When I first started learning about youth development, I was astounded by the number of programs and interventions that claim to improve outcomes for children and youth. The Child Trends What Works LINKS (Lifecourse Interventions to Nurture Kids Successfully) database contains information on hundreds of rigorously evaluated programs. I would quickly learn, however, that not all of these programs are effective. In fact, it can be quite difficult to develop a program that has concrete, measurable impacts on children and youth. For example, in a recent LINKS synthesis, 14 of the 50 programs evaluated were not found to positively impact their target outcome of reducing problem behaviors in young children.
An effective program, then, can be a gem. Getting it out there—across the country or the world, in the communities where it could make a difference—is the ultimate goal of any program developer. We call this “scale-up,” and it comes in many forms. Read More