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Implementing Evidence-Based Models


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Our commitment to evidence-based practice ensures that our work with youth and families is informed by the most current thinking and research on effective practices, while maintaining our mission across our services and programs.

In all our programs, we seek to implement evidence-based models with the highest level of empirical support.

During regular reviews of our programs, we consider incorporating new practices in light of their fit within our overarching youth and family development approach, the rigorousness of external evidence, practitioner feedback, and insights from our internal data analysis. Based on a transdisciplinary evidence-based practice model developed by Satterfield and colleagues, this agency-wide process enables Good Shepherd Services to provide a coordinated network of innovative and impactful programs that all work to help youth and families gain skills for success.

As a result, all of our programs include research-supported practices. For example:

Out-of-Home Care: In 2007, GSS introduced The Sanctuary Model® across its Residential, Family Foster Care, and Chelsea Foyer programs. This evidence supported model is a comprehensive approach to developing a trauma sensitive culture in which psychological and social trauma can be addressed and resolved.

Prevention: The Prevention program combines two evidence-supported models –
Solution-Based Casework and The Parenting Journey® curriculum – as part of its effort to help families achieve priority case planning goals as quickly as possible and prevent foster care placement. With regard to the Parenting Journey®, GSS has partnered closely with its developer, The Family Center, in collecting pre- and post- intervention data to help build an evidence base for this curriculum. Our analysis of data from GSS groups held in 2011 indicates statistically significant increases in parents’ ability to identify personal goals, feelings of self-efficacy, and ability to nurture themselves while caring for others.

After-schools: Good Shepherd Services’ after-school programs employ research-informed youth development practices to promote personal skills, social skills, and school engagement in children and adolescents. In accordance with the research, programs emphasize SAFE (sequenced, active, focused, and explicit) practices which have repeatedly been shown to be associated with significantly better participant outcomes. This approach is further enhanced at many of our program sites by their use of evidence-supported educational curricula designed to strengthen literacy and numeracy skills such as Classroom, Inc., KidzLit, Robotics, and Tribes.

Surveys administered by our Program Evaluation and Planning (PEP) Department indicate that these curricula have a positive impact.

Transfer High Schools: When a program area does not have a strong evidence base, Good Shepherd Services works to develop one. We are currently helping to build the evidence base for innovative school-based models targeting over-age and under-credited youth. An evaluation by the Parthenon Group (2005) documented the positive impact of our Transfer School model on participant academic outcomes including graduation rate. With funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, we produced a codification manual in 2006 to assist other organizations with replicating our model. The manual includes detail on core principles, essential components, planning, staffing, assessment, and accountability. In 2011, Metis Associates began a multi-year implementation and impact evaluation of our Transfer Schools which will expand, and extend beyond, the prior external evaluation.

Read more about our commitment to Evidence-Based Practice.

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