The Vera Institute of Justice released a new guide “Measuring Success: A Guide to Becoming an Evidence-Based Practice.”
In her Director’s Note at the guide’s beginning, Annie Salsich, director of Vera’s Center on Youth Justice, states:
“Increasingly, community-based juvenile justice practitioners are required to validate that they are engaging in evidence-based practice—proof that they are delivering the services their clients require and that the program yields the desired outcomes for youth in their care. While this expectation is a good one, many practitioners understandably feel overwhelmed as they contemplate the task; they often do not know where to begin or how to lay the foundation. In addition, conducting an outcome evaluation is a resource-intensive task that takes an appropriate amount of funding, planning, and data.
Nevertheless, even when evaluations are not immediately feasible, there are a number of preparatory steps a program can take toward examining its outcomes. For example, data collection, monitoring, and reporting are critical for good program planning and pave the way to developing an evaluation capacity. The Vera Institute of Justice, as part of the MacArthur Foundation’s Models for Change initiative, has assisted juvenile-justice practitioners in many settings as they build and monitor their programs. On the basis of our experience in the field, and in collaboration with the Institute for Public Health and Justice at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center (the lead entity for the Louisiana Models for Change initiative), we crafted this guide to becoming an evidence-based practice. While it was written in response to the questions of juvenile justice practitioners, its systematic approach to collecting information on goals, treatment methods, and outcomes can benefit other social service providers seeking to measure the efficacy of their interventions.”