NORC and Get IN Chicago research includes insights from 637 acutely high-risk youth

Chicago, IL March 16, 2018 –  A recent report on youth at high risk of violence revealed that teens see their families as strong supports but also have ongoing needs for mental health and trauma services.  The findings, part of a larger evaluation by NORC at the University of Chicago in conjunction with Get IN Chicago’s Strengthening Youth through a Network of Care (SYNC) initiative, examined demographics of 637 acutely high-risk youth.  With support from the MacArthur Foundation, NORC is evaluating the effectiveness of the Eisenhower Quantum Opportunities mentoring program on school engagement, criminal behavior, and more.

70% of youth in the study reported trauma exposure, and 42% reported a physical disagreement over the past year.  Nearly two thirds reported previous contact with the police and more than a quarter of study participants reported at least four police contacts.  Get IN Chicago’s work with Cook County Juvenile Probation suggests that four or more arrests can raise a young person’s risk of violence participation significantly.

The report also uncovered a number of positive factors present in the young peoples’ lives.  In the past year, 82% reported discussing personal issues with an adult inside the home, and more than two thirds discussed issues with other adults, such as program mentors, counselors, or extended family members.

“While there is still significant work to do in reaching those more acutely at-risk of violence, data suggests that a majority of SYNC participants have at least one trusted family member or adult connection to provide them with support,” said Dr. Toni Irving, Executive Director of Get IN Chicago.  “This has positive implications for parent engagement programs like those at Family Focus, Metropolitan Family Services, and Youth Guidance, all of which operate in concert with youth programming to better support family outcomes.”

Assessing risk and protective factors for violence is an essential first step to offering the kind of preventive services best equipped to position young people for success. NORC’s analysis gives Get IN Chicago and partners critical information that can be used to shape future services and strategies.  Next steps include incorporating administrative data from juvenile justice agencies, police departments, and Chicago Public Schools to create a more holistic picture of these young people and their experiences.

About Get IN Chicago

Get IN Chicago provides support to funder and community-based organizations working to reduce youth violence and address the underlying, systemic issues that lead to it. Get IN Chicago also studies and funds antiviolence initiatives focused on acutely high-risk youth, those who are at heightened risk for becoming victims or perpetrators of violence.  Get IN Chicago has awarded more than $35 million in grants to 60 community organizations serving more than 10,000 acutely high-risk youth and their families to date.


Get IN Chicago NORC Release 3.15.18