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Evaluating a Cognitive Behavioral Approach for Improving Life Outcomes of Under Served Young Women: A Randomized Experiment in Chicago

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $247,500)

This award is for the programmatic implementation of a mentoring program under Category 1 of the solicitation. This program furthers the Department's mission by providing grants for mentoring activities to organizations that OJJDP designates.

The Practitioner-Researcher Partnership in Cognitive Behavioral Mentoring Program will support the development, implementation, and evaluation of innovative mentoring approaches for youth at high risk for delinquency/juvenile and criminal justice involvement or victimization and trauma. These mentoring approaches must incorporate practices that are informed by research on cognitive behavioral interventions and techniques. The program will fund a partnership between a practitioner/service provider and an evaluator/researcher.

Youth Guidance (Category 1; 2016-50747-IL-JU) will develop and implement training and curriculum enhancements to its Working on Womanhood (WOW) Program and partner with the University of Chicago (Category 2; 2016-50755-IL-JU) to evaluate it. WOW is a therapy-based intervention that is demonstrating promising results in reducing depression, trauma symptoms, and violence involvement, as well as improving academic and behavioral outcomes among young women in Chicago. The program targets 7-12th grade girls exposed to traumatic stressors and/or with emotion regulation challenges who attend schools in distressed, high-crime, and low-income neighborhoods on Chicago’s south and west sides. Under this project, Youth Guidance will refine its WOW curriculum by clarifying program definition, target population, and primary outcomes and then implement the enhanced program design with the target population. It will partner with the University of Chicago to evaluate the strategies and the cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) practices central to the WOW program to investigate the impact of the WOW counselor-student relationship. The project is expected to result in the development of standardized materials including the WOW curriculum, implementation manual, and training guide, as well as a Training Academy that will allow the curriculum to be administered with fidelity and replicated in diverse settings to serve an expanded number of participants.


Date Created: September 28, 2016