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Grant to a USA or territories nonprofit, for-profit, government agency, or IHE to increase public safety through the prevention and intervention of youth crime and delinquency. Applicants are advised to create or verify the required registrations well in advance of the deadline date. Funding will support evaluation and data collection efforts related to federally funded mentoring programs.
This solicitation aims to support research and evaluation efforts that inform the development and implementation of effective mentoring practices to prevent and intervene in youth delinquency, thereby advancing the Department of Justice’s priority to prevent and reduce crime. With this solicitation, OJJDP seeks applicants who wish to partner with mentoring programs that were funded by OJJDP under its FY 2016 or FY 2017 Mentoring Opportunities for Youth Initiative or its FY 2017 Mentoring for Child Victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Domestic Sex Trafficking Initiative to conduct project-specific, independent program evaluations and/or data analyses. This solicitation aims to help individual mentoring programs improve their effectiveness. Findings may also be disseminated to other OJJDP mentoring programs and integrated into OJJDP program planning.
Juvenile mentoring—a consistent, prosocial relationship between an adult or older peer and one or more youth—can help support the positive development of youth. Research has shown that mentoring can improve self-esteem, academic achievement, and peer relationships and reduce drug use, aggression, depressive symptoms, and delinquent acts. However, research also demonstrates that the size of the effect can vary and there are certain features (i.e., “moderators”) of the mentoring relationship and mentoring program that tend to be associated with better outcomes for youth. Key moderators include the length and quality of the relationship and what types of training the programs provide to mentors. Additional research is needed to further understand the key features and approaches of successful mentoring programs.
Moreover, many at-risk youth do not have access to high-quality mentoring relationships in the United States. One survey estimates that more than one in three young people—an estimated 16 million—never had an adult mentor of any kind (structured or “naturally occurring”) while they were growing up.
Overall, research has shown that mentoring can have a positive impact on youth, but there is still room for improvement—both in enhancing the strength and quality of the mentoring relationships supported by mentoring programs and in providing additional youth access to mentors. Through the development, identification, and incorporation of evidence-based strategies, federally funded mentoring programs can continue to improve their reach and effectiveness, ultimately reducing youth behaviors that lead to delinquency and crime.
In 2014 and 2015, OJJDP conducted a series of listening sessions and roundtables with its mentoring program grantees. Among the issues identified by the grantees was a need to have additional opportunities to partner with researchers to assist with program-specific data collection, assessment, and evaluation. In addition, OJP’s Research and Evaluation Independence and Integrity Policy highlights the importance of supporting independent research that minimizes potential personal, organizational, and financial conflicts. This solicitation responds to these needs by providing support to independent research organizations to work with OJJDP-funded mentoring programs to assess and evaluate their mentoring program models and practices. The research design and methods should be tailored to the specific aims of the program model and program needs, and could include a variety of feasibility, implementation, process, and outcome evaluation methods.
OJJDP supports mentoring programs that implement many different program types and services, are located in different communities across the country, and serve diverse populations of youth. By partnering with independent researchers, mentoring programs can receive assistance in tailored, methodologically sound evaluations and data analyses for their unique design, needs, and target population. Program assessment and evaluation can help improve the effectiveness of mentoring for targeted youth by examining whether the mentoring programs are being implemented as intended, meeting the needs of the youth, and producing the intended impact. Mentoring organizations can use the findings from an evaluation to determine whether their programs are accomplishing what they intend or whether strategic adjustments to their program design and services could improve functioning and impact.
Goals, Objectives, Deliverables, and Expected Scholarly Products:
The goal of this program is to advance the independent evaluation activities of OJJDP-funded mentoring programs to improve the implementation and impact of the mentoring services OJJDP supports. Applicants should be entities with research and program evaluation experience and expertise that have documented they will enter into a partnership with a mentoring program funded under one of the OJJDP solicitations listed below.
-Document a partnership with an organization currently implementing an OJJDP-funded mentoring program.
-Develop a reasonable and feasible plan to conduct a program evaluation of the mentoring program that will improve program service delivery. The purpose of this solicitation is to support research organizations to conduct and complete program evaluations and report on findings that can be used to improve mentoring practice and service delivery, in partnership with OJJDP-funded mentoring programs. The evaluation activities, however, do not necessarily need to be limited to examining (retrospectively) the specific activities or youth served. The activities may focus on the research questions of greatest interest to the mentoring organization, such as evaluating similar mentoring practices delivered to different populations of youth by the mentoring organization or comparing the effectiveness of different activities and practices within a mentoring organization.
-Implement a rigorous, systematic, independent evaluation design that is responsive to the most pressing data collection and evaluation needs and gaps of the partner program. While OJJDP values rigorous, random-assignment impact evaluations, applicants under this solicitation should propose a reasonable research design tailored to the most pressing evaluation needs of the partner program. This may include other types of assessment and evaluation, such as feasibility, implementation, or process studies.
-Develop an approach to providing the mentoring program partner with the training and support to collect the data that the evaluation requires and apply the findings to program improvements. Applicants will be expected to publish findings independently from their program partner (see below); however, applicants should also describe how they will support the partner program in participating in the evaluation and applying research findings to improve their program.
Proposals should describe all products that the grantee will produce from the project. Successful applicants will submit relevant reports and deliverables to OJJDP. These reports and deliverables will be a part of the applicants’ progress reporting or special reports and will include the following:
-Practitioner-friendly overview documents highlighting the project’s goals and objectives, as OJJDP requires.
-Practitioner-friendly interim reports highlighting the project’s progress and interim findings, as OJJDP requires.
-A detailed progress report to OJJDP every 6 months describing the status of the evaluation, methodological and implementation issues, progress toward the project goals, and any other issues relevant to the project’s completion. At the conclusion of the project, the final progress report should summarize the extent to which the goals and objectives were met throughout the period of performance under the award.
-Electronic copies of (1) a final, technical report summarizing the research questions or objectives, methods, and analytical techniques of the study and the findings and conclusions, similar to the type of information reported in a refereed journal and (2) a plain language executive summary of the final technical report suitable for a nontechnical audience. Both documents will be developed and disseminated at OJJDP’s discretion.
Required Data Sets and Associated Files and Documentation. Any recipient of an award under this solicitation will be expected to submit to the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD) all data sets that result in whole or in part from the work funded by the award, along with associated files and any documentation necessary for future efforts by others to reproduce the project’s findings and/or to extend the scientific value of the data set through secondary analysis.
In addition to these deliverables (and the required reports and data on performance measures described in Section F. Federal Award Administration Information), OJJDP expects scholarly products to result from each award under this solicitation, taking the form of one or more published, peer-reviewed, scientific journal articles and/or (if appropriate) law review journal articles, book chapter(s) or book(s) in the academic press, technological prototypes, patented inventions, or similar scientific products. Successful applicants will be expected to notify OJJDP if a scholarly product has been accepted for publication.
Number of Grants:
Estimated Size of Grant:
OJJDP expects to make this award for up to a 48-month period of performance.
To allow time for (among other things) any necessary post-award review and financial clearance by OJP of the proposed budget and for any associated responses or other action(s) that may be required of the recipient, applicants should propose an award start date of October 1, 2018.
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