Evidence-based Practice Resources

Understanding Science-based Terms Relevant to Youth Work

Child Trends has developed an online glossary defining terms that youth work practitioners may commonly encounter in evidence-based literature, funding announcements, and practice recommendations.  The site organizes terms into three categories— contexts, interventions, and outcomes—and includes examples of how categories relate to one another. Additionally the glossary includes terms used in evaluation, such as ‘theory of change’ and ‘impact evaluation,’ along with links to resources that help visitors learn more.

Access the glossary here: https://www.childtrends.org/programs-for-youth-and-young-adults-science-informed-definitions


Reviewing the Evidence on What Works and What Doesn’t with RHY

Chapin Hall has produced a series of briefs based on their Voices of Youth Count national research and policy initiative. Missed Opportunities: Evidence on Interventions for Addressing Youth Homelessness, released in October 2019, synthesizes empirical evidence on the effectiveness of programs and practices intended to prevent youth homelessness and to improve outcomes for RHY. Researchers evaluated over 50 studies in order to identify programs with promising results, find critical gaps in the research, and define what works and what doesn’t in addressing youth homelessness.

Download the brief here: https://www.chapinhall.org/wp-content/uploads/Evidence-Review-Brief.pdf


Missed Opportunities: Evidence on Interventions for Addressing Youth Homelessness

To effectively address youth homelessness, policy makers and human service providers need research-based evidence to guide their decisions. New report by Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, Missed Opportunities: Evidence on Interventions for Addressing Youth Homelessness, summarizes what experts learned from a rigorous synthesis of research evidence on youth homelessness programs and practices. This report looks at what interventions prevent youth homelessness, what programs reduce duration and effects of homelessness, and what efforts promote sustainable improvements in youth well-being. Some findings show hopeful signs and potential among key programs, but we still lack the insight needed to determine how to use resources most efficiently. By increasing investment in well-designed evaluations, we can identify and implement solutions that will bring youth homelessness to an end more quickly. 

This resource is eighth in a series of research briefs on understanding and addressing youth homelessness. Access the report here: https://www.chapinhall.org/research/voices-evidence-review.

graphic with text in maroon and yellow with black and white image of youth wearing hoodie and backpack

Prior briefs and resources may be found here: 


Learn How to Build Your Own Evidence Base

Organizations interested in proving a program approach is effective can now use a step-by-step process described by Child Trends in a series of five new videos. Designed to guide nonprofits through each stage of building a valid evidence base, the videos are accompanied by toolkits and other supportive resources. RHY providers testing innovative approaches can use the results to prove new efforts are worth continuing and to secure ongoing funding.

View the video series here: https://www.childtrends.org/project/video-series-building-evidence-effective-programs


Study Shows Mentoring Reduces Recidivism Rates

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention recently released results from a study of the My Life Mentoring program, which works with young people ages 16-18 in foster care. At two-year follow up, researchers found statistically significant reductions in recidivism rates specifically for young adult male participants, and for those who were not engaged in developmental disability services concurrent to mentoring. Cost-benefit analysis suggested that it cost three times more to incarcerate young adults who did not receive mentoring than it would have to engage them in My Life during high school. RHY providers interested in mentoring youth at high-risk of criminal justice involvement can read the full report to learn what elements of the program are most effective, for which populations.

Access the report here: 

Learn more about the My Life Mentoring program here


Report to Congress on the RHY Programs FY 2012-2013

Recently released is the Report to Congress on the Runaway and Homeless Youth Program, 2012 - 2013 from the Family and Youth Services Bureau.

Read and download the report here: 


Protective Factors

In 2012, the Developmental Services Group, Inc. (DSG) was awarded a contract by the Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF) to review the research on protective factors relevant to the populations they serve, which include:

  • Infants, children, and adolescents who are victims or are at risk of child abuse and neglect
  • Runaway and homeless youth
  • Youth in or transitioning out of foster care
  • Vhildren and youth exposed to domestic violence
  • Pregnant and parenting teens

The purpose of this effort was to provide a foundation for the development of a protective factors framework that could inform programs and policy to improve outcomes for these populations. The effort included both an extensive review of the research literature on protective factors and substantive input from a national expert panel, federal agency officials, and practitioners working with the ACYF population groups.

Access the executive summary here: 


EBP Literature Review of Safety, Permanent Connections, Well-being, and Self-sufficiency

This resource provides a listing of research and evidence-based practices for Safety, Permanent Connections, Well-Being and Self Sufficiency. 

Access the resource document here: