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Street outreach workers an important tool for violence prevention and intervention
Date:8/19/2010

A new study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy describes how using street outreach workers is an effective strategy to reach and engage youth with the goal of violence prevention and intervention. Street outreach workers are typically members of the community who intervene to prevent conflict and retaliation, and in some programs, also connect individuals with needed services, such as housing and job training. While cities across the United States are utilizing street outreach workers as part of their violence prevention programs, including CeaseFire in Chicago and Safe Streets in Baltimore, this is the first peer-reviewed study on a program to be published. This is also the first evaluation of this type of program in a smaller community; the researchers studied the street outreach workers program run by the United Teen Equality Center (UTEC) in Lowell, Mass., a city of 105,167 residents north of Boston. The results are published in the Fall 2010 issue of Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action.

Analysis of the data collected from interviews with the UTEC managers, the UTEC street workers, and representatives from local community groups yielded five major factors that contribute to the UTEC street outreach workers program's success: involvement of youth in hiring street outreach workers; investment in quality training for the street outreach workers; providing street outreach workers with a comprehensive benefits package and team retreats to prevent staff turnover and burnout; establishment of community partnerships; and incorporation of peacemaking into outreach.

"These features should be considered both by communities with existing street outreach worker programs and by communities in the process of establishing one, as they have demonstrated importance for both program success and sustainability," said Shannon Frattaroli, PhD, MPH, assistant professor with the
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Contact: Tim Parsons
tmparson@jhsph.edu
410-955-7619
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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