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Does Step-Up work?
Evaluations of Step-Up have shown a significant reduction in the use of violent and abusive behavior in youth who complete the program. Step-Up collects data from teen/parent participation surveys, teen/parent behavior checklists and teen/parent observation tools to examine changes in behavior, attitude and knowledge over the course of treatment.
Step-Up uses a pre and post evaluation tool to measure the youth’s violent and abusive behavior before and after the program. A Behavior Checklist is administered at the intake interview and the last session of the program. Both the youth and parent rate the youth’s use of specific violent and abusive behaviors on a scale of 1-5. Every year since 2000, when the Behavior Checklist was first administered, results have shown significant declines in the youth’s use of violent and abusive behavior upon completion of the program.

An evaluation in 2005 by Organizational Research Services (ORS), an independent evaluation and research firm, showed significant reduction in violent and abusive behavior and lower long term recidivism rates for youth who completed Step-Up than comparison groups.

Key findings from the ORS evaluation include:

  • “Our analysis of short term teen and parent outcomes demonstrated significant improvements in attitudes, skills and behaviors over the course of the intervention. Specifically, the assessment of the Teen Behavior scales related to different types of behavior indicated significant declines in the extent to which youth engaged in such behaviors in family situations.”
  • Step-Up Diversion youth who completed the program had lower recidivism rates (Filings, Convictions and DV Filings) than the Comparison Diversion sample at 18 months.
  • “Those youth who completed the Step-Up interventions have lower recidivism rates than youth who did not complete the intervention or dropped out prior to the completion of the curriculum. At 18 months we find that the rates of Referrals, Filings, DV Referrals and DV Filings are substantially lower for the Completers. In fact, the average number of DV Referrals and DV Filings is less than half that of the Non-completers. After 12 months, the average number of Filings among Non-Completers is twice as high as the average among Completers.”
  • “There is evidence of differences in long term recidivism between the Step-Up JPC (Juvenile Probation Counselor) and the Comparison JPC youth at both 12 and 18 months. In particular, the average number of Felony Referrals is significantly higher for the Comparison youth and the effect of the intervention remains significant in the multivariate regression model. Furthermore, we observe lower rates of DV Referrals and DV Filings among participant youth.”