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Jeffrey A. Butts

"For the developmental approach to become more than an abstract framework or a philosophical perspective, practitioners need concrete policies and procedures that align youth justice with the science of adolescent development. This briefing paper describes the Positive Youth Justice model and assesses its potential as a tool for strengthening reform" (p. 1). Sections cover: introduction to positive youth development (PYD); Positive Youth Justice (PYJ) Model; two core assets—learning and doing, and attaching and belonging; developmental knowledge and justice practice; developmental science; Changing the Frame table—six assumptions on the left, three primary lens on the top; implementation challenges; All Evidence-Based Programs Available for Youth Justice table—four population or settings on the left, three intervention approached on the top; the gap in developmental approaches, broadening the reform agenda; and next steps.

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This article explains why one must be cautious with implementing an evidence-based program. You must "understand the basics of evaluation research, including the statistical methods used to generate evidence of program effectiveness. A study that reports statistically significant results is not necessarily evidence of effectiveness, and being evidence-based does not mean a program is guaranteed to work … understanding these basic principles of evaluation research is part of every practitioner’s job" (p. 1). This publication clarifies: how evaluation research is limited; statistics are not always significant; effect size is a better assessment metric than statistical significance—effect size combines substantive importance and statistical significance; and while evaluation research should play a role, it cannot utterly have the last word; and some programs will be effective but not evidence-based because there is not enough money to invest in determining the efficacy of every justice program.

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