Choose 2 Change is an innovative youth violence prevention program jointly delivered by Children’s Home & Aid and Youth Advocate Programs and rigorously evaluated by the University of Chicago Crime Lab. As the winner of the 2015 Chicago Design Competition, the program works in Chicago neighborhoods with high rates of gun violence and has served nearly 600 youth to date who are at high risk of being victims or perpetrators of violence. Choose 2 Change receives generous support from the Chicago Sports Alliance, the City of Chicago, and several private foundation partners.
Research Findings and Highlights:
The University of Chicago randomized control study has found that C2C has reduced violent-crime arrests and total arrests among C2C participants and reduced the likelihood that participants will have any contact the justice system at all. Youth in the C2C program have 48 percent fewer violent-crime arrests than youth not in the program. This lower likelihood of arrest for violent crime continues for a year-and-a-half after the program runs when youth who had participated have 38 percent fewer violent-crime arrests than their peers in the study’s control group. The reduced likelihood of any justice system contact also extends beyond the participation in the program. Youth who had been in C2C are 33 percent less likely to have any arrest at all two and a half years after the program ends compared to the control group.
The mid-study results also find that the program improves engagement in school. Youth participating in the C2C program attend an additional seven days of school in the year after the start of the program compared to peers in the control group. They also have 32 percent fewer misconduct incidents in the year after starting the program compared to peers in the control group.
Children’s Home & Aid created this program with Youth Advocate Programs (YAP) in 2015 in response to the Chicago Design Competition launched by the University of Chicago Crime and Education Lab to identify and evaluate interesting ideas to reduce youth violence. Choose to Change (C2C): Your Mind, Your Game – named by a group of young people at the very beginning of the program – is a six-month intervention that combines cognitive behavioral therapy with intensive wraparound and professional mentoring services. The program works with youth ages 13 to 18 who are most at risk of being a victim of or perpetrator of violence. Over 600 youth have been served in C2C.
“Effects of Gun Violence Can Be Reduced in Youth, Chicago Program Shows” – says Children’s Home & Aid board member Walter Katz, read more in his Youth Today article.
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