Marcia Cohen 2006 Recipient of NJSCA Outstanding Achievement Award

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National Juvenile Court Services Association awarded Marcia I. Cohen, V-P of DSG, Inc., Bethesda, MD, its 2006 Outstanding Achievement Award for her "significant contributions" to juvenile justice in research and evaluation. She is widely recognized for her leadership in science-based training and technical assistance. The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's Model Program Guide, underMs. Cohen's direction, formed the database for First Lady Laura Bush's Helping America's Youth Initiative.

The National Juvenile Court Services Association (NJCSA) awarded Marcia I. Cohen, Vice-President of Development Services Group, Inc., (DSG) of Bethesda, Md., with this year's Outstanding Achievement Award for her "significant contributions" to juvenile justice in research and evaluation.

"It's been my goal to investigate problems in juvenile justice to try to improve the effectiveness of our justice system," said Cohen, accepting the award. "My research focus has been to discover the truth of what works for specific populations so judges and practitioners can be most effective in improving the lives of children and families."

NCJSA past president Alvin Cohn, said the vote by the NJCSA Board of Directors was unanimous and immediate. "They just looked at her record," he said.

For the past 10 years Ms. Cohen has been Vice-President of Research and Evaluation at DSG. She is widely recognized and regarded for her original research and for her leadership in science-based training and technical assistance. Cohen was the principal author of the Gap Analysis Report for Maryland's Department of Juvenile Services. She directed national training and technical assistance projects for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), in Title V, Juvenile Accountability Block Grants, and projects within Formula Grants. She is the director of OJJDP's Model Programs Guide (or MPG), a Web-based system of 200 programs that meet specific methodological criteria and adhere to a strong theoretical base. The MPG was selected as the database behind First Lady Laura Bush's Helping America's Youth Initiative.

Ms. Cohen is currently directing two National Institute of Justice (NIJ) evaluation projects:

  • evaluating the effectiveness of the Girls and Boys Town short-term residential shelter program
  • assessing the impact of a model prevention and intervention program for sexually exploited youth.

Her 1987 book Identifying and Combating Juvenile Prostitution: A Plan for Action was among the first and remains one of the only studies of what works in preventing child prostitution.

Cohen is also noted for her gang research. For the Department of Health and Human Services' Administration on Children and Families, she directed the National Evaluation of the Youth Gang Drug Prevention Program, which examined more than 50 programs throughout the United States and was presented as a chapter in Malcolm W. Klein's The Modern Gang Reader (1995). For NIJ, she conducted an outcome evaluation of gang prevention projects for adolescent females, which was excerpted in NIJ's Responding to Gangs (2002).

From 1991 through 2000, she was co-director of research at the Fairfax County (Va.) Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, where she directed numerous evaluations of parole, intake services, house arrest, recidivism, probation, and residential programs. While there, she also co-directed several studies on the overrepresentation of minorities in secure detention for the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services.

Cohen, who began her career in the research department of the Franklin County (Ohio) Children Services in the late 1970s, has led more than 30 research and evaluation efforts in delinquency, gangs, teenage prostitution, status offenders, runaways, and substance abuse prevention. Identifying the best intervention and prevention techniques has repeatedly been the target of her studies.

The National Juvenile Court Services Association, an affiliate of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, is a juvenile justice training, education, and advocacy organization.

The award can be given for a single event, program, or project that has significantly increased applied knowledge or programs in juvenile justice, for outstanding contributions to community-based understanding of the juvenile justice system, or for a lifetime of work.

Cohen is the fourth recipient of the award since its inception in 2003. Previous winners are Shay Bilchik, currently the executive director of the Child Welfare League of America and former administrator of OJJDP (1994-2000), Howard Snyder of the National Center for Juvenile Justice, and criminologist James "Buddy" Howell, former director of research at OJJDP.

Adapted from Rapport, Vol. 10, Issue 4, 2006. Rapport is the official newsletter of the National Juvenile Court Services Association.

For more information, contact Jane Andrew Bishop at Development Services Group, Inc., at 301-951-0056.

DSG, Inc.

7315 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 800E

Bethesda, MD 20814

Tel:301-951-0056; Fax: 301-951-3324



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