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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

Preventing Violence: Understanding and Addressing Determinants of Youth Violence in the United States

Mar 2015 | Kristin Anderson Moore; Brandon Stratford; Selma Caal; Carl Hanson; Shelby Hickman; Deborah Temkin; Hannah Schmitz; Joy Thompson; Susannah Horton; Alyssa Shaw

Rates of all types of violence have dropped in the U.S., but are high compared with other developed countries—and the numbers of children and youth affected are high. In this brief, and the report it’s based on, we review risk and protective factors for violence, and suggest opportunities for reducing it.

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Preventing Violence: A Review of Research, Evaluation, Gaps, and Opportunities

Feb 2015 | Kristin Anderson Moore; Brandon Stratford; Selma Caal; Carl Hanson; Shelby Hickman; Deborah Temkin; Hannah Schmitz; Joy Thompson; Susannah Horton; Alyssa Shaw

Rates of all types of violence have dropped in the U.S., but are high compared with other developed countries—and the numbers of children and youth affected are high. In this report, we review risk and protective factors for violence, and suggest opportunities for reducing it.

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What Works for Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health: Lessons from Experimental Evaluations of Programs and Interventions

Dec 2014 | Heather Fish; Jennifer Manlove; Kristin Anderson Moore; Elizabeth Mass

The United States continues to have one of the highest teen birth rates in the developed world,1 and adolescent rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are also high.2 These factors highlight the need to identify effective evidence-based programs to improve adolescent reproductive health. This brief synthesizes findings from 118 experimental evaluations of 100 program models. These were evaluations measuring reproductive health of youth and adolescents to determine how frequently these programs work to improve behavioral sexual outcomes such as sexual initiation and activity, number of sexual partners, anal/oral sex, sex under the influence of drugs/alcohol, condom and contraceptive use, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and pregnancies or births. These programs used a range of program approaches and served a variety of populations in many different settings.

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What if You Earned a Diploma and Delayed Parenthood? Intergenerational Simulations of Delayed Childbearing and Increased Education

Jun 2014 | Kristin Anderson Moore; Vanessa Harbin Sacks; Jennifer Manlove; Isabel Sawhill

This brief reports the results of using the Social Genome Model to provide a better understanding of how delaying childbearing and improving the educational attainment of teen mothers in one generation can be linked to the improved economic well-being of their children. This brief specifically reports results from “What if” simulations, in which teen mothers’ age at their first birth was increased by two or five years and in which the mothers earn a high school diploma. The implications of these changes on the life of the mothers’ children are estimated through childhood and up to age 29.

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