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Youth Guidance

Youth Guidance

The University of Chicago Crime Lab has conducted two randomized controlled trial evaluations of Youth Guidance’s Becoming a Man (B.A.M.) program. The first study found that during 2009-2010 program year B.A.M. improved participants’ academic engagement and performance while reducing violent crime arrests by 44 percent and arrests for “other” (nonviolent, non-property, non-drug) offenses by 36 percent. The study forecast social benefits on the order of $49,000 to $119,000 per participant due to increased lifetime earnings and tax payments, and lower use of public benefits.  In a long-term follow-up, the researchers also found that BAM increased on-time high school graduation rates by 19 percent.

Within EMCF’s framework for assessing an organization’s evidence of effectiveness, Youth Guidance’s B.A.M. program meets the standard of “proven effectiveness.”  

The full report of the second randomized controlled trial evaluation, conducted during the 2013-15 academic years, is due in 2017. In an early release, Crime Lab researchers indicated that B.A.M reduced violent crime arrests by 50 percent, total arrests by 35 percent, and improved school engagement. They estimate that for every $1 invested in the program, society saves as much as $30 from reduced crime alone. 

FUTURE EVALUATION PLANS

The second Crime Lab study noted above continues and will evaluate variations of the B.A.M. core model, including an expanded two-year curriculum, and assess which of the program’s components are responsible for its impacts.