advancing youth and community well-being


Ceres Policy Research has been assisting county agencies and community-based organizations with different facets of strategic planning since 2002.  Our work current focuses on needs assessments, program development, and planning for data collection and evaluation.  



Ceres Policy Research has been assisting national initiatives, philanthropic funds, county agencies and community-based organizations with different facets of strategic planning since 2002.  Our work currently focuses on developing data systems to document success, program development, and community needs assessments.  


Photo Credit:  Allef Vinicius

Photo Credit: Allef Vinicius

Developing data systems to document success

Dr. Irvine has been conducting research and program evaluations for over twenty years.  She is turning that expertise into technical assistance for organizations that are interested in developing data collection systems or evaluating their programs in order to become fiscally sustainable. This assistance may also take the form of creating evaluation packets with logic models and youth surveys that can be used for multiple sites.

2018 Life Comes From It Fund.  Ceres is working with Life Comes From It—a fund that supports emerging leaders of color within the restorative justice, transformative justice, and peace circle communities—to develop a theory of change and set of questions that this philanthropic fund can use to track the successes and challenges experienced by grantees.

2018 Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice (CURYJ). Ceres worked with CURYJ to set up a plan for collecting and analyzing participant surveys that can be used by the organization moving forward to improve programming.

2018 Ahimsa Collective. Ceres is working with Project Ahimsa, a Just Beginnings Collaborative grantee, to evaluate the outcomes of a restorative justice circle for men who have experienced and caused sexual harm. We developed a logic model and participant survey that will capture a wide range of outcomes such as building positive social relationships, increasing healthy ways to feel power and control, and increasing empathy for survivors.

2010 Barrios Unidos Evaluation. Ceres partnered with Barrios Unidos to develop a logic model and youth survey that could be used in multiple sites to measure youth outcomes.  These documents were compiled into an evaluation packet.

2007 Girls Circle, Inc. Evaluation. Ceres partnered with Girls Circle, Inc. to develop a logic model and youth survey that could be used in multiple sites to measure youth outcomes.  These documents were compiled into an evaluation packet that is still used by the organization, which is now called One Circle Foundation.

Program Development

For over twenty years, Dr. Irvine has been partnering with community-based organizations and counties to develop programs that will be successfully funded by foundations and fund-granting government agencies. Four examples follow:

2018 Forward Change. Dr. Irvine is working with Impact Justice and Forward Change to help two organizations, the Brotherhood Crusade and the Social Justice Learning Initiative, to develop programming that will allow them to better serve probation-involved youth in Los Angeles.

2018 National Girls Initiative. Dr. Irvine is partnering with the National Crittenton Foundation and their National Girls Initiative to provide technical assistance to organizations across the country creating programs for girls of color.  Dr. Irvine and her staff are particular experts on how to address the needs of LGBQ/GNCT youth of color.

2007 Girls Circle, Inc. Evaluation. Ceres completed a program evaluation of Girls Circle sites across the country.  Once this research was completed, we used findings to provide guidance on how to better serve girls of color and LBQ/GNCT girls.

2005 Evaluation of Abriendo Caminos de la Comunidad. As with many clients, Ceres partnered with county agencies to develop programs that were included in grant applications. 

Photo Credit:  Frank McKenna

Photo Credit: Frank McKenna

Photo Credit:  Bekawoof.com

Photo Credit: Bekawoof.com

Community Needs Assessments

As non-profit organizations, government agencies, and task forces begin new work in a community, there is often a need to conduct needs assessments to determine gaps in services, particularly when programs are being designed for groups that traditionally do not participate in research.  Ceres Policy Research has completed the following needs assessments through survey or multi-system data analysis:

2018 Reclaiming Futures Initiative. Ceres is partnering with the Reclaiming Futures Initiative to analyze behavioral health and justice system data from five jurisdictions across the country to determine how programming needs to be revised to improve outcomes for youth.

2018 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.

2008 Youth Substance Use Survey for Santa Cruz Reclaiming Futures Site. Ceres surveyed eight high schools to determine youth substance use in Santa Cruz County.

2005 Survey of Girls At-Risk of Justice Involvement in Santa Cruz County. Ceres, in partnership with the Santa Cruz County Girls Task Force, surveyed over 200 boys and girls to assess the service needs of girls at-risk of justice involvement. 

2005 Health Assessment of Santa Cruz Latino Immigrants. Ceres, in partnership with Barrios Unidos, surveyed Latino immigrant families in central and north Santa Cruz County to determine the health needs of this population. 

2005 Parolee Needs Assessment. Ceres conducted a survey to determine the reentry needs of parolees in Santa Cruz County.