Project Early Intervention

Project Early Intervention (PEI) provided support to high-risk children and youth aged 6 to 12 years, living in a high-needs social housing neighbourhood in Ottawa, Ontario, between 1999 and 2003. The participating community included a large proportion of recent Arabic and Somalian immigrants. The PEI project was initially managed by the Ottawa Police Service's Youth Centre, which merged with the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa in January, 2002.

By offering a life skills development program, homework club, sports and recreation opportunities and ongoing support, PEI sought to increase participants' resiliency to risk factors related to criminal behaviour. Specifically, the project's expected outcomes were as follows: increased school attendance, reduced crime, violence, anti-social behaviour and calls to police for service.

Priority was given to children and youth who:

Project assessment

Process and outcome evaluations were conducted. The comparison population was composed of individuals who were placed on a waiting list. The members of this waiting-list control group were exposed to the program's supporting elements – such as sports and recreation activities, and the homework club – but were not participants in the project's life skills component. The evaluation sought to determine whether the life skills component had an impact on the children and youth's behaviours.

Evaluation findings reported on 100 children: 82 from the intervention group and 18 from the comparison group.

Key findings

The process evaluation showed that:

The basic factors identified for successful project replication included:

The outcome evaluation showed that:

Lessons learned

Lessons learned included:


Project Early Intervention (PEI) is a promising crime prevention initiative for children and youth at-risk. The project contributed to building knowledge of recreational and life skills programs that help youth become positive members of the community.

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, or visit our website.

For more information on the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa, visit their website address at:

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