Marion County, TN
Informing and Connecting Engaged Citizens
May 30, 2013
Article Addresses Misconceptions About Evidence-based Programs

Momentum is growing behind efforts to promote more widespread use of programs that have been studied by researchers and found to result in better outcomes for families and youth. Many private and public funders, including the Family and Youth Services Bureau, are encouraging or requiring their grantees to take evidence into account when planning and implementing programs for youth and families. While many practitioners have embraced evidence-based programs, others are skeptical. By looking at both sides and responding to arguments that have been made against emphasizing evidence-based programs, this article makes a compelling case for their use.

Proponents of “evidence-based programs” in social services for children and youth and their families take on the debate about the use of such programs.

Biggest takeaways for youth workers: Among the many arguments the authors take on are contentions that evidence-based programs:

  1. Only treat symptoms of larger problems and ignore bigger-picture issues like poverty and racism. To the contrary, the authors say, evidence-based programs can contribute to greater social justice.
  2. Do not translate across cultures. If designed with enough flexibility, the authors write, evidence-based programs can be used with families and youth of different cultures.
  3. Are too expensive and time-consuming to set up. Not all are expensive, but even so, their ultimate cost savings may justify their upfront cost.
  4. Hamper innovation and creativity on the part of practitioners. Evidence-based practices are the product of innovation, often by practitioners.
See link to full article below.
National Clearinghouse on Families & Youth Article
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