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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 (see brief about Abriendo Puertas). These evaluations include not only impact evaluations to examine whether programs are effective, but also implementation evaluations to examine how they work. 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 (for example, the Positive Indicators Project).

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 Projects

Featured Publications

Social Service Programs that Foster Multiple Positive Outcomes

Dec 2015 | Vanessa Harbin Sacks; Samuel Beckwith; Kristin Anderson Moore

The strongest intervention strategy may be an approach that affects multiple outcomes. Child Trends searched for such programs, identifying a number that have positively affected multiple outcomes according to rigorous evaluations.

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How to Scale Up Effective Programs Serving Children, Youth, and Families

Nov 2015 | Vanessa Harbin Sacks; Martha Beltz; Samuel Beckwith; Kristin Anderson Moore

Scaling up evidence-based programs is not easy, and it is something that program developers and distributors approach in many different ways. This brief reviews the best practices for scale up of effective programs from across the literature and describes the experiences of several effective programs that are at varying levels of scale across the country and internationally.

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Key "Soft Skills" that Foster Youth Workforce Success: Toward a Consensus across Fields - Executive Summary

Jun 2015 | Laura Lippman; Renee Ryberg; Rachel Carney; Kristin Anderson Moore

Soft skills are skills, competencies, behaviors, attitudes, and personal qualities that enable youth to navigate their environment, work with others, perform well, and achieve their goals. We’ve identified five key soft skills that — according to researchers, employers, youth, and program implementers — most enable youth (15-29) worldwide to be successful in the workplace.

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The Developing Brain: Implications for Youth Programs

May 2015 | Child Trends

The brain, with more than 100 billion neurons, is our body’s most complex organ. There is increasing global attention to the growing field of brain research, but what are we learning today that may inform programs that serve children? How do environment and life experiences impact brain development? What can be done to mitigate the negative effects of trauma on the brain?

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