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National Center of Excellence in Youth Violence Prevention: The Denver Community-Level Collaborative

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Project Summary Preventing and reducing the risk for youth violence remains a significant challenge for communities across the country. Researchers have consistently called for a coordinated, comprehensive public health response to youth violence, but our nation lacks the prevention infrastructure to put this approach into place ? particularly in high-burden urban communities. This project is designed to provide a replicable roadmap for building this infrastructure at the community-level. The Denver Youth Violence Prevention Center (DYVPC) builds from the efforts of our current YVPC, Montbello?s Steps to Success project, which focuses on evaluating a data-driven multi-faceted approach to youth violence prevention. We bring together a multidisciplinary team of researchers, practitioners, and community partners to implement and evaluate a prevention system that delivers community- and policy-level youth violence prevention strategies matched to local need in two high-burden Denver communities. DYVPC activities include: (1) working in collaboration with community partners in two high- burden Denver communities with different levels of readiness to implement Communities That Care (CTC) ? an evidence-based, community-level prevention system that provides a data-driven framework for community decision-making. For this project, CTC will focus on the selection and implementation of community-level prevention strategies and policies that best address community needs, values, and resources; (2) enacting a policy change in violence screening through routine health care settings to identify high-risk youth and match them to evidence-based interventions; (3) conducting an implementation process evaluation to measure community readiness and capacity to build a local prevention infrastructure and monitor implementation fidelity of the community-level prevention system; (4) using multiple quasi-experimental designs to evaluate changes in (a) neighborhood social processes and characteristics that may be influenced by the community-level prevention system and selected community- and policy-level prevention strategies and (b) rates of youth violence; (5) developing an implementation roadmap for future replication and scalability both locally and nationally. The sites participating in this study are two high-burden Denver residential neighborhoods, Montbello and Northeast Park Hill, with rates of violent activity and violent behaviors that are significantly greater than the national average. This study will enhance the body of research that focuses on effective community- and policy-level prevention strategies, contribute to understanding the relationship between community readiness/capacity and prevention strategy implementation outcomes, and examine how effective community-level strategies impact neighborhood social processes and conditions. Additionally, this project has the potential to advance understanding of community-level violence prevention efforts through cross-Center collaboration with the Chicago Center for Youth Violence Prevention. The comparability with Chicago will permit examination of the generalizability of the overall project findings to other communities.
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