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Social Sciences

SSRI > Center for Youth Research


The Center for Youth Research focuses on the over-representation of minorities in the juvenile justice system; developing and testing delinquency prevention strategies; youth gang behavior and youth gang response systems; substance abuse and drug policy; prenatal addiction services; coping skills of youth with disabilities; status of women and children; welfare reform; early childhood education; educational achievement; school-community relations. and other youth and family related services.



State Incentive Grant Evaluation 2001-2005

An evaluation of the statewide substance abuse prevention effort called the State Incentive Grant was conducted from 2001-2003. This contract was with the State’s Department of Health, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division.

Hawaii was awarded a three-year $8.4 million State Incentive Grant (SIG) from the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The SIG aimed to: 1) to reduce youth alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, and other drug use and abuse among Hawaii's 12 to 17 year olds by building a statewide system of enduring substance abuse prevention partnerships and 2) coordinate, leverage, and redirect substance abuse prevention resources to communities, families, schools and workplaces.

The evaluation documented the changes in the system for prevention and collaborative strategies and activities. Evidence of change in risk and protective factors among the population of communities with SIG-funded projects were sought through an analysis of data collected through the school survey. Community characteristics derived from the school survey for the period before the SIG was compared with community characteristics after the SIG in order to examine possible change. A description of characteristics and dynamics of selected organizations and coalitions that are sub-recipients of SIG funding were undertaken with projects in three different domains (individual, family, and community). The SIG projects selected partnerships in Kalihi, Ewa Beach and North Shore (Waialua and Haleiwa) as case studies.

The evaluation of the State Incentive Grant was led by Principal Investigator, John Gartrell, with Terri Hurst, Gina Pusateri and Abraham Hernandez as Graduate Research Assistants.

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The Youth Gang Project 1990-2005

Research was conducted to assess the dimension of the gang problem by collection of arrest data, profiles and descriptions of gangs, and program observations and interviews. The programs of the Youth Gang Response System (YGRS) were evaluated. The project participated in the YGRS Working Committee and the Oahu Team, providing technical assistance. Youth participants in the programs run by non-profit agencies, the schools and police were surveyed and gang members were interviewed. The project published over 20 reports and articles since 1990 including yearly reports for Hawaii's State Legislature. Meda Chesney-Lind was Principal Investigator and this project employed over 40 student research assistants in its 15 years, along with staff support from Nancy Marker. Many of those researchers have continued to work in criminology, research and community organizations affiliated with youth.

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Youth Service Centers Evaluation 2002-2003

The Youth Service Centers Evaluation, contracted by Hawaii's Office of Youth Services assessed and updated the OYS' youth service center model in light of information gathered from national models, as well as Hawaii's own YSC programs.

Katherine Irwin, professor in Sociology, is Principal Investigator and the research team included Arlie Tagayuna, Graduate Research Assistant and Amanda Lindley, Research Assistant. Six Hawaii Youth Service Centers of the twelve funded by OYS were contacted for either in-person or phone interviews, focus groups and observations. The more intensive study will include on-site observations, in-person interviews and focus groups. Those youth service centers selected for this evaluation included: Boys and Girls Club-Spalding Clubhouse, Leeward YMCA, Family Support Services of West Hawaii, Molokai Community Center, Boys and Girls Club-Waimea (Kauai), and Paia Youth Center (Maui).

The research sought to determine what is working well and what challenges the YSCs faced. A final report outlined the agencies' perspectives regarding the helpful aspects of YSCs, suggestions for others interested in implementing YSCs, and a description of the resources and assistance needed in the future to implement YSCs in Hawaii.

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