Evidence Based Practices

In the juvenile justice arena, the term “evidence-based practices” (commonly called “EBPs”) generally refers to programs, practices, and policies that have been rigorously evaluated and shown to be effective at preventing or reducing youth crime.

Below are some resources related to best practice models, research, and programs. While WJJN screens information that is referred to, we do not necessarily endorse all the information you will find below. We encourage you to become a knowledgeable consumer about the various standards and meanings of "evidence based" as they are used and increasingly applied to a wide range of programs and practices.

  • Publications
    • Strengthening Youth Justice Practices with Developmental Knowledge and Principles (2014)

      In this policy brief by Dr. Jeffrey Butts, he applies lessons from the science of adolescent development to the routine practices of youth-serving organizations. The Positive Youth Development approach encourages communities and agencies to build upon the positive assets of youth rather than simply reduce youth problems and treat youth deficits. This follows a more extensive product, Positive Youth Justice, in which he and others detail how to go beyond deficit reduction and build on youth competencies to achieve success.

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      Thinking About Developing Graduated Sanctions?

      The Center on Children’s Law and Policy has recently produced a good guide to developing a system of graduated responses – incentives as well as consequences – that can be used to shape a youth’s behavior while on supervision and avoid the “trap” of utilizing confinement as a consequence for behaviors that do not pose a risk to anyone.  The Graduated Response Toolkit includes guiding principles, examples of “grids”, and process ideas for developing a system that works for your jurisdiction.

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      Risk Assessment in Juvenile Justice: A Guidebook for Implementation

      The MacArthur Foundation Models for Change site has a very good summary of best practices on implementing risk assessments –Risk Assessment in Juvenile Justice: A Guidebook for Implementation.  The primary purpose of this guide is to provide a structure for jurisdictions, juvenile probation or centralized statewide agencies striving to implement risk assessment or to improve their current risk assessment practices. Risk assessment in this guide refers to the practice of using a structured tool that combines information about youth to classify them as being low, moderate or high risk for reoffending or continued delinquent activity, as well as identifying factors that might reduce that risk on an individual basis. The purpose of such risk assessment tools is to help in making decisions about youths’ placement and supervision, and creating intervention plans that will reduce their level of risk.

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      A New Resource to Guide Your Review of Current Practice

      The RFK National Resource Center has recently released a new publication, The Probation System Review Guidebook 2nd Edition, which provides the analytical framework to guide a system review process that can help toward alignment of jurisdictions’ practices with national best practice standards that contribute to improved system performance and youth outcomes.  The Guidebook presents the updated four key elements (Administration, Probation Supervision, Intra- and Interagency Work Processes, and Quality Assurance) central to the review and includes numerous jurisdictional examples, practical tools and instruments, and other useful resources that support probation system reform.

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      National Advocates Outline Effective Supervision Practices

      The National Juvenile Justice Network, a network of advocacy groups from around the country,  has developed a position paper, they call it a Snapshot, highlighting the most effective practices related to juvenile delinquency supervision. The basic content is consistent with the WJJN Practice Model and provides some additional and quick references to research supporting the work.

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  • Helpful Information
    • OJJDP Model Programs Guide

      A collection of programs that have been researched in terms of working with youthful offenders; searchable for mental health issues, programs for girls, and other groups that may be of interest to you.  OJJDP has recently added a link to Implementation Guides – called iGuides – to complement the Model Programs Guide.

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      Models for Change

      The Models for Change site includes a wide variety of resources and publications related to best practices, links to additional organizations that promote evidence-based practice, innovation briefs on a wide range of practice issues, information about dual-status youth work, tools for engaging families, and more.

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      The Georgetown Center for Juvenile Justice Reform

      The Georgetown Center for Juvenile Justice Reform is one of the leading organizations related to implementing what works with youth. Linking to the Center will connect you with a host of publications, presentations, webinars, and other resources you can use to help improve practice. You can also link to/sign up for the CJJR newsletter.

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      Crime Solutions.Gov

      Crime Solutions.gov is an interactive site developed and maintained by the National Institute of Justice in collaboration with the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. The site includes information on over 200 programs and practices that have been used in working with youth and provides information about whether or not the program has been proven effective, promising, or mixed/no results.

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      Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development

      Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development, developed by the University of Colorado,  provides a registry of evidence-based positive youth development programs designed to promote the health and well-being of children and teens. You can also search this site for programs that target a variety of issues, including delinquency, substance abuse, truancy, and race/gender.

       

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