As prevention science attempts to integrate with public systems, a number of challenges have emerged regarding the ways in which data systems can be used to evaluate program efficacy as part of systems of continuous improvement, and for policy evaluation. Given the persistence of racial-ethnic, educational and health disparities, these systems must take into account the ways that systems have historically been complicit in perpetuating racial inequities. The goal of this symposium is to present on the conceptual, methodological and substantive foundation of a youth prevention and health promotion program evaluation system that centers youth voice and racial equity. This system is being developed to evaluate the success of part of a county-wide initiative designed to improve the functioning and well-being of youth ages 5-24. Through a series of requests for applications, organizations across the county received funding to support the development and implementation of 40+ innovative programs in the areas of positive youth development and stopping the school to prison pipeline. We are tasked with developing a data system to evaluate the progress of these programs for youth that is particularly attuned to achieving racially equitable outcomes and upholds our values of social justice. The majority of programs serve youth ages 11-18 and occur across many contexts (i.e. schools, community centers, faith-based organizations).
The first paper reports on a conceptual model that integrates youth participation and cross-sector youth data systems. It outlines the current state of the youth voice/participation literature and current methods of linking cross sector data to create big-data systems, and provides recommendations for the role that youth participation can play in creating equitable systems informed by youth voice.
The second paper reports on the constructs that emerged as the important preventive and promotive intervention targets and intermediate outcomes common across program logic models. It then reports the results of a systematic review of existing measures of the relevant constructs, and implications for developing a system of policy and program evaluation.
The third paper reports on a series of focus groups with youth that aimed to obtain their perspectives and interpretations of the constructs identified, with a focus on the role of racial, ethnic and gender identity. Youths’ experiences have important implications for building a data system that is responsive their experiences and the way they see programs supporting their development.
Together, these papers illuminate the possibilities of incorporating youth participation to build more effective data systems for youth who have been historically marginalized.