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Research on Outcomes at Youth Villages

More than 15 years of detailed outcome evaluation have put Youth Villages on the forefront of applied research in the treatment of children with emotional and behavioral problems and their families.

Led by Sarah Hurley, Ph.D., the research department includes Ph.D.-, master’s- and bachelor's-level staff who collect and analyze data gleaned from youth in all the programs Youth Villages offers.

Tracking youth who receive at least 60 days of service at six, 12 and 24 months post-discharge, Youth Villages followed more than 12,000 children and families in 2009.

This diligent follow-up process has allowed Youth Villages to amass one of the most comprehensive outcome datasets in the country on the treatment of children with emotional and behavioral problems and their families. This ongoing outcome evaluation process has yielded crucial information that has translated into direct program improvements and improved outcomes for children.


  • "Parental Efficacy and Juvenile Delinquency: Longitudinal Analysis of At-Risk Adolescents after treatment" - Dr. George Lord (formerly of Indiana University Northwest) and Dr. Shanhe Jiang (University of Toledo) examined data generated from a randomized control trial of one implementation of our Intercept Program (see below for more details) to study issues of social support and social control as they relate to parental efficacy and its impact on juvenile delinquency. The first manuscript of this work was presented at the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences Annual Meeting.
  • Dr. Mark Vander Weg (formerly of University of Memphis, now at University of Iowa) and his team at the University of Memphis conducted an independent evaluation of The Prevention Project, a clinical trial involving random assignment of youth who were at the beginning of a potentially negative life trajectory (first contact with juvenile justice, first serious behavior problems in school) to receive Intercept services or usual services. Funded through the generous support of The Urban Child Institute, the study sought to determine the efficacy of using intensive in-home services to prevent the removal of children from their home into state custody.

Youth Villages has conducted studies in two states, Alabama and Tennessee, providing in-depth assessments of random samples of children in state custody. The purpose of these studies was to determine the number of children who could be safely reunified with their families or relatives, and the services necessary to make such a transition possible. Both studies resulted in pilot projects to demonstrate the effectiveness of intensive in-home services in creating positive, long-term change for children who have been in state custody and their families. If you are interested in hearing more about these studies, please contact us.

Collaboration with a broad array of researchers
In an effort to improve mental health services to children and families, Youth Villages has collaborated with a broad array of researchers on a wide range of topics.  Researchers interested in working with us on issues related to improving the lives of children and families can contact Sarah Hurley, Director of Research, at for more information.

Follow this link to see a sample of our current and recent projects.

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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