Caleb Kim (Loyola University Chicago)

(United States)

Topic: Developing a university-community collaborative model for preventing youth violence in poor urban communities

Language: English 


University-community collaboration has grown in popularity due to mutual benefits of each partner agency. However, developing a collaborative social work practice between university and community is complex and challenging because it brings together diverse staff, different organizational structures, and unique climates that may lead to conflicts and tensions among collaborators. Because of this potential inter-group tensions, both parties of collaborators often feel overwhelmed and frustrated in developing a collaborative social work practice model. Thus, the purpose of this study is to present a systemic pathway that directs certain phases for university and community to follow through and to explore various facilitators and barriers impacting on developing a successful collaborative social work practice.

Using the BRAVE program as a case study of preventing youth violence in poor urban communities in Chicago, USA, this study identifies four phases of developing collaborative social work practice as follows: 1) initiation phase which begins with prospective collaborator’s strong motivation and interest; 2) clarification phase that determines mutual goals, scope of collaboration, and issues associated with collaboration; 3) implementation phase that identifies roles and activities of each collaborator; and 4) completion phase that evaluates and maintain sustainability.
In addition, this presentation explores significant facilitators and barriers that negatively or positively influence each phase of collaboration. Identified facilitators are agreed mutual benefits, trust relationship, mutual respect, shared power in decision-making, flexibility, and cultural competence while barriers are higher staff turnover, scarce agency space for program, and lack of adequate resources in partner agency and community.

While presenting the pathways of developing a collaborative youth violence prevention program, this study also offers the university-community collaborative BRAVE violence prevention program as an emerging model because it has improved vulnerable youth’s peer relations, decreased gang activities, achieved academic success, engaged with community activities and reduced community violence.