Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What Works for Children - Child Trends Research

Child Trends has recently produced three research briefs on evidence based practice to improve outcomes for children.

 What Works for African American Children and Adolescents and What Works Latino/Hispanic Children and Adolescents synthesize findings from evaluations of social interventions specifically targeted at African American and Latino children and adolescents or intervention programs in which African American and Latino children where substantially involved as participants.

In What Works for African American Children and Adolescents, their review finds that:
  • Programs that foster partnerships between the community and schools tend to work.
  • Strategies that garner family buy-in are critical to program success.
  • High intensity programs that meet on a consistent and frequent basis positively impacts African American children and adolescents.
Findings from What Works Latino/Hispanic Children and Adolescents indicate that:
  • Programs that target families tend to work.
  • Culturally infused programs have positive impacts across outcomes.
  • Inclusion of Spanish-speaking program facilitators is a critical component for positive outcomes.

The second brief, What Works for Promoting and Enhancing Positive Social Skills, focuses on programs that have sought to increase the positive social skills (e.g. getting along with others, expressing empathy for others, and trying to resolve conflicts) of children. Positive social skills are often recognized as being critical for healthy social development and positive life outcomes. Several factors were found to be important in cultivating positive social skills, including :

  • implement school-based and community-based programs
  • involve parents and peers for children in middle school
  • employ multiple instruction strategies and integrate instructional technologies
  • use teachers as facilitators
  • teach problem solving skills

The programs reviewed can be found in the Child Trends' online database of experimentally evaluated, out of school time interventions, called LINKS (Lifecourse Interventions to Nurture Kids Successfully).

For more information, visit the Child Trends website.

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