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Our Work in Evidence-Based Practice

Programs that improve kids’ lives can strengthen the community and make more effective use of public funding. That’s why it's smart for public systems to invest in evidence-based programs that support kids’ healthy development.

Advancing understanding of evidence-based programs

Children’s ability to meet academic, social, emotional and physical milestones depends largely on risk and protective factors in their lives. Researchers must be able to link improved outcomes to positive changes in those risk and protective factors to demonstrate a program’s impact.  

Using evidence-based program standards, we help public systems identify which programs are supported by the highest levels of evidence. Learn the steps to proving a program is effective.

Developing and promoting evidence-based programs that support healthy youth development

In the past 30 years, researchers have identified a number of programs that have a positive impact on kids and families. Search Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development to identify cost-effective and proven programs.

Casey invests in adapting, replicating and evaluating promising programs, especially those that can be used to keep kids from unnecessarily entering the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.

We also provide consultations to policymakers and public and private agency leaders about steps they can take to support the use of evidence-based programs.

Team Decision Making (TDM) is a promising child welfare strategy that involves children and families, their support networks and professionals in all decisions related to child placement. Casey is funding an evaluation to identify which TDM components are essential to improving outcomes for young people.

Demonstrating that public systems and communities can partner to improve kids’ well-being at a community level.

Casey is developing and testing a new platform to guide public system investment in evidence-based programs, called Evidence2Success. In 2012, Casey selected Providence, Rhode Island, and the Providence Children and Youth Cabinet to implement and improve the platform before making it available in additional sites.

A longitudinal evaluation of the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative is examining the impact of policies and practices on the well-being of young people who are aging out of foster care. To date, research has linked policy and practice changes to higher graduation and GED rates in several states, and to increased access to health insurance in Iowa.

Current Strategies


Public systems, schools and communities guiding public investment toward evidence-based programs that improve children’s growth and development.

Related Resources

The Future of Youth Justice

America’s longstanding youth prison model, which emphasizes confinement and control, exacerbates youth trauma and inhibits positive growth while failing to address public safety.  This report delivers a clear and compelling call to close these youth prisons. It also introduces readers to an alternate model — rooted in a continuum of community-based programs — that aims to set all children on a pathway to success.

Using What Works Series: New Strategic Financing Webinar Recording and Tools

In the latest webinar in the Using What Works series highlighting tools of the Casey Foundation’s Evidence2Success framework, experts described the components of a strategic financing plan for programs proven to work for children and families and new financing approaches being adopted around the country.

Leading With Evidence: Documenting Progress with Data and Evaluation

The Casey Foundation and the William T. Grant Foundation recently brought together child welfare administrators and researchers from across the country for a two-day symposium to build evidence-based strategies that imporove outcomes for children, families, and communities. 

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