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Evidentiary Family Restoration

The Five Core Tenets of Evidentiary Family Restoration

Evidentiary Family Restoration® is Youth Villages’ approach to helping our nation’s most vulnerable and troubled children. All our programs and services operate under this approach, which emphasizes family, measurement, community, intensity and accountability.

1. Evidentiary Family Restoration treats children and families simultaneously.

Evidentiary Family Restoration is built on the evidence that sustainable long-term success for troubled children is most consistently achieved by restoring a supportive family system around each child. It is optimally the child’s original family. It may be an adoptive family. Whatever form the family takes, it is the vital element for preventing recidivism and destructive behaviors.

Evidentiary Family Restoration (EFR)2. Evidentiary Family Restoration requires measurable long-term outcomes.

For too long, the national systems that serve troubled children and their families, including the children’s mental health, child protective and juvenile justice communities, paid little attention to the long-term outcomes of children. Warehousing troubled children creates troubled young adults. Using an EFR approach with their families, however, significantly increases the likelihood that they are still on positive trajectories even two years after discharge. Tracking every child and documenting successful outcomes 12 and 24 months after discharge are critical components of EFR.

3. Evidentiary Family Restoration is sustained in the community.

Families vastly outperform states or service providers at raising children. EFR keeps children in the home whenever safely possible, and ensures out-of-home placements – including foster care – are rare, short-term, actively inclusive of the child’s family, and used only out of urgent necessity… all with the ultimate goal of returning the child to a safe, permanent and supportive home as soon as possible.

4. Evidentiary Family Restoration uses highly intensive protocols that are delivered 24/7.

A key element of EFR’s effectiveness is the delivery of a comprehensive, research-based and immersive level of contact with the child, family and community. This is possible only through very low case-load ratios, intense training and clinical oversight and empowered, accountable front-line staff on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

5. Evidentiary Family Restoration delivers unprecedented accountability to families and funders. 

Increasing pressure for fiscal accountability nationwide has driven much of the interest in EFR, because the approach ensures that any public or private resources expended deliver proven social outcomes. Data-driven and outcomes-focused child services are moral obligations not only to the children served, but also to the public and private dollars of which states, agencies and providers are stewards. For families and funders both, EFR provides a single source of accountability for a family’s success.


About Us
Youth Villages is a private nonprofit organization dedicated to helping emotionally and behaviorally troubled children and their families live successfully. We help more than 22,000 children and families each year from across the country. Our Evidentiary Family Restoration® approach involves intensive work with the child and family, a focus on measuring outcomes, keeping children in the community whenever safely possible, and providing accountability to families and funders. The EFR approach produces lasting success for children with success rates twice that of traditional services at one-third the cost of traditional care.
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