Rutgers Receives Funds to Find Ways to Keep Kids out of Gangs
Community Solutions, Inc.'s $500,000 endowment will support faculty and graduate student research at School of Criminal Justice
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Rutgers research on the best ways to help gang members turn their lives around recently got a boost with a $500,000 endowment to the School of Criminal Justice.
Community Solutions, Inc. (CSI) donated funds to strengthen faculty and graduate student research on reducing the number of youth involved in gangs.
"This is a unique partnership between a social services agency and research institution," notes Paul Boxer, a Rutgers-Newark psychology professor who has conducted extensive research on gang-involved youth and will be a major contributor of the CSI/School of Criminal Justice collaborative. "It marries the delivery of direct services with evidence-based research."
Other principal investigators include Todd Clear, dean of School of Criminal Justice (SCJ), Michael Ostermann, director of The Evidence-Based Institute, and Anthony Braga, the Don M. Gottfredson Professor of Evidence-Based Criminology at SCJ.
Established in 1962, CSI is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Windsor, Connecticut, whose mission is to promote programs that steer youth away from gang-related activity and support family members. For more than 50 years, CSI has delivered supervision, treatment, and comprehensive services to help gang members and potential gang members become a productive force within their communities and society at large.
Community Solutions' program model, called "Multisystemic Therapy,'' is evidence-based treatment that addresses all environmental factors that impact chronic and violent juvenile offenders. It examines the influence of homes, schools, neighborhoods, families, teachers and friends.
Boxer's study of Multisystemic Therapy programs dates back to 2009. Leveraging off Boxer's expertise, SCJ and The Evidence-Based Institute will offer CSI's analysis of existing data from its therapy programs. It will also provide research support, help secure grant funds and develop new programs to deliver services to children and adults in the justice system.
"We see our partnership with Rutgers as a win-win for all parties involved, especially the individuals to whom we provide services," commented Robert Pidgeon, executive director of CSI. "Through this endeavor we can continue to make significant inroads globally." Presently, CSI has programs in California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey (Essex and Hudson counties), Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. It also offers Multisystemic Therapy clinical training and quality assurance to other Multisystemic Therapy providers in California, Colorado, Louisiana, Rhode Island, Canada, and Australia.
The first $100,000 of the endowment has been received, and the balance will be paid out over the next five years to the school's Evidence-Based Institute.