• May/June 2001
  • Vol. 2, No. 3

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Online Resource Highlights Promising Practices

Several organizations have formed the Promising Practices Network to promote practices that have produced positive results for children and families. A work in progress, the new website presents detailed information on practices and programs that credible research or recognized experts indicate are effective in helping children, families, and communities.

The Network is a coalition of RAND, Georgia Academy, California Foundation Consortium, Colorado Foundation for Families, and the Missouri Family Investment Trust. The site currently lists approximately 100 programs organized by outcomes or “results area.” Each results area lists a "benchmark" or milestone that can help measure progress toward the desired result.

For example, the benchmark for "Children Safe at Home" is “increase the percentage of children who do not experience physical, psychological, or emotional abuse.” The benchmark for “Strong Families" is “increase the percentage of children living in a permanent home.”

One program listed under both of these results areas is Project Redirect, started in 1994 in Colorado by the El Paso County Department of Human Services. The Project works primarily with adolescents who have not been successful in traditional programs, offering intensive home-based case management services. Case managers coordinate all program services offered to the family, including tutoring, counseling, job training, and experiential learning. A 3-year evaluation found the following outcomes among families participating in the program:

  • The number of substantiated child abuse cases decreased
  • Youth run-ins with police dropped by 60 percent
  • Incidents of youth running away fell by 95 percent.

Other related promising programs include:

  • Sexual, emotional, and physical abuse prevention education for children
  • A teacher training workshop on child sexual abuse prevention
  • A prenatal and infancy nurse home visitation program
  • Parents Anonymous national support group to strengthen families and prevent child abuse
  • Hawaii Healthy Start home visitation program for at-risk families of newborns.

The website also contains a bibliography and in the future it will have discussion forums and databanks of policies, procedures, and resources for technical assistance. Many other promising programs will be added in the future.

Visit the Promising Practices Network at: http://www.promisingpractices.net

To suggest a promising program, contact the Network at: promisingpractices@rand.org.

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