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Youth Development

Child Trends brings a multi-disciplinary perspective to its studies of adolescents and young adults and the programs that serve them.  We conduct national and local evaluations of after-school and prevention programs. These evaluations include not only impact evaluations to examine whether programs are effective but also implementation evaluations to examine how they work—and how they might be improved through changes at the program, organizational and systems level.  We work with programs and funders to ensure that programs are ready for evaluation by helping develop logic models, conduct needs assessments, and develop and refine their performance management capacities.  A critical part of our work is research to understand and measure adolescent and young adult well-being for national studies and evaluations.

We also compile evaluations by researchers from around the world and synthesize these studies to identify effective (and ineffective) programs and practices. The information is widely disseminated in clear language via research briefs, policy briefings, webinars and through technical assistance to practitioners and local communities.

Featured Publications

Making The Grade: Assessing the Evidence for Integrated Student Supports

Feb 2014 | Kristin Anderson Moore; Selma Caal; Rachel Carney; Laura Lippman; Weilin Li; Katherine Muenks; David Murphey; Dan Princiotta; Alysha Ramirez; Angela Rojas; Renee Ryberg; Hannah Schmitz; Brandon Stratford; Mary Terzian

Integrated student supports (ISS), sometimes referred to as integrated student services, represents an emerging field of practice that aims to address persistent disparities in educational achievement and attainment. ISS is a schoolbased approach to promoting students’ academic achievement and educational attainment by coordinating a seamless system of wraparound supports for the child, the family, and schools, to target student’s academic and non-academic barriers to learning. Programs that fall under an ISS umbrella have arisen in communities around the country.

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What is Child Well-being?: Does It Matter How We Measure It?

Nov 2013 | Kristin A. Moore

This talk was presented on November 7, 2013 to the National Council on Family Relations' Annual Conference in San Antonio, Texas. Dr. Moore explained why it's necessary to focus on the positive and why rigorous, accurate measures of child well-being are needed.

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What Works for Mentoring Programs: Lessons from Experimental Evaluations of Programs and Interventions

Mar 2013 | Elizabeth Lawner; Martha Beltz; Kristin A. Moore

Child Trends conducted a synthesis of experimental evaluations of 19 mentoring programs for children and youth, including Big Brothers Big Sisters, to determine how frequently these programs work to improve such outcomes as education, mental health, peer and parent relationships, and behavior problems, and what lessons can be learned to improve outcomes.

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Measuring Associations Between Symptoms of Depression and Suicide in Adolescence and Unhealthy Romantic Relationships in Young Adulthood

Apr 2013 | Tawana Bandy; Mary Terzian; Kristin Moore

Child Trends analyzed panel data obtained from a sample of 6,763 heterosexual young adults from Add Health (the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health), which allowed us to examine whether symptoms of depression or suicide in adolescence predict unhealthy romantic relationship outcomes (relationship violence and sexual infidelity) in young adulthood. Our analyses extend previous research by examining the association over time between depressive or suicidal symptoms in adolescence and young adult romantic relationship outcomes, using a nationally representative sample of young adults.

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