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July/August 2010Vol. 11, No. 6Effective Program Strategies for Helping Youth Transition to Adulthood

A new factsheet from Child Trends, What Works for Older Youth During Their Transition to Adulthood: Lessons from Experimental Evaluations of Programs and Interventions, synthesizes results from experimental evaluations of 31 programs geared towards positively influencing older youth (ages 18 to 25). Researchers examined the effects of programs such as Job Corps, Upward Bound, New Chance, and others to identify strategies that worked across outcomes, as well as promising findings for education, career, reproductive health, and substance use outcomes. The factsheet highlights the following pertinent findings:

  • Education and career programs can be effective, especially for low-income youth and for youth targeted early in their transition to adulthood.
  • Specific intervention strategies, such as mentoring, case management, and providing child care for young parents, are associated with program success across outcomes.
  • Findings have been inconsistent regarding the effectiveness of substance use and reproductive health programs across outcomes for this age group.

The report also contains a chart that provides detailed information on individual program success across the outcome categories. The authors also offer suggestions for further research, noting that this particular age group is often overlooked because of assumptions that this population is already benefiting from general services available for adults.

The factsheet, by Alena M. Hadley, Kassim Mbwana, and Elizabeth C. Hair, is available on the Child Trends website: (282 KB)