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Archive for September 18th, 2012

Circles are for Girls, Councils are for Boys, and Trademarked Trainings are for . . . . .

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 [ONGOING post establishes that the heart

of “The Circle Foundation” and its trademarked training is for behavioral modification

and  again point out that behind this is the generous hand of the OJJDP

and its GIRLS STUDY GROUP .  Also, incidentally, the model’s frames of reference are sexist (Circles for Girls, Councils for Boys AND Young Men).

And etc…


Apparently, It takes a Village of Nonprofits to Raise Train A Child An Adolescent… not to steal, bully, etc

It’s also helpful if the originating nonprofit has people with connections to the juvenile, probation, or LMFT decisionmakers (and OJJDP grants as of 2004):

http://www.onecirclefoundation.org/

 

The USA is (too) full of programs that start and are disseminated in exactly this manner.  Many of them have built-in biases which are not confronted because of the distribution network, and because of the connections with the founders of the program material.  While private resources (i.e., here, from a major progressive nonprofit social change foundation in San Francisco) are involved — so are almost ALWAYS, public (federal, state, county) funds; this is an economic matter and a degradation of representative government.

So many of our public issues relate precisely to the income tax and the caste system created by the for-profit/non-profit power differentials.  ALL social and societal relationships are affected by this, with the favor and advantage going to those whose social connections and/or background are willing to take advantage of wage-earners by themselves operating under nonprofits. I hope this post sheds some light on the situation through a single example.

I am not going to track the funding on this — but note the founders, who jumpstarted it, and the content.  It’s a pattern.   For example, while this may sound like a great idea (support youth, stop bullying, etc.) — there are almost NO solutions which don’t have some inherent bias.  This is not a true “circle” program as the indigenous groups it’s modeled after, or allegedly modeled after — because of the technological advantage of the replicated curricula, and the uniformity of purpose in the founders.  The same inherent bias is built into ALL the models executed in this manner.

Conversational style with examples & narrative, as ever; this is not designed for power-point digestion.  See if it make sense, please also retweet.  

Please read — aloud, preferably — this 3-page (including references) description of “GIRLS CIRCLE” called “Is Girls Circle an Evidence-based Program?,” written when this was still under the umbrella of The Tides Center; notice the behavioral-health language, and also the Title II funding.  Just pay attention, and ask, who — really — should be in charge of behavioral modification for our youth.  Notice also, how the model began as aimed at risky populations (delinquent, etc.) but was intended to expand to “low-risk” populations, i.e., everyone.   Why should Girls be put in Circles (and boys & young men in “Councils”) to modify their behavior, rather than the institutions who failed to protect them from abuse, or in general eroded their meaningful connections with caring adults (systemically) be put into circles by the public and see if we can get a “behavioral modification” on whatever it was failed to protect them (for the most part) from abusive environments?


Found on-line at http://www.girlscircle.com/docs/EB-Principles-GC.pdf

“Is Girls Circle an Evidence-based Program?”

Nationally recognized as a promising approach by the OJJDP,** the Girls Circle program was implemented in a three year Title II grant-funded program through the Sonoma County Probation Department and community based organizations in Sonoma County, CA. Named “Circles Across Sonoma,” the program was highly praised by facilitators, probation officers, girls and families. While evaluation is underwayi, the program has been renewedii by the Sonoma County Probation Department for the 2010-2011 year. To date, over 900 girls have completed the program with a strong completion success rate. Data thus far indicate significance in body image, self-efficacy/esteem, and communication to adults. Completed analysis is expected at year end 2010. Previous national studies on the model have seen significant increases in girls’ social support, perception of body image, self-efficacy, attachment to school and communication with adults. Importantly, significant decreases have been seen in girls’ self-harm and drinking behaviors.iii

It has two co-founders (see photos below).  One of them had prior (I think) connections as a consultant with the OJJDP, a major grants funder .  (Giovanna Taormina).  This description of Girls Circles(r) program course doesn’t mention that, making the OJJDP recommendation look more impartial than it is. Other than this reference, per LinkedIn (St Martin of Tours (?which one?), i.e., Catholic upbringing looks like, Santa Clara University (no major shown) and 1993-1995, USF in “organizational training and development.  Apparently about this time she got involved in running some classes for girls in the justice system…).

Ms. Taormina is the only non-doctoral participant (citing Executive Director of “Girls Circles Association” as her title, i.e., she heads this nonprofit) in “The Girls Study Group, Understanding and Responding to Girls’ Delinquency” which is an OJJDP-convened project which is contracted out to someone working at RTI International out of “Research Triangle Park” (“Turning knowledge into practice“) North Carolina.  The fields RTI International (see WHERE…)… (and the US Government) is into are described as:

RTI is home to experts across the social, engineering, and laboratory sciences—including health**, drug discovery and developmenteducation and training,** surveys and statisticsinternational developmenteconomic and social policyadvanced technologyenergy and the environment, and laboratory and chemistry services.

**while RTI have 4 “experts” under Educ & Training, there are about three or four dozen under “Health Research,” many of which overlap with crime prevention (i.e., behavioral modification, criminology, behavioral neuroscience, etc.)

.

OJJDP NTTAC logo and National Training and Technical Assistance text A Program of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention text

What we are talking about in OJJDP is a major office of the US Department of Justice authorized by Act of Congress in 1974, and reauthorized in 2002.  It has national scope, major resources, and directs those resources according to its goals.  It is NOT an office of our USA government to be ignorant of — but I was, until in the last year or so, as I began researching grants! For reference of the scope:

OJJDP Infrastructure and Funding

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is authorized by the Juvenile Justice and Prevention (JJDP) Act of 1974 and subsequent amendments (reauthorized in 2002) to administer Federal programs and to provide national leadership, coordination, and resources to prevent and respond to juvenile delinquency and victimization.

OJJDP provides block grants and discretionary funding to States, territories, localities, and private organizations, including nonprofits. The block grant funding is disbursed to States and territories through Formula Grants and Prevention money.  A Juvenile Justice Specialist is selected for each State to administer the funding to units of local government and private organizations through subgrant awards.

OJJDP’s discretionary funding is awarded through a competitive grant application process. Each year, OJJDP publishes a proposed program plan seeking public comment about proposed discretionary funding opportunities for activities covered under parts D and E of the JJDP Act. The proposed plan is published in the Federal Register and posted online. Once the public comments are evaluated, the program plan is finalized and published in the Federal Register. Program announcements for discretionary funding opportunities are disseminated to potential applicants and posted on OJJDP’s Web site. The funding levels, eligibility requirements, and application deadlines are detailed in the announcements. In an effort to expedite and streamline the receipt, review, and processing of funding requests, OJJDP requires that applications for funding be submitted through the Internet using the Office of Justice Programs online Grants Management System.

—-The NTTAC is trying to produce a One-Stop Shop for Practitioners to know What works.  The Circle Foundation (which began with “Girls Circle Association” as a project of The Tides Center) is part of this.

Girls Study Group

About the Study:

The goal of the Girls Study Group project was to develop a research foundation to enable communities to make sound decisions about how best to prevent and reduce delinquency and violence by girls. The Girls Study Group was responsible for developing and providing scientifically sound and useful guidance on program development and implementation to policymakers, practitioners, and the researchers.

About the Group:

The Girls Study Group, an interdisciplinary group of scholars and practitioners convened by OJJDP, came together to develop a comprehensive research foundation for understanding and responding to girls’ involvement in delinquency. The Study Group members brought with them complementary and multidisciplinary backgrounds and experiences that encompassed the range of knowledge needed to understand and explain female delinquency. The group included sociologists, psychologists, criminologists, and gender studies experts, as well as researchers and practitioners with legal and girls’ program development experience. The group was supported by RTI staff working under the leadership of Dr. Stephanie R. Hawkins, a research clinical psychologist.

This is where websites which at first glance look like their own companies, initiatives, or which (in short) look independent, simply often are not.
Therefore, to understand such things as GIRLS’ CIRCLES or THE COUNCIL FOR BOYS and YOUNG MEN or WOMENS CIRCLE (let alone foundations called THE CIRCLE FOUNDATION whose trainings are being run nationwide), an understanding of HOW the program directors came together, what is their professional background (and associations) and what is their INTENT — is important. Right now, it looks like the intent is crime prevention, and the marketing (besides the obvious, “program service revenue”) also provides a large database of people to practice behavioral modification on. I’ve colorcoded the quote by background color:
In short, the vast resources of the USDOJ are being pooled (throughOJJDP), to also pool the wisdom of the experts with the intent to advise communities on how to control their girl population, and prevent delinquency.  That this is headed up by a psychologist, contains no “citizen representatives” and doesn’t have a significant expert in violence against women (i.e., relationship of delinquency to prior child abuse, etc.) although such studies have already been run by the CDC –is significant.  This is about behavioral modification testing for already delinquent girls (are they young women? not til they turn 18?).

 The research behind Girls Circle is clinically sound and based on solid approaches endorsed by the behavioral health sciences field. Like its parent Motivational Interviewing and Strengths- Based approaches, Girls Circle does have the versatility to be applied to low risk populations such as schools, camp and after school programs, job training programs, mentoring, and it is now being demonstrated as a valuable program that makes sense in correctional and rehabilitative settings as well.

The strengths-based, motivational interviewing Girls Circle program: (1) enhances treatment readiness and client responsivity, and (2) develops and fosters a positive culture of self directed change. In the behavioral health sciences field, it has been demonstrated that program outcomes are substantially improved when the treatment readiness and client responsivity is enhanced. Clinically, this makes sense – if the client is not receptive to the program, or if the client has not resolved the ambivalence to change, it would be a struggle for that client to meet program goals.

The value of Girls Circle is as follows: this structured program addresses girls’ inherent needs and strengths to connect with others.


Further lookups show in a 2008 publication at “NCJRS.gov” that this Girls Study Group was convened in 2004, headed up by a Margaret A. Zahn (professor at NC State) (doesn’t say in what) and at this time also contained as the only NON-Doctor in the list, Ms. Taormina in her capacity as heading up Girls Circle Association (the Tides Connection wasn’t referenced, although at this time GCA was not independent of Tides, I’m pretty sure):

The Girls Study Group, Charting the Way to Delinquency Prevention for Girls

Girls Study Group Members  ” J. Robert Flores, Administrator”**

J. Robt Flores is Administrator presumably because at this time he headed up OJJDP since 2002 (Bush appointee) at this time, which is relevant — as there was a scandal regarding grants-steering (esp. to faith-based orgs) that, thanks to an investigative reporter at Youth Today, resulted in a House Oversight Committee Hearings (waxman) on cronyism!

I may have blogged, more info here:  

  • Dr. Margaret A. Zahn, Principal Investigator, Girls Study Group (2004–March 2008) Senior Research Scientist, RTI International; Professor, North Carolina State University

Again, this GIRLS STUDY GROUP was convened in 2004.  Dr. Zahn came to RTI from the USDOJ per July 2003 RTI announcement, please read the RTI bio.  Seems very well qualified, but no question she is a sociologist, not just criminologist.

RTI established a dedicated Crime, Justice Policy, and Behavior Program in 2000. The program currently has more than 25 staff with professional backgrounds in criminology, economics, psychology, public health, and sociology.

Research Triangle Park, NC — Dr. Margaret Zahn has joined RTI as the director of RTI International’s Crime, Justice Policy, and Behavior Program. Dr. Zahn is a nationally renowned criminologist whose research focuses on violence and homicide in the United States.

Dr. Zahn comes to RTI from the U.S. Department of Justice, where she was director of the Violence and Victimization Division. In this role, she co-led the Task Force on Social Science Studies of Terrorism and directed a $35 million portfolio on studies of violence.

Prior to her service with the Department of Justice, Dr. Zahn was the Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and a professor of sociology at N.C. State University for six years. She continues to serve as an N.C. State professor of sociology  and will facilitate partnerships between RTI and the social sciences at the university. …

  • Dr. Stephanie r. Hawkins, Principal Investigator, Girls Study Group (April 2008–Present) Research Clinical Psychologist, RTI International  {{NOTE: current director of Girls Study Group}}
  • Dr. robert Agnew, Professor, Department of Sociology, Emory University
  • Dr. elizabeth cauffman, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, University of California–Irvine
  • Dr. Meda chesney-Lind, Professor, Women’s Studies Program, University of Hawaii–Manoa
  • Dr. Gayle Dakof, Associate Research Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Miami
  • Dr. Del elliott, Director, Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence, University of Colorado
  • Dr. barry Feld, Professor, School of Law, University of Minnesota
  • Dr. Diana Fishbein, Director, Transdisciplinary Behavioral Science Program, RTI International
  • Dr. Peggy Giordano, Professor of Sociology, Center for Family and Demographic Research, Bowling Green State University
  • Dr. candace Kruttschnitt, Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Minnesota
  • Dr. Jody Miller, Associate Professor, Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Missouri–St. Louis
  • Dr. Merry Morash, Professor, School of Criminal Justice, Michigan State University
  • Dr. Darrell Steffensmeier, Professor, Depart­ ment of Sociology, Pennsylvania State University
  • Ms. Giovanna Taormina, Executive Director, Girls Circle Association
  • Dr. Donna-Marie Winn, Senior Research Scientist, Center for Social Demography and Ethnography, Duke University

 

back to ‘THE GIRLS’ STUDY”

The question comes up — with all there Doctors and Professors, what is it about Ms. Taormina’s background (although it’s clear she’s run groups for juveniles (girls) in the justice system, it says, since the 1995) that makes her (out of the entire nation of potential applications) appropriate to be in this study group?   Was it her connection to Beth Hossfeld, LMFT who obviously has connections to many educational, school, and other nonprofits, and “388 connections” on her LinkedIN, being also from the Northern California (SFBay Area in general) community, esp. “Bay Area Community Resources” which provides all kind of treatments, and is getting funding for this from an HHS department

2011  942346815 Bay Area Community Resources CA 1980 03 27,885,322 7,468,924 990

?One look at a tax return (I looked at 2004) shows it is primarily (though not only) targeted at the school, afterschool, and justice systems — and in 2004 had nearly $8 million of program service revenue; in short, it has a huge scope of activity, not just limited to one county or one field.  BUT much of this activity is in the school systems ,and supported by government grants and contracts.

GCA (Taormina / Hossfeld) have been panelists at a BCCEWH in Canada (British Columbia Center for Excellence in Women’s Health).  I wish they’d been down here doing something to investigate and STOP marriage/fatherhood funding so we could put a stop to this abuse of children and women within the institution of marriage.  However this doesn’t seem to be their emphasis.

Trademarked trainings are for visionaries who believe the world should look a certain way, AND know where to find captive audiences// institutionalized youth, and collaborate in marketing with other nonprofits of similar inclination.

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martinplaut

Journalist specialising in the Horn of Africa and Southern Africa

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