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Child Trends is a leader in evaluation research and brings deep expertise in evaluation design, implementation, and analysis and also in the synthesis of findings from rigorous program evaluations. This expertise extends across multiple program areas, including youth development, child welfare, early childhood, education, teen pregnancy prevention, parenting and fatherhood. Our special focus on outcomes and implementation evaluations enables us to provide data-driven guidance to policy makers, practitioners, foundations and others interested in what works to improve the lives of children and families. In an era where there is mounting interest and receptivity to data-driven, evidence-based decision-making among policy makers and program leaders, Child Trends is positioned to share its knowledge about what works to achieve positive child and family outcomes (see Resources by Topic). Need a formal evaluation of a program performance and impact? Child Trends can help! Contact Karen Walker for more information.
Child Trends researchers:
design and conduct outcomes evaluations, including random assignment studies
advise government agencies, private foundations and others about evaluation methodology
conduct implementation evaluations
provide input on performance management
design data collection instruments
collect and analyze data using qualitative and quantitative methods
prepare reports and share findings with decision makers
conduct technical training workshops for practitioners
LINKS (Lifecourse Interventions to Nurture Kids Successfully)
Child Trends hosts one of the largest compendiums of experimentally evaluated social interventions for children. With generous support from private foundations, findings from more than 500 random assignment studies are available in an online database at no cost. The LINKS database makes it easy for program providers, policy makers, and others interested in program outcomes to search for specific programs or to find summaries of “what works” (and what doesn't work) to improve children’s development.
Drawing on rigorous evaluations, Child Trends researchers have worked to identify best practices in order to improve outcomes for children and families. Child Trends has published a special series of briefs for providers. These briefs discuss practical evaluation methods and offer guidance on measuring program outcomes.
There are 22 resources.
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Using Data in Multi-Agency Collaborations: Guiding Performance to Ensure Accountability and Improve Programs
K. E. Walker, C. Farley, M. Polin
This report is designed to help collaborating organizations anticipate and address the
most common challenges associated with multi-agency performance management
What Works for Acting-Out (Externalizing) Behavior: Lessons from Experimental Evaluations of Social Interventions
Mary Terzian; Katie Hamilton; Thomson Ling
This fact sheet presents lessons learned from 123 rigorously evaluated programs for children and youth that are designed to prevent and/or reduce acting-out or externalizing behavior (such as verbal and/or physical intimidation or physical aggression, defiant or argumentative behavior, hyperactivity, impulsivity, and delinquent behaviors).
What Works for Promoting and Enhancing Positive Social Skills: Lessons from Experimental Evaluations of Programs and Interventions
Tawana Bandy; Kristin A. Moore
This fact sheet reviews 38 rigorously evaluated programs to identify what works to promote social skills among children and adolescents (such as getting along with others, expressing empathy to others, trying to resolve conflicts, and regulating emotions and behaviors). Overall, most of the programs (27 out of 38) significantly increased at least one social skill in children and adolescents.
Performance Management and Evaluation: What's the Difference
Karen E. Walker; Kristin Anderson Moore
This brief provides information on performance management—the ongoing process of collecting and analyzing information to monitor program performance—and its relationship to other forms of evaluation.
Assessing Staff Relationships Among Out-of-School Time Program Practitioners
This brief underscores the need to put a greater focus on staff relationships, as well as to increase awareness about the importance of measuring these relationships.
Innovations in Evidence-Based Policymaking; Becoming Evidence-Based: What Does it Take?
Kristin Anderson Moore
NCFR Annual Conference
November 3, 2010
Assessing Self-Regulation: A Guide for Out-of-School Time Practitioners
Tawana Bandy; Kristin A. Moore
Research shows that it is important to build and improve the self-regulation capacity of children and youth. Out-of-school time programs can play an important role in these efforts.
Assessing Stress in Children and Youth: A Guide for Out-of-School Time Program Practitioners
Mary Terzian; Kristin A. Moore; Hoan N. Nguyen
October 2010 To minimize the risk for negative health and behavioral development, it is important for families, schools, and program providers to be able to recognize and help children cope with stress. Child Trends produced this brief to assist program providers in these efforts. For programs seeking to reduce stress in children and youth, we also provide information about two well-validated measures of stress.
Assessing Bullying: A Guide for Out-of-School Time Practitioners
Kathleen Sidorowicz; Elizabeth C. Hair; Alyssa Milot
Conflict among peers is common, and not necessarily a bad thing. Disagreement, teasing, and conflict are part of growing up, and children and adolescents need to develop skills to resolve these clashes. However, bullying, an extreme form of peer conflict or teasing, can be physically and psychologically harmful. Therefore, it is important for programs to be able to identify bullying, and to promote positive peer conflict resolution techniques for children and adolescents.
Assessing Peer Conflict and Aggressive Behaviors: A Guide for Out-of-School Time Practitioners
Kathleen Sidorowicz; Elizabeth C. Hair
Peer relations during middle childhood and adolescence are an important part of children’s social and emotional development. Children and adolescents pick up essential social and communication skills from their peers as they move into late adolescence and early adulthood. Peer conflict is not necessarily a bad thing; disagreement and conflict are part of life, and children and adolescents need to develop skills to resolve disagreements. However, peer conflict can cause significant emotional and physical harm and can lead to aggressive behaviors when youth lack the social skills necessary to cope with their frustrations.
Online Resources for Identifying Evidence-Based, Out-of-School Time Programs: A User's Guide
Mary Terzian; Kristin Anderson Moore; Lisa Williams-Taylor; Hoan Nguyen
Child Trends produced this Guide to assist funders, administrators, and practitioners in identifying and
navigating online resources to find evidence-based programs that may be appropriate for their target
populations and communities.
Assessing School Engagement: A Guide for Out-of-School Time Program Practitioners
Laura Lippman; Andrew Rivers
Students who are disengaged from school are at risk for poor academic achievement, skipping classes, sexual activity, substance use, and ultimately dropping out of school. Out-of-school time programs can play a role in increasing school engagement.
Assessing What Kids Think About Themselves: A Guide to Adolescent Self-Concept for Out-of-School Time Program Practitioners
Alena M. Hadley; Elizabeth C. Hair; Kristin Anderson Moore
This research brief discusses child and adolescent self-concept and provides information for out-of-school time program practitioners on how to assess self-concept among program participants. The brief also suggests ways that program practitioners can foster positive self-concept in adolescents.
Assessing Adolescent Reproductive Health: A Guide for Out-of-School Time Practitioners
Meghan O’Toole; Kristin Anderson Moore; Victoria N. Ball
This research brief discusses adolescent reproductive health and provides program practitioners with
questions that can be used to screen or monitor reproductive health among out-of-school time program participants.
Institutional Review Boards (IRBs): What Are They, and Why Are They Important?
Jacinta Bronte-Tinkew; Tiffany Allen; Krystle Joyner
This research brief intends to allay the fears or concerns that out-of-school time program practitioners may have about the IRB review process by discussing the importance of IRBs and providing guidelines for their use in out-of-school program research.
How Can I Assess the Quality of My Program? Tools for Out-of-School Time Program Practitioners
Jordan Kahn; Jacinta Bronte-Tinkew; Christina Theokas
This research brief identifies some of the advantages of using program quality assessment tools to identify improvement in out-of-school time programs.
Random Assignment Evaluation Studies: A Guide for Out-of-School Time Program Practitioners
Kristin Anderson Moore; Allison Metz
Random assignment studies are only one kind of research, and they are not appropriate for every situation.
But when the question is “What works?” and rigorous evidence about cause and effect is needed, a
random assignment experimental evaluation can be very useful. In addition, a random assignment
evaluation can provide credible evidence about the size of impacts found for the program participants.
Kristin Anderson Moore
This research brief describes varied types of quasi-experimental evaluations and the circumstances under which they are useful.
Outcome Evaluation: A Guide for Out-of-School Time Practitioners
Tiffany Allen; Jacinta Bronte-Tinkew
Many out-of-school time programs practitioners want to learn more about how the children and youth they serve are faring. This research brief provides a basic review of outcome evaluations, discusses why they are important and when they are
useful, and presents guidelines, strategies, and techniques for their use in out-of-school time
Process Evaluations: A Guide for Out-of-School Time Practitioners
Lillian Bowie; Jacinta Bronte-Tinkew
This research brief describes what a process evaluation is, why process evaluations
are important, when they should be used, and how they can be a useful tool for out-of-school
time program practitioners. It also focuses on guidelines, strategies, and techniques for
implementing process evaluations and provides some concrete examples that illustrate their
utility. It concludes with a list of helpful resources for out-of-school time program practitioners.
Why Conduct a Program Evaluation? Five Reasons Why Evaluation Can Help an Out-of-School Time Program
This research brief defines program evaluation, address common concerns program managers and practitioners have regarding evaluation. It also outlines five major reasons why conducting a program evaluation can benefit an out-of-school time program.
Five Steps for Selecting an Evaluator: A Guide for Out-of-School Time Practitioners
Jacinta Bronte-Tinkew; Krystle Joyner; Tiffany Allen
This research brief describes different types of evaluations and five steps for selecting an evaluator that can benefit a program. It also provides some tips on the cost of evaluations.
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