Winnipeg YGPF Projects
Gender: Mixed (male and female)
Number of completed Canadian outcome evaluation studies: 1
Continuum of intervention: Secondary crime prevention; Tertiary crime prevention
The Winnipeg YGPF Projects are five community-based projects that provide services and supports to gang-involved youth and those at risk of gang involvement:
- Circle of Courage: Through cultural reclamation programming, education, mentoring, counselling, support, and advocacy, it provides youth with opportunities and social interventions to develop skills and build resiliency. This project was based on the Circle of Courage® philosophy;Footnote1
- Just TV: It focuses on creative self-expression by providing youth a voice on issues that affect them through the creation of videos. The project also provides youth with individualized social supports. This project was based on the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) Comprehensive Gang Model, and the Youth Violence Reduction Partnership;Footnote2
- Project OASIS: It supports African newcomer youth and their families who come from countries of political strife. The project uses mental health assessments and treatment, connections to education, and employment and recreation resources to support youth and families. This project was based on the Wraparound approach and the OJJDP Comprehensive Gang Model;Footnote3
- Turning the Tides: It supports youths’ prosocial choices by building skills and a sense of belonging through engagement in community service. Youth are also supported in gaining employment and life skills by mentors who have healed from a history of criminal behaviour. The project was based on the OJJDP Comprehensive Gang Model;Footnote4 and
- West Central Youth Outreach: It provides mentorship and a street outreach approach, while creating segues for youth to community resources in schools, employment, and/or recreation. This project was based on the Youth Violence Reduction Partnership.Footnote5
The Winnipeg YGPF Projects were centered on recreation (sports, arts, leisure), life skills training, mentoring, counselling (cognitive or psychosocial), attending school, pre-employment skills training, volunteering in the community, cultural activities/traditional learning, employment, substance abuse support, literacy/numeracy training, accessing safe housing, completing community service hours, project specific skill-building/training, and other activities (e.g., legal related, home or custody visitation during incarceration).
Although projects were tailored to the unique needs of differing Winnipeg neighbourhoods or populations, the main goals of the Winnipeg YGPF Projects are to:
- Invest in communities where gangs are an existing or emerging threat; and in initiatives targeting youth in gangs or at greatest risk of joining gangs to improve community safety and prevention of crime and victimization;
- Address specific risk and protective factors associated with youth violence and gang membership to mitigate the risks of gun violence and gang activity; and
- Provide alternatives to gangs in order to help youth develop prosocial competencies and attitudes.
The appropriate clientele for the Winnipeg YGPF Projects is gang-involved and at-risk youth. Within this population, each Winnipeg YGPF Project targets a specific group:
- Circle of Courage: Aboriginal male youth aged 12 to 17 years old;
- Just TV: Youth aged 16 to 24 years old;
- Project OASIS: Newcomer youth, particularly African refugee youth and youth from war affected countries, aged 12 to 21 years old who are in contact with the youth criminal justice system;
- Turning the Tides: Criminally involved youth; and
- West Central Youth Outreach: Youth aged 12 to 18 years old.
Participants are referred through a number of agencies and organizations (including schools, community-based services, social services, mental health services, and youth justice services), through presentations and by word of mouth.
To participate in the program, participants in Project OASIS must be assessed for risk factors and resiliency factors to determine eligibility while participants in Turning the Tides are interviewed to determine their eligibility (previous legal history, level of community service hours, family history, peer group, and goals/accomplishments with respect to program). The other three programs do not have specific eligibility criteria.
Each of the Winnipeg YGPF Projects is unique in terms of approaches and strategies to support gang-involved and at-risk youth. Overall, all projects sought to:
- Foster youths’ participation in prosocial activities including education and training (i.e., life skills training, pre-employment training, attending school, and literacy/numeracy training); employment and volunteering in the community; recreation, cultural activities and traditional learning; and
- Foster parents and families’ participation in activities including: counselling and life skills training; cultural and recreational activities; and mentoring.
The specific program components of each of the Winnipeg YGPF Projects are as follows:
- Circle of Courage uses an intensive approach focused on providing youth with opportunities and social interventions to develop skills and resiliency. Accomplished through cultural reclamation programming, education, counselling and support, and advocacy, the project built community cohesion, as well as enhanced skills and independence. In addition, the Circle of Courage® programming model seeks to instill pride in being Aboriginal, combined with knowledge of Aboriginal history and culture;
- Just TV seeks out youth through an outreach worker who provides links with social support services. The focus of Just TV was on creative self-expression by providing youth a voice in the issues that affect them. Just TV participants create videos on gang life, substance abuse, and abandonment, while stressing the importance of positive messages;
- Project OASIS supports newcomer youth and their families who come from countries of political strife. Project OASIS works particularly with youth who are in contact with the criminal justice system. Youth are first assessed and selected for services specific to their needs. These include Wraparound resources, mental health assessment and possible treatment, and connection to education, employment and recreation resources. Youth also participate in life skills training and recreation;
- Turning the Tides is divided into two parts. In Part A, youth build skills and a sense of belonging by engaging in community service at the Ndinawe Youth Resource Centre. Some youth will then move on to the second part of the project where they are supported in paid employment 10 hours per week (Part B). Turning the Tides recruits and trains individuals who have healed from a history of criminal behaviour as mentors for youth leaving Correctional Services; and
- West Central Youth Outreach provides intensive intervention mentorship and a street outreach approach. The project creates segues for youth to community resources in schools, employment, and/or recreation. West Central Youth Outreach works with youth in several capacities.
Some of the critical elements for the implementation of this program or initiative include the following:
- Organizational requirements: Having a lead organization that is well established; having a demonstrated capacity to support what the project is trying to accomplish with youth; having flexibility in program and service delivery to meet the individual needs of youth; operating from a learning focus and capacity building perspective as a project and with youth; and having flexible funders to support changes in aspects of program delivery in order to accommodate lessons learned throughout the course of the projects.
- Partnerships: A network of partnerships should be developed in support of youth and their families. Organizations should collaborate with schools and school divisions in the education system, governments, health and social services, other agencies and organizations, local businesses, and Elders.
- Training and technical assistance: Staff must be trained about the youth gang approach that is implemented.
- Risk assessment tools: Limited information on this topic.
- Materials & resources: Limited information on this topic.
The most recognized classification systems of evidence-based crime prevention programs have classified this program or initiative as follows:
- Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development: Not applicable.
- Crime Solutions/OJJDP Model Program Guide: Not applicable.
- SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices: Not applicable.
- Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy: Not applicable.
Gathering Canadian Knowledge
Canadian Implementation Sites
Public Safety Canada’s National Crime Prevention Strategy provided funding to implement the Winnipeg YGPF Projects in different communities across Winnipeg (Manitoba) between 2008 and 2010. Circle of Courage was implemented by Ka Ni Kanichihk Inc.; JUST TV was implemented by Broadway Neighbourhood Community Centre; Project Oasis was implemented by New Directions for Children, Youth, Adults and Families; Turning the Tides was implemented by Ndinawemaaganag Endaawaad Inc.; and the West Central Youth Outreach was implemented by Spence Neighbourhood Association.
Main Findings from Canadian Outcome Evaluation Studies
As part of Public Safety Canada’s funding, an outcome evaluation studyFootnote6 of the Winnipeg YGPF Projects was conducted in 2011 by Proactive Information Services, Inc. The study brought together the five Winnipeg-based projects under a common evaluation framework – a mixed methods approach, including both quantitative measures and qualitative evidence from a variety of sources, and a case study that highlighted a unique story or aspect of the project.
Results from this evaluation showed the following:
- Immediate and intermediate outcomes showed changes in prosocial behaviours, accessing services and supports, and decreasing their risk factors while increasing protective factors among program participants;
- The Winnipeg YGPF Projects were successful in supporting youth to make more prosocial choices. They were more likely to influences youths’ own choices and behaviours than those of their families or larger social sphere; and
- Increases in social and family support did occur over time; however, these were not statistically significant. There was no statistically significant quantitative evidence that youth had reduced their level of gang affiliation. While projects strove to guide youth toward substance abuse reduction, no significant changes were in evidence.
For more information, refer to the National Crime Prevention Centre’s (2012) publication.
In 2010, the cost per youth involved in the Winnipeg YGPF Projects was approximately $10,735 (CAD) to $24,242 (CAD) (when all expenses are included – start-up and operational periods) with an average per participant cost of $15,392 (CAD) (Proactive Information Services Inc., 2011).
National Crime Prevention Centre. (2012). Winnipeg Youth Gang Prevention Fund. Evaluation Summary. Ottawa, ON: Public Safety Canada. Available from: http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/pblctns/wnnpg-prvntn/index-eng.aspx
Proactive Information Services, Inc. (2011). Final Evaluation Report: Winnipeg Youth Gang Prevention Fund Projects. Final Evaluation Report. Submitted to the National Crime Prevention Centre, Public Safety Canada (Unpublished report).
For more information on this program, contact:
Research Division, Public Safety Canada
340 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0P8
Record Entry Date - 2018-03-14
For more information on the Circle of Courage®, refer to the program descriptive sheet.
For more information on the OJJDP Comprehensive Gang Model, also known as the Gang Reduction Program, and the Youth Violence Reduction Partnership, refer to the specific program descriptive sheets.
For more information on Wraparound and the OJJDP Comprehensive Gang Model, also known as the Gang Reduction Program, refer to the specific program descriptive sheets.
For more information on the OJJDP Comprehensive Gang Model, also known as the Gang Reduction Program, refer to the specific program descriptive sheet.
For more information on the Youth Violence Reduction Partnership (YVRP), refer to the program descriptive sheet.
For more information about the process evaluation studies of this program that have been conducted through Public Safety Canada’s funding, communicate with the Research Division, Public Safety Canada.
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