Continuous CLA for Adapting Complex Programs: Implementing a Violence Prevention Model Around the World
This case is about absorbing the realities of families living in high-risk communities in different countries to adapt an intervention proven to reduce risks of gang-joining in the U.S. It is about adaping the Los Angeles Gang Reduction and Youth Development secondary prevention model, hereafter referred to as the “LA model,” to six countries through USAID/State Department funding: Honduras (2013-2015, 2016-2019), El Salvador (2014-2018), Eastern and Southern Caribbean (2016-2020) and Tunisia (2017-2018). Creative’s adapted version of the LA model is called the Prevention and Intervention Family Systems Model (PIFSM). PIFSM comprises two interrelated processes: 1) a diagnostic called the Youth Service Eligibility Tool (YSET) that measures a youth against nine risk factors predictive of gang joining; and 2) the seven-phase family systems intervention that has proven to reduce a youth’s risk as identified by the YSET.
Challenge: Gang/youth group violence has grown in the last 10 years in Central America and the Caribbean and common suppressive approaches have failed to address the problem. Beginning in 2010, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras began to embrace preventive strategies as an alternative, but with few evidence-based models to draw upon. The U.S. evidence base shows that secondary interventions (those targeting youth scientifically likely to join criminal street gangs) are effective at reducing gang-joining. Yet, there was no such model in the region in 2014 when USAID/the State Department adopted a place-based strategy to combat insecurity. Exporting evidence-based models to these countries and beyond required adaptation. CLA Solution: Collaboration and learning presented a natural solution to the challenge of adapting and has become intrinsic to Creative's scaling and replication of PIFSM.