Opportunities Beyond the Narrative: An Intervention for Justice-Involved Youth

  • STATUS
    Recruiting
  • End date
    Jul 15, 2023
  • participants needed
    1500
  • sponsor
    WestEd
Updated on 12 May 2022
Accepts healthy volunteers

Summary

WestEd and its partners Urban Strategies, the Los Angeles County Probation Department, Boys Republic, California Family Life Center, and Eggleston Youth Centers Inc. are conducting a quasi-experimental design to evaluate an innovative teen pregnancy prevention program, Project With, for incarcerated and other justice-involved youth in Southern California. Project With is a 12-lesson literary-based curriculum that utilizes group discussions of literary works and films to address personal relationships and sexual health topics. This study involves youth (age 15-19) at high risk for involvement in risky sexual behaviors, including teen pregnancy. The intervention shows potential to promote optimal health and reduce teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among incarcerated and other justice-involved youth, based on a previous formative evaluation of the intervention in 2018-2020. The purpose of this study is to test the curriculum on a population of incarcerated and other justice-involved youth.

Description

Urban Strategies was funded by a Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP) grant from the Office of Population Affairs (OPA) within the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to conduct a rigorous evaluation of a TPP program, Project With, to determine the impact of this innovative literary-based curriculum for incarcerated and other justice-involved youth. Project With is a 12-lesson literary-based curriculum, typically delivered in six weekly sessions, with each session having two one-hour long lessons and a meal with facilitators in between the two lessons. Each lesson includes a discussion of selected literary works, including poetry, short stories, and excerpts from films and other videos. The intervention shows potential to promote optimal health and reduce teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among incarcerated and other justice-involved youth. This intervention builds upon a former TPP grant. A formative evaluation of the intervention with OPA funding was carried out from 2018-2020. The formative evaluation showed that the curriculum, which explores healthy and unhealthy relationships as they appear within literary works and is facilitated by a caring mentor using a culturally attuned approach, deeply engages incarcerated youth.

This study involves youth aged 15-19 who are incarcerated/justice-involved and who are at high risk for involvement in risky sexual behaviors, including teen pregnancy. The findings from this study are intended to contribute to research on teen pregnancy, sexual health, and healthy relationships. The population of justice-involved/incarcerated youth face historical, structural, and environmental factors that bring about distressing sexual health disparities. Nationwide, 20% of incarcerated youth already have a child or are either pregnant or expecting a child they fathered (Sedlak & Bruce, 2016). Rates of teen fatherhood for incarcerated youth are seven times higher than their peers, and rates of teen motherhood for incarcerated girls are one-third higher than national averages. Along with disparities related to teen pregnancy, incarcerated youth have high rates of trauma, thus any intervention for these youth must be trauma-informed. A 2010 Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) report on the needs of incarcerated youth found 70% of all youth had experienced at least one childhood trauma, and 30% had experienced physical abuse, sexual abuse, or both. This study was designed to contribute to our understanding of what works with this population and to strengthen our knowledge base around developing and implementing a sexual health and personal relationships program.

The study will roll out in waves. During each wave a cohort of 8-12 youth from each facility will participate in Project With. After Urban Strategies implements Project With in a given facility, they will wait a period of time (e.g., one week to several months) and will then implement the program with a new cohort of youth. Using this design, each facility will participate in the study multiple times.

Details
Condition Study Will Examine the Impact of Project With
Treatment Project With
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04795999
SponsorWestEd
Last Modified on12 May 2022

Eligibility

Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Aged 15-19
Residing in one of the Los Angeles County Probation Department camps or group homes within a partnered network
Have the cognitive ability to complete the baseline and follow-up surveys in English or Spanish
Need to be at the facilities for at least 8 weeks to complete the program

Exclusion Criteria

Outside of age criteria
Not residing in one of the Los Angeles County Probation Department camps or group homes within a partnered network
Does not have the cognitive ability to complete the baseline and follow-up surveys in English or Spanish
Not remaining at the facilities for 8 weeks or more
Youth who participated in a previous evaluation wave as part of the treatment or comparison group cannot participate in the evaluation a second time (i.e., during a second wave)
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