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Background & Methodology

The youth.gov Program Directory features evidence-based programs whose purpose is to prevent and/or reduce delinquency or other problem behaviors in young people (under age 18). Two sets of programs are included:

  1. The Teen Pregnancy Prevention program directory. Under a contract with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Mathematica Policy Research conducted a systematic review of the evidence base for programs to prevent teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, and/or sexual risk behaviors.

    This review defined the criteria for the quality of an evaluation study and the strength of evidence for a particular intervention. Based on these criteria, HHS has defined a set of rigorous standards an evaluation must meet in order to be considered an evidence-based program. The review is being updated on an ongoing basis.

  2. The Substance Abuse, Violence, and Other Risk Behavior program directory. Through a partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice, programs are assessed by expert study reviewers from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s (OJJDP’s) Model Programs Guide (MPG), using www.CrimeSolutions.gov program review process, scoring instrument, and evidence standards. The MPG is an easy-to-use program database established to assist practitioners, policymakers, and communities in identifying and implementing programs that can make a difference in the lives of children and families. Information includes child victimization, substance abuse, youth violence, mental health and trauma, and gang activity.

    Programs are added through nominations, literature searches of relevant journals, electronic databases, and other evidence-based repositories. Programs must target an at-risk or offender population and aim to:

    • Prevent or reduce crime, delinquency, or related problem behaviors such as aggression, gang involvement, and/or school attachment.
    • Prevent, intervene, or respond to victimization.
    • Improve justice systems or processes.

A nominated program can also target an offender population or an at-risk population (individuals who have the potential to become involved). These programs have been re-reviewed under the criteria and standards set by the Department of Justice’s recently launched www.CrimeSolutions.gov evidence standards and criteria, and in 2013 re-launched MPG with juvenile justice and youth prevention, intervention, and treatment programs. These two sites share a common database of juvenile-related programs, and features information about evidence-based programs, literature reviews, implementation information, and links to additional resources.