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Investing In Evidence Home

The Federal government is placing a stronger emphasis on evidence and the need to build the evidence base to support its policies and programs.  This work builds on a long history of research and evaluation conducted across many Federal agencies.  Advances in articulating common standards for research and explorations of common frameworks are presented in Common Standards for Education Research and Development Proposals: NSF and the U.S. Department of Education and Exploring a Cross-Agency Platform for Judging Evidence: Resources for Federal Agencies.

There has been increased federal support, including from Congress and numerous Federal agencies, to identify evidence-based programs, identify evidence-informed approaches, and support their implementation.  The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has issued government-wide guidance for all agencies developing Fiscal Year 2014 budget proposals highlighting the “need to use evidence and rigorous evaluation in budget, management, and policy decisions to make government work effectively.” 

The following table outlines six major evidence-based policy initiatives across the Federal government.  These initiatives fund models shown to be effective through rigorous evaluation, as well as one – the Permanency Innovations Initiative – that is funding approaches informed by evidence to build an evidence-base where it is lacking. 

These Federal initiatives use a tiered evidence framework to build on existing evidence by replicating proven practices, validating promising approaches, adapting evidence to new areas, and testing innovative models.  All of the initiatives include a strong evaluation component, through local program evaluations required as part of the grant award; national evaluations carried out by third-party researchers; or a combination of local and national evaluations.  While the individual definitions of “replication,” “adaptation,” or “strong evidence” may vary according to each program; generally, greater investments are being made to support program models supported by stronger evidence.

 

Initiatives Focus Area (s) Funding supports* Agency

Investing in Innovation Fund (i3)

 
  • Educational access, achievement and completion
 
  • Replication
  • Adaptation
  • Innovation
  • Evaluation

Education

Teen Pregnancy Prevention  Initiative

  • Teen pregnancy & sexually transmitted infection prevention
  • Associated sexual risk behaviors
  • Replication
  • Innovation
  • Evaluation

Health and Human Services

Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV)

  • Maternal health
  • Child health
  • Replication
  • Innovation
  • Evaluation

Health and Human Services

Social Innovation Fund (SIF)

  • Youth development
  • Economic opportunity
  • Healthy futures
  • Replication
  • Adaptation
  • Innovation
  • Evaluation

Corporation for National and Community Service

Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT)

  • Post-secondary Education programs
  • Replication
  • Innovation
  • Evaluation

Labor, Education

Workforce Innovation Fund

  • Job training
  • Workforce development
  • Adaptation
  • Innovation
  • Evaluation

Labor, Education,  and Health and Human Services

Permanency Innovations Initiative (PII)

  • Reducing long-term foster care
  • Innovation
  • Evaluation

Health and Human Services

* Note:  These terms are based on agency definitions.  For example, the evidence base required for replication grants varies by Initiative, but there are some commonalities.  For replication funding, agencies generally require high quality experimental or quasi-experimental designs, appropriate measures, and positive findings.  Agencies may require applicants to select a model from a list of evidence-based programs, or have a process for applicants to submit evidence supporting their selected approach for agency review.  For instance, for replication funding under the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative, the Department of Health and Human Services developed a systematic review process to identify a list of evidence-based programs applicants must select to replicate.  For specific information, please review the specific agency websites.