where applicable and useful. The evaluator will also be responsible for developing an evaluation design to be used should implementation funds be made available. As a part of this process, the evaluator should develop an evaluation design and data collection instruments for potential use in the sites and develop a software package or data base structure to be used. This data base would assist in collecting the necessary data on youth served in each site and facilitate more effective cross-site comparisons.

Organizations applying for an award under this announcement must fully address in their applications the areas discussed below.

Data Collection

Organizations must address how they would begin collecting data in each of the sites. Specifically, what data would be captured during this phase of the site's assessment process and how? Applicants should also consider the process of identifying common data elements across sites and furthering this process by encouraging sites to seek common data elements being used by other jurisdictions.

Data Analysis

Applicants should consider what cross-site comparisons of youth gang problems would be useful based on site data identified during the assessment process. Applicants should also consider under this section what process data are suggested, taking into account the assessment and planning steps used in each site, the development of a strategy based on an adaptation of the model, and potential challenges and opportunities. OJJDP expects that the evaluator, as a part of a formative evaluation, will assist the sites by providing timely and meaningful feedback on the processes being used.

Planning and Strategy Development (Adaptation of the Model)

In this section, applicants should address what type of analysis would be used to examine the strategy being developed in relation to the assessment findings. Discussed in this section would be issues of proper planning and strategy development and the model's adaptability. Applicants should also address any other possible types or areas of analysis that could be included in the case studies.

Evaluation Design for Future Impact Evaluation

Applicants must address the development of an evaluation design based on the case study data being collected and the processes being observed across sites. Applicants must discuss instruments to be developed for use in impact evaluations and describe a process for creating a common management information system for cross-site use. Applicants must also discuss how they plan to evaluate the programs.

Cooperation With Technical Assistance

Applicants should certify their willingness to cooperate and collaborate with the technical assistance providers and suggest further areas of collaboration or joint tasks between the technical assistance provider and the national evaluator.

Eligibility Requirements

OJJDP invites applications from public and private agencies, organizations, institutions, and individuals. Private, for-profit organizations must agree to waive any profit or fee. Joint applications from two or more eligible applicants are welcome; however, one applicant must be clearly indicated as the primary applicant (for correspondence, award, and management purposes) and the others indicated as coapplicants.

Selection Criteria

Applicants will be selected according to the criteria outlined below.

Problem(s) To Be Addressed (15 points)

Applicants must provide a discussion of the need for this type of project and of the challenges it represents. Applicants should also discuss the opportunities presented in what could amount to a 1-year evaluation planning effort to be followed by immediate implementation of an impact evaluation.

Goals and Objectives (25 points)

Applicants must define goals and objectives for the process evaluation and case study approach. Objectives should be specific and measurable where possible.

Evaluation Design (25 points)

Applicants must present process and impact evaluation designs or describe potential design approaches and their characteristics and discuss how these approaches would improve the resulting case studies. Applicants must ensure that other tasks described under the Program Strategy section of this announcement are addressed appropriately.

Management and Organizational Capability (25 points)

Applicants' project management structure and staffing must be adequate and appropriate for the successful completion of the project. Applicants must present a management plan that identifies responsible individuals and their time commitment as a percentage of total time, major tasks, and milestones. Applicants must document evidence of key staff's and the organization's ability to conduct this type of project successfully. Résumés of staff to be assigned to this project should be attached.

Budget (10 points)

Applicants must provide a budget that is complete, detailed, reasonable, allowable, and cost effective in relation to the project's activities.

Format

The narrative must not exceed 40 pages in length (excluding forms, assurances, and appendixes) and must be submitted on 8½- by 11-inch paper, double spaced on one side of the paper in a standard 12-point font. This is necessary to maintain fair and uniform standards among all applicants. If the narrative does not conform to these standards, OJJDP will deem the application ineligible for consideration.

Award Period

OJJDP will make one cooperative agreement for a 1-year budget and project period.

Award Amount

The award amount for the 1-year budget and project period will be up to $250,000.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number

For this program, the CFDA number, which is required on Standard Form 424, Application for Federal Assistance, is 16.542. This form is included in OJJDP's Application Kit, which can be obtained by calling the Juvenile Justice Clearinghouse at 800-638-8736 or sending an e-mail request to puborder@ncjrs.org. The Application Kit is also available online. (See the Introduction for more contact information.)

Coordination of Federal Efforts

To encourage better coordination among Federal agencies in addressing State and local needs, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is requesting applicants to provide information on the following: (1) active Federal grant award(s) supporting this or related efforts, including awards from DOJ; (2) any pending application(s) for Federal funds for this or related efforts; and (3) plans for coordinating any funds described in items (1) or (2) with the funding sought by this application. For each Federal award, applicants must include the program or project title, the Federal grantor agency, the amount of the award, and a brief description of its purpose.

"Related efforts" is defined for these purposes as one of the following:

Bullet Efforts for the same purpose (i.e., the proposed award would supplement, expand, complement, or continue activities funded with other Federal grants).
Bullet Another phase or component of the same program or project (e.g., to implement a planning effort funded by other Federal funds or to provide a substance abuse treatment or education component within a criminal justice project).
Bullet Services of some kind (e.g., technical assistance, research, or evaluation) to the program or project described in the application.

Delivery Instructions

All application packages should be mailed or delivered to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, c/o Juvenile Justice Resource Center, 2277 Research Boulevard, Mail Stop 2K, Rockville, MD 20850; 301-519-5535. Note: In the lower left-hand corner of the envelope, the applicant must clearly write "Case Studies and Evaluation Planning of OJJDP's Rural Youth Gang Initiative."

Due Date

Applicants are responsible for ensuring that the original and five copies of the application package are received by 5 p.m. ET on August 28, 1998.

Contact

For further information, contact Charlotte Kerr, Assistant Director, Research and Program Development Division, 202-307-5929, or send an e-mail inquiry to charlott@ojp.usdoj.gov.

References

Caldarella, P., Sharpnack, J., Loosli, T., and Merrell, K.W. 1996. The spread of youth gangs into rural areas: A survey of school counselors. Rural Special Education Quarterly 15(4):18-27.

Decker, S., and Howell, J.C. In press. The Gangs, Drugs, and Violence Connection. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Mays, L.G., Fuller, K., and Winfree, Jr., T.L. 1994. Gangs and gang activity in southern New Mexico: A descriptive look at a growing rural problem. Journal of Crime and Justice XVII (7).

National Youth Gang Center. 1997 (August). 1995 National Youth Gang Survey. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Spergel, I.A. 1995. The Youth Gang Problem: A Community Approach. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Spergel, I., Chance, R., et al. 1994 (Reprinted 1996). Gang Suppression and Intervention: Community Models. Research Summary. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Spergel, I., Curry, D., et al. 1994 (Reprinted 1996). Gang Suppression and Intervention: Problem and Response. Research Summary. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Spergel, I.A., and Grossman, S.F. 1997. The Little Village Project: A community approach to the gang problem. Social Work 42(5):456-470.


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