Kids 1st Project

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ISBN: PS4-42/8-2007

Table of Contents

The Kids 1st Project was a crime prevention program for children 9 to 11 years old. Delivered by the John Howard Society of Windsor-Essex County from 2000 to 2004, the project was designed for young people who were living in the west end of Windsor Ontario and who were at risk of, or already involved in, criminal behaviours.

The objective of the project was to help at-risk children avoid future delinquent behaviour by promoting the acquisition and maintenance of pro-social skills. With an individualized approach, this project aimed to reduce risks and to increase protective factors among youths, families and collectivities.

Over a period of one year, Kids 1st offered children a variety of services and activities, such as group activities, individual counseling, family contact and partnerships with the school. It was delivered by child care professionals and educators on a voluntary basis.

Project assessment

Kids 1st offered children the opportunity to engage in the Attendance Centre Phase for 12 weeks, 3 evenings per week. The goal of these evening sessions was to develop new skills to reduce the problem behaviours. Youths were involved in structured activities, which centered on developing thinking skills, behavioral management programming and various pro-social recreational and social events.

Access to appropriate support services was facilitated by the project's Community Placement Phase. This was available to participants for an additional 36 weeks and included 12 booster sessions where children and their families received structured maintenance programming within a group setting.

The evaluation examined processes and outcomes of the project. Using both standardized and self-report instruments, the evaluation examined attitudes and behaviours of 60 participants before and after the intervention.

In addition to a comprehensive risk inventory, assessment measures were also administered to parents, teachers and project staff at the beginning of the attendance phase, following the completion of this phase and 12 months after their initial admission to the project. Police contacts before and after project participation were also recorded.

Key findings

The process evaluation demonstrated that:

The outcome evaluation indicated that:

Lessons learned

TheKids 1st Project generated a number of important lessons:

Conclusion

Evaluation results indicate that the Kids 1st Project had a positive impact on participants. This form of structured intervention has been successful in addressing specific needs of youth and families at risk.

Kids 1st Project provides a sound basis for future programming and holds good promise to reduce delinquency by affecting risk factors among high risk children and youth.

For more information or to receive a copy of the final evaluation report please contact the National Crime Prevention Centre at 1-800-830-3118.

You can also visit the website of the Kids 1st Project.

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