Research Is the First Step to Finding Evidence-based Practices That Are Right for Your Program

Photograph of a young woman on her laptop computer while on phone.

The federal government, including the Family and Youth Services Bureau, continues to encourage the use of evidence-based practices in social services programming. If you’re looking for practices and programs to use in your organization, research is a key first step.

To get you started, we’re listing some online databases and guides that highlight youth-serving programs researchers have deemed effective. You’ll want to read about each resource more carefully to learn about the criteria it uses to decide whether or not to include an intervention.

  • The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s Model Programs Guide includes programs across the spectrum of youth services. Programs are labeled exemplary, effective or promising depending on their research results.
  • For issues related to sexual health, the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy maintains a database that lets users filter results—so you can look for programs that lead to a particular outcome, have been evaluated in a certain way or have been used with a particular age range of teens.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Community Guide publishes findings from systematic reviews of public health interventions. The guide’s adolescent health section includes more than a dozen programs, addressing issues such as substance abuse and job training, that have been found either effective or lacking in evidence.
  • As NCFY has already shared, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices for preventing and treating substance abuse and mental health problems can be filtered to show interventions for teens and young adults.

And if you need help assessing the credibility of an evaluation study or identifying programs backed by evidence, you can contact the Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy, which has a help desk and online video workshop.

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