Federal Programs for Youth: More of the Same Won't Work

Sawhill, I. V.,
Baron, J.
Year Published: 2010
Coalition for Evidenced-Based Policy
Youth Today, May 2010, 2 pages.

These authors say that the federal government's traditional approach to funding large social service programs, including those for youth, needs to be reformed. Most of these federal programs are broad funding streams that fund multiple program models and strategies. Scientific evaluations conducted since 1990 have shown that much of what the federal government funds through these large funding stream programs is not working as intended, although certain specific interventions within the programs are highly effective. One reform that the Obama administration and Congress have piloted recently in teen pregnancy prevention, home visitation for low-income families, and K-12 educational innovation, involves a "tiered" funding approach that reallocates funds to strategies that work. In this paper, the authors urge policymakers to consider applying the tiered-evidence approach across the broad range of federal social programs that are not performing well.

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