Office of Children and Family Services

Evidence-Based Practices and Programs

Measuring Outcomes

Once you define your desired outcomes and identify a program that can achieve them, the next step is to identify ways to measure the outcomes. The links below offer information from federal agencies or nationally-recognized organizations that use different levels of criteria for identifying effective programs. 

External links are provided for the convenience of the user. Such use does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by the Office of Children and Family Services. When users click an external link and leave the OCFS website, they should be aware that they are subject to the privacy and security policies of the external site.

When browsing these links, please be mindful of the following:

  • Terminology. These sites sometimes use different definitions of terms such as "promising", "best," "evidence-based.” There is no uniform terminology. For instance, “promising” practices may be highest-ranking on one site, but ranked lowed on another.
  • Definition of “evidence-based.” There is no baseline definition of the evidence supporting "evidence-based" programs. The definition can range from observation that something worked on one extreme and quasi-experimental, replicated studies on the other. The registries listed all require at least one quasi-experimental study in support.
  • Application. For whom is the program designed? What are the projected outcomes? For instance, a program may be considered “proven” when applied to behavior change, but only “promising” at keeping children in school.

Check more than one registry site to get a clear picture of the program or practice in which you are interested. There may be different ratings or findings across registries.


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