Outcome Evaluation of justice AmeriCorps Legal Services Program

By: William Castillo Guardado et al. Published by: Vera Institute of Justice. Published in 2016.

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“In September 2014, the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), contracted with the Vera Institute of Justice (Vera) to conduct a two-year evaluation of the justice AmeriCorps Legal Services for Unaccompanied Children (jAC) program, which is a partnership between EOIR and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). The general purpose of the evaluation is to assess program effectiveness and progress towards meeting program goals. Whereas the aim of the first part of this work was to assess the design and early implementation of the jAC program, the purpose of the second part, the outcome evaluation, is to begin to track and analyze results of the program as it has become established. Thus, this outcome evaluation report presents findings from the first 17 months of the jAC program, January 1, 2015 to May 31, 2016.”

Highlights include:

  • “jAC cases are 71 percent more likely to have a successful outcome, defined as administrative closure, termination or relief, than unrepresented cases; of completed jAC cases, 88 percent were successful (as were 88 percent of other represented cases), as compared with 18 percent of unrepresented cases” (p. iv).
  • 99 percent of the 2,309 unaccompanied children were screened for trafficking/abuse. They identified 29 children as victims and 6 children as potential victims (1.5% of the total cases).
  • “Qualitative data suggest that under-identification still occurs because of uncertainties about what constitutes trafficking and abuse. Attorneys not sufficiently familiar with indicators of trafficking and abuse, nor are children necessarily aware when they are victims of crime” (p. iv).

Categories: Immigration, Legal Aid Attorneys, Legal Aid Practitioners, Limited English Proficiency (LEP), Migrants/Immigrants, National, Researchers and Academics

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