Program overview

  • Four-year intervention focused on addressing trauma, lowering involvement in criminal activity, and increasing employment
  • Persistent outreach to the most difficult-to-reach, highest-risk youth in the community
  • Staged-based approach includes cognitive behavioral therapy, peacemaking circles, workplace training, and transitional employment
  • Mission is “to be a relentless force in disrupting incarceration and poverty by engaging the young adults, police, and systems at the center of urban violence in relationships to address trauma, find hope, and drive change”
Target Population
At-risk individuals
Cost per Participant
Approximately $6,338 per participant per year; $25,000 for full four-year course of programming

Evidence and impacts


Roca is not yet in any of the major clearinghouses, but has demonstrated positive preliminary results in an independent, high-quality evaluation conducted by Abt Associates

  • 33% reduction in recidivism for participants compared to a control group
  • 85% of participants enter programming with violent record; 80% of program graduates stop engaging in violent crime

Best practices in implementation

  • Close partnerships with Police Departments, Departments of Juvenile Services, Departments of Probation and Parole, and other justice system partners ensure that Roca is able to reach young men at the highest levels of risk and provide them with services.
  • Trusting relationships with police departments and community-based organizations help Roca ensure accuracy in its updated-daily safety protocols, which are critical in keeping participants safe.
  • Roca's "relentless" outreach--often engaging with an individual over ten times before they begin participating in the program--allows them to reach young men previously unserved by any other program.
  • Roca expects that participants will drop out and/or "relapse" multiple times throughout their involvement with the program. Except in the most extreme circumstances, the program continues to engage with its participants until they have completed the full course of programming, which takes an average of four years.
  • Roca's transparency on all aspects of operations and effectiveness has built trust across all stakeholder groups, including justice system partners, elected officials, funders, and community partners.