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This site was archived January 1, 2018 and is no longer updated.

Evidence-based practices

Programs and services of demonstrated effectiveness in improving behavior.

Research is helping to establish approaches and programs that effectively change delinquent behavior, lower recidivism and help young people succeed. Evidence-based programs like Multisystemic Therapy and Family Functional Therapy have been found to produce consistently better results than traditional juvenile justice interventions. Many juvenile justice systems struggle to implement scientifically supported approaches, however. Despite proven effectiveness, less than ten percent of youth are afforded evidence-based community services.

Models for Change worked to expand the use and availability of evidenced-based services through intensive investment in reforming Louisiana’s juvenile justice system. Through a combination of local, state, academic and national partnerships, Louisiana adopted a model that doubled the overall proportion of youth able to access evidence-based services, while at the same time witnessing a 46 percent drop in juvenile arrests between 2006 and 2010.

Models for Change promoted innovative services proven to change behavior and improve outcomes for youth.

Featured publications

Initiative tools, research, knowledge, and innovations to promote reform

Publication cover Strengthening Our Future: Key Elements to Developing a Trauma-Informed Juvenile Justice Diversion Program
Dec 11, 2018, NCJJMH
Diverting youth from the juvenile justice system to effective community-based services and supports will require systems that recognize and respond to trauma-related disorders. These include the…
Publication cover Innovation Brief: Model for Effective Implementation of Evidence-Based Practices
Dec 12, 2013, Stephen Phillippi
In current literature, there is a general agreement concerning what works and what does not work in reducing delinquent behavior with juvenile offenders in communities; however, this knowledge has…
Publication cover Measuring Success: A Guide to Becoming an Evidence-Based Practice
Apr 22, 2013, Jennifer Fratello
As part of the MacArthur Foundation Models for Change initiative, the Vera Institute of Justice created this guide, which describes the process that assesses whether a program qualifies as evidence…
Publication cover Probation Review Implementation: How Best Practices Meet Everyday Practices
Nov 15, 2013, Dr. John S. Ryals
Through support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps, Jefferson Parish, Louisiana undertook a comprehensive Probation Review…
Publication cover Evidence-Based Practice Recommendations for Juvenile Drug Courts
Jul 1, 2009, Holly Hills
This guide provides a series of recommendations for juvenile drug courts along three critical areas—screening and assessment (Chapter 2), treatment (Chapter 3), and outcome monitoring (Chapter…

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Leading organizations

Network partners advancing reforms and providing assistance, lessons, and support

Georgetown University's Center for Juvenile Justice Reform
(202) 687-1527
LSU Health Sciences Center, School of Public Health, Institute for Public Health and Justice
(504) 568-5953
National Center for Juvenile Justice
(412) 227-6950
Vera Institute of Justice
(212) 334-1300

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Supported by

Models for Change was a juvenile justice systems reform initiative supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, website operated by Justice Policy Institute.