All Good Shepherd programs are designed using an approach that integrates youth and family development strategies and trauma-informed practices. This holistic, strength-based approach is supported by a substantial body of research on interventions that successfully promote well-being, mitigate the impacts of poverty and improve social mobility. Studies of youth and family development demonstrate that the most effective programs support fundamental aspects of social and emotional development by building a sense of participatory identity, and nurturing growth, contribution and mastery. Neuroscientific advances have shown that trauma resulting from adverse life experiences can disrupt the brain’s architecture, with long-term consequences for learning and social and emotional health. However, and equally pivotal to Good Shepherd’s programs, these studies have also shown that timely responsive interventions and supports can protect against and even reverse negative outcomes, essentially reshaping the life trajectories of people who experience such adversity.
Good Shepherd’s agency-wide approach brings together these insights from human development and trauma research. Within each program, additional evidence-based/-informed models, interventions, and practices such as AIM, Circle of Courage, KEEP, Parenting through Chance, Parenting Journey, The Sanctuary Model and Solution-Based Casework have also been incorporated to further increase our efficacy.