advancing youth and community well-being

Ceres Policy Research - Focus

Ceres Policy Research advances youth and community well-being through research and strategic planning. We use a healing-informed approach to build alternatives to exclusionary school discipline and the juvenile justice system. Our work aims to end the over-punishment of young people due to race, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation. 



Ceres Policy Research advances youth and community well-being through strategic research and planning. We use a healing-informed approach to build alternatives to the justice system, exclusionary school discipline, the criminalization of immigration, and other state interventions. Our work aims to end the punishment of people due to race, immigration status, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.


Improving Well-Being

All of our research is primarily concerned with improving the well-being of people and communities that are disproportionately impacted by the justice system, exclusionary school discipline practices, immigration, and other state agencies. Our multi-system data analysis often begins with measuring reductions in suspensions, expulsions, and incarceration to measure success, However, we always aim to capture outcomes such as improvements in relationships with adults, relationships with peers, attachment to school, emerging identities as leaders, and connection to community history as more holistic measures of well-being,

2019 Baseline Data Analysis for the Santa Clara Office of LGBTQIA Affairs. Ceres is conducting a baseline study of the well-being of LGBTQIA youth in Santa Clara County. Pilot focus groups indicate that the primary needs of youth and young adults circle around safety, services needed to thrive, and supports needed to excel in the future.

2003-2017 Barrios Unidos.  Ceres has completed multiple projects with Barrios Unidos including two program evaluations and some contract monitoring.  Most recently, Ceres is partnering with Barrios Unidos to develop a policy brief on the overrepresentation of Latinos in California. The Barrios Unidos evaluation packet was developed by Ceres and includes a wide range of youth well-being measures.

2005-2010 One Circle Foundation.  Ceres completed multiple projects including analysis of national data, a national program evaluation, and an evaluation of a local site funded by Title II. The Girls Circle evaluation packet was developed by Ceres and includes a wide range of youth well-being measures that are grounded in the 40 developmental assets developed by the Search Institute.

Photo Credit:  Llewelyn Nys

Photo Credit: Llewelyn Nys

Photo Credit:  Joe Pizzio

Photo Credit: Joe Pizzio

liberating youth and their families

People of color, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, questioning, gender nonconforming, and transgender people of color and immigrants, experience disproportionate arrest, detention, and incarceration rates. Ceres works with stakeholders to build alternatives to incarceration. The following projects provide examples:

2018-2019 SOGIE Data Collection Project. Dr. Irvine is working with five justice systems across the country to collect sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression (SOGIE) data.  We will then conduct data analysis that provides information that will be used to improve school and developmental outcomes for youth.

2018-2019 Border Research. Working with Federal Defenders of San Diego, Ceres is conducting interviews with adults who plead guilty of federal immigration misdemeanors to determine whether they received due process under Operation Streamline.

2018-2019 Chilling Effects of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Raids on State and Local Courts.  Dr. Irvine and her staff are partnering with the Immigrant Defense Project and immigrant-serving organizations across the country to measure how ICE raids are keeping families from participating in proceedings held at state and local courts.

2018 Slowing the Number of Youth Who Cross from Child Welfare to Probation. Working with Santa Clara County in California, Ceres analyzed system data to determine what factors most strongly predict which fourteen year olds will cross from the child welfare to justice system.

2017 Analysis of Data from Charlotte-Mecklenberg, North Carolina. Ceres is analyzing child welfare, school discipline, and justice data to identify how wraparound services might improve school outcomes for youth.liberating youth and their families

SEEDing social change

Ceres works with many types of clients and partners, from chiefs of probation departments to executive directors of community-based organizations to program officers at foundations to youth and their family members. We are committed to laying the foundation for social change through our relationships with all of these people—particularly deconstructing systems of oppression. Our evaluations and data analysis strive to highlight areas that decision makers can build stronger bridges away from incarceration for straight and LGBQ/GNCT youth of color. Our trainings help line staff build stronger relationships with the youth and families that they serve. Our planning work introduces our clients to how data and other types of information can focus organizations on long term social change goals—and measure their journey towards those goals.

Photo Credit:  Allef Vinicius

Photo Credit: Allef Vinicius