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OJJDP News @ a Glance

This issue highlights OJJDP’s fiscal year 2023 funding awards, OJJDP Tribal consultations, a panel discussion on advocacy with system-involved youth and parents, and the Preventing Youth Hate Crimes and Identity-Based Bullying Virtual Symposium.
Message From the Administrator: A New Year Brings New Opportunities for Justice
OJJDP Administrator Liz Ryan - News @ a Glance

Staff Spotlight: Performance Measures Coordinator Carla Praylow

Photo of OJJDP Performance Measures Coordinator Carla Praylow
OJJDP Performance Measures Coordinator Carla Praylow. She began working for the Justice Department in 1995, in the Tax Division.

The Government Performance Results Act of 1993 requires grantees funded by federal agencies to collect data demonstrating the results of their activities. Performance data promote program effectiveness, keep federal agencies accountable for program results, and support congressional decisionmaking, the Act states. Carla Praylow has overseen this process at OJJDP since 2012, when she became the Office’s Performance Measures Coordinator.

In addition to reflecting program effectiveness and progress, performance measures play a critical role in helping OJJDP manage its portfolio of programs and carry out strategic planning. The Office also uses performance measure data to identify training and technical assistance needs, revise program designs, and make future funding decisions, according to Ms. Praylow.

Ms. Praylow’s day-to-day responsibilities include ensuring that grantees collect and report data to calculate performance measures, analyzing and verifying the data, and helping develop new performance measures. A team of contract staff supports her. Ms. Praylow also works with budget officials from OJJDP and other Justice Department offices, responds to data requests from the White House and Congress, and provides historical program performance data for OJJDP’s portion of the President’s budget and the Justice Department’s 5-year strategic plan.

“Performance measures are important to gauge how well we are meeting our program goals and highlight where improvements are necessary for success.”

—Carla Praylow, OJJDP’s Performance Measures Coordinator

To prioritize the use of outcome-based measures over output-based measures, in 2021 Ms. Praylow led an OJJDP review of all performance measures required by Office grant programs. Outcome-based measures—such as the percentage of participants enrolled in a higher education program, or the percentage who fulfilled court-ordered conditions—are more effective in demonstrating a program’s impact on youth and families, she said. In contrast, output-based measures track the volume of work accomplished, such as the number of staff hired or individuals served.

More recently, OJJDP conducted a review of eight programs and developed new performance measures for six of them. To develop new performance measures, Ms. Praylow and her team of contractors work with the relevant OJJDP program manager and training and technical assistance provider. Sometimes grantees and other stakeholders also participate in the process. The Office develops new measures for newly established programs, when grantee feedback indicates a measure is not applicable to a particular program or that data are unavailable, and when an external audit—typically by the Government Accountability Office or the Office of Management and Budget—recommends new performance measures.

OJJDP grantees report performance measures annually for the Title II Formula Grants program and twice a year for discretionary programs. Ms. Praylow encourages OJJDP program managers to use the data as a tool to increase the effectiveness and service delivery of individual projects. The most satisfying aspect of her job is engaging with OJJDP staff, grantees, and other stakeholders to make positive changes that improve program outcomes, she says. “Useful data helps with accountability and allows OJJDP to share the great work being done to help youth and families using grant funds.”

Date Created: December 12, 2023