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March 2004Vol. 5, No. 2Child Trends' Guide to Effective Programs

Child Trends has gathered its extensive knowledge of children's programs into a dynamic online Guide to Effective Programs for Children and Youth. The web-based chart provides instant answers about "what works" for a particular age group and desired outcome. Additional details about specific programs are just a click or two away.

For instance, an inquiry into what programs promote good physical health for children up to 6 years old leads to the chart's listing for home visiting services. Clicking on that listing takes the viewer to a new chart that names specific effective programs. In this case, the Nurse-Family Partnership is listed. Clicking on the program name takes the viewer to extensive information about the program, including evaluation results.

The outcome areas covered by this Guide are extensive and include education and cognitive development, social and emotional health, physical health, behavioral problems, and many more. The Guide's visual presentation emphasizes that different programs can contribute to children's development at different ages. The 75 programs evaluated range from prenatal programs to those aimed at young adults. They fall into nine general categories:

  • Child care/early childhood education
  • Clinic-based, provider-based, miscellaneous
  • Community or media campaign
  • Counseling/therapy
  • Home visiting
  • Mentoring/tutoring
  • Parenting or family component
  • School-based
  • Service or vocational learning

Child Trends' web-based Guide promises to offer fast information in a user-friendly format for professionals and policy makers. The Guide to Effective Programs for Children and Youth can be accessed on the Child Trends website at (Editor's note. This link is no longer active, but visit to view Child Trends' What Works page.)