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Voices: An Evaluation of Gender Responsive Treatments for Girls

Award Information

Award #
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2010, $316,078)

This solicitation is designed to fund grants to document and measure the effectiveness of delinquency prevention, intervention, and/or treatment programs in preventing and reducing girls' risk behavior and offending. This program is authorized by the Department of Justice Appropriations Act, 2010 (Pub. L. 111-117).

Despite the growing call for gender responsive services in community-based and juvenile justice settings, there is little research on their efficacy. The VOICES curriculum is an innovative, gender-responsive, holistic, multidimensional, trauma informed, group intervention for adolescent girls. It is widely used nationally and internationally in community-based and juvenile justice programs to treat adolescent girls with mental health and substance abuse problems. The proposed study will address a critical gap in the clinical and research literature on treatment by estimating effect sizes associated with participation in VOICES on delinquency, psychological functioning and substance abuse outcomes among adolescent girls. Girls (n=150) between 14-17 years of age who are admitted to an outpatient mental health clinic for behavioral health issues and meet study eligibility criteria will meet with a research assistant for a baseline interview. Following completion of the baseline interview, girls will be randomly assigned either a) VOICES or b) Services-As-Usual (SAU) for 18 weeks of treatment. Short-term outcomes include 30-day point prevalence of involvement in delinquent acts, internalizing and externalizing symptoms, symptoms of depression, and days of any alcohol, marijuana or other illicit drug use will be measured at baseline (entry to treatment) and at 18 weeks (end of treatment) and 30 weeks (12 weeks after the end of the treatment) after the baseline interview. Long-term outcomes include arrests and convictions by offense type and severity, which will be tracked for one year following treatment discharge. In addition, resiliency, coping strategies, delinquency and aggression will be assessed, as well as mid-treatment levels of treatment engagement (working alliance, attendance, and satisfaction with treatment). Characteristics that may be associated with improved outcomes within and across conditions will also be evaluated. Higher levels of psychological functioning and lower rates of substance use at follow-up are expected in the VOICES condition compared to the SAU.


Date Created: September 19, 2010