When COVID-19 upended normal operations at STRIVE, a workforce development nonprofit founded in New York, the Center for Applied Behavioral Science at MDRC documented the agency’s real-time innovations that allowed it to continue serving clients during the crisis. Greg Wise, STRIVE’s National Vice President, shared a first-hand account of the transition.
A Feasibility Study of the Bridges to Pathways Program
In a program to reduce criminal justice involvement, participants received mentoring, case management, subsidized internships, and the opportunity to earn a high school credential. The program reduced the arrest rate for felonies and violent crimes but did not affect overall rates of arrest or incarceration, educational or training certification, or employment.
A Case Study of PACE Center for Girls
MDRC worked closely with PACE in evaluating its program for girls. As an organization dedicated to continuous improvement, PACE used the implementation research findings to refine its services in several ways. This issue focus summarizes the study and the partnership and explains how the program applied some of the lessons.
Results from the Evaluation of PACE Center for Girls
PACE provides academic and extensive social services in a gender-responsive environment to girls at risk of juvenile justice system involvement. Over a one-year period, PACE increased school enrollment and attendance, as well as girls’ likelihood of being “on track” academically.
An Implementation Study of the PACE Center for Girls
To serve at-risk girls, PACE provides academic and social services in a gender-responsive environment, focusing on safety, relationships, and girls’ individual strengths while accounting for the effects of trauma. The program offers low staff-to-student ratios, counseling and case management, and a life skills curriculum targeted to girls.
Evidence from the Evaluation of the PACE Center for Girls
Born out of research showing that girls and boys have different risk factors and pathways into the justice system, gender-responsive programs focus on girls’ unique needs and strengths. This brief summarizes the developing research on their effectiveness and describes how one program enacts the principles in its service delivery.
Findings from Family Rewards 2.0
A program in Memphis and the Bronx offered cash incentives, coupled with family guidance, to poor families for meeting certain health care, education, and work milestones. The program increased income and reduced poverty, increased dental visits and health status, reduced employment somewhat, and had few effects on students’ education.
An Evaluation of SEED DC
The nation’s first public, urban, college-prep boarding school emphasizes academic excellence and personal development. A six-year evaluation using SEED’s admission lotteries found that SEED DC raised lottery winners’ test scores but did not increase the on-time graduation rate or reduce teen pregnancy or involvement in the criminal justice system.
The Importance of Evidence
In this essay, adapted from remarks made to the Growth Philanthropy Network/Social Impact Exchange 2014 Conference on Scaling Impact, MDRC President Gordon Berlin explains why developing reliable evidence of effectiveness is critical when expanding programs to a large scale.