Evaluating the Evidence: Setting Standards for Evidence-Based Programs

Posted February 13, 2013, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Blog evaluatingtheevidence 2013

Pro­grams designed to improve the lives of chil­dren and fam­i­lies must meet rig­or­ous stan­dards to earn the des­ig­na­tion evi­dence-based pro­gram.” Casey uses the stan­dards set by Blue­prints for Healthy Youth Devel­op­ment to deter­mine which pro­grams meet the high­est stan­dards of evi­dence. Evi­dence-based pro­grams display:

  • Inter­ven­tion Impact: Sig­nif­i­cant pos­i­tive change in intend­ed out­comes can be attrib­uted to the pro­gram, and research shows no evi­dence of harm­ful effects.
     
  • Eval­u­a­tion Qual­i­ty: Care­ful­ly designed research stud­ies — at least two high-qual­i­ty com­par­i­son stud­ies or one high-qual­i­ty ran­dom­ized con­trol tri­al — pro­duce reli­able find­ings of the program’s effectiveness.
     
  • Inter­ven­tion Speci­fici­ty: Pro­gram descrip­tions clear­ly iden­ti­fy the intend­ed out­comes, tar­get­ed risk and pro­tec­tive fac­tors, the pop­u­la­tion the pro­gram intends to reach and how the pro­gram ele­ments con­tribute to those outcomes.
     
  • Dis­sem­i­na­tion Readi­ness: The pro­gram includes writ­ten guide­lines and the nec­es­sary train­ing, tech­ni­cal assis­tance and oth­er sup­ports to use the pro­gram with a large num­ber of chil­dren in a school, pub­lic sys­tem or com­mu­ni­ty. Pro­gram pro­files pro­vide real­is­tic infor­ma­tion on the program’s costs and poten­tial to gen­er­ate savings.

Types of pro­grams avail­able through Blue­prints include pre­na­tal and infant pro­grams, school-based behav­ior man­age­ment strate­gies and inter­ven­tions tar­get­ing men­tal health and juve­nile delin­quen­cy. The Blue­prints data­base also indi­cates whether pro­grams are endorsed by oth­er evi­dence-based pro­gram registries.

Pro­gram devel­op­ers inter­est­ed in sub­mit­ting a pro­gram for review by the Blue­prints Advi­so­ry Board should iden­ti­fy the lev­el of evi­dence their pro­grams has achieved, then review the detailed stan­dards to ensure the pro­gram meets all cri­te­ria. Blue­prints for Healthy Youth Devel­op­ment is devel­oped and man­aged by the Uni­ver­si­ty of Col­orado Boul­der Cen­ter for the Study and Pre­ven­tion of Vio­lence in part­ner­ship with the Social Research Unit at Dart­ing­ton, Unit­ed Kingdom.

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