The Interventions We’ve Identified Are Linked Below

Those found through an expert review process to meet the Congressional “Top Tier” evidence standard are denoted “Top Tier”; those found to require only one more step to meet this standard – e.g., replication of their sizeable, sustained effects in an additional well-conducted randomized controlled trial – are denoted “Near Top Tier”. The other listed interventions have been found promising by Coalition staff but have not yet been identified by the expert panel as Top Tier or Near Top Tier – in some cases, because of study limitations (such as only short-term follow-up) that indicate the need for additional testing.1

PRENATAL / EARLY CHILDHOOD

Top Tier Nurse-Family Partnership (A nurse home visitation program for low-income, pregnant women): Randomized controlled trials show major impact on life outcomes of the mothers and their children.

Near Top Tier Child FIRST (A home visitation program for low-income families with young children at risk of emotional, behavioral, or developmental problems, or child maltreatment): Randomized controlled trial shows a sizable reduction in child maltreatment cases, and improvement in child conduct and language development.

Near Top Tier Triple P System (A system of parenting programs for families with children age 0-8): Randomized controlled trial of the full system as implemented county-wide shows sizable reductions in child maltreatment and foster care placements.

Abecedarian Project (High-quality child care/preschool for children from disadvantaged backgrounds): Randomized controlled trial found major impacts on educational and life outcomes; we note, however, that it was a relatively small study that included a departure from random assignment, somewhat reducing confidence in the findings.

Perry Preschool Project (High-quality preschool for children from disadvantaged backgrounds): Randomized controlled trial shows major impact on educational and life outcomes; we note, however, that this was a demonstration project, and it is not yet known if the results can be replicated on a broader scale in typical classroom settings.

Review of the Evidence: Do Early Childhood Intervention Programs Really Work? 

See also Health Care Program for First Time Adolescent Mothers and their Infants (under Teen Pregnancy Prevention); Pregnant Woman’s Self-Help Guide to Quit Smoking (under Substance Abuse Prevention/Treatment); and Recovery Coaches (under Substance Abuse Prevention/Treatment).

K-12 EDUCATION

Top Tier Career Academies (Small learning communities in low-income high schools, offering academic and career/technical courses as well as workplace opportunities): Randomized controlled trial shows a sizable positive impact on earnings of participants eight years after their scheduled high school graduation.

Top Tier Success for All (A school-wide reform program, primarily for high-poverty elementary schools, with a strong emphasis on reading instruction): Randomized controlled trial shows positive impact in raising school-wide reading achievement in grades K-2.

Near Top Tier Annual Book Fairs in High-Poverty Elementary Schools (Book fairs providing summer reading over three consecutive years, starting at the end of first or second grade): Randomized controlled trial shows a sizable increase in students’ reading achievement.

Near Top Tier First Grade Classroom Prevention Program (Program that combines a classroom management strategy – the Good Behavior Game – with an enhanced academic curriculum): Randomized controlled trial shows a sizable reduction in substance use, and sizable increases in high school graduation and college enrollment rates.

Near Top Tier Promise Academy Charter Middle School (A charter middle school in New York City, serving mainly low-income, minority students): Randomized controlled trial shows a sizable increase in math and English language arts achievement over a three year period.

Check and Connect (Dropout prevention program for high school students with learning, emotional, and/or behavioral disabilities): Randomized controlled trials show a sizable decrease in students’ dropout rates, and increase in attendance and academic credits earned.

Montreal Prevention Program (Delinquency prevention program for disruptive elementary school boys): Randomized controlled trial shows a sizable increase in high school graduation rates, and decrease in criminal behavior, in early adulthood.

SMART – Start Making a Reader Today (Volunteer reading tutoring program for at-risk readers in early elementary school): Randomized controlled trial shows this low-cost intervention has sizable positive impact on students’ reading ability.

Tutoring with the Lindamood Phonemic Sequencing reading curriculum (An intervention for at-risk readers in grades K-2): Randomized controlled trial shows sizable positive impacts on reading ability for students with poor phonological processing (e.g., letter naming, and awareness of the sounds within words).

POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION

Top Tier H&R Block College Financial Aid Application Assistance (Streamlined personal assistance in the application process for low and moderate income students): Multi-site randomized controlled trial shows a sizable increase in college attendance and persistence.

InsideTrack College Coaching (Mentoring program for college students): Randomized controlled trial shows an increase in college persistence and likelihood of college graduation.

TEEN PREGNANCY PREVENTION

Top Tier Carrera Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program (A comprehensive, year-round youth development program for economically disadvantaged teens): Multi-site randomized controlled trial shows sizable reductions in teen pregnancy and births, and increases in high school graduation and college enrollment.

Health Care Program for First-Time Adolescent Mothers and their Infants: Randomized controlled trial shows a sizable reduction in subsequent teen pregnancies and increase in rate of child immunizations.

See also Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care (under Crime/Violence Prevention); and Nurse-Family Partnership (under Prenatal / Early Childhood)

CRIME/VIOLENCE PREVENTION

Top Tier Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care (A foster care intervention for severely delinquent youths): Randomized controlled trials show sizable reductions in youths’ criminal activity and (for girls) teen pregnancy.

Near Top Tier Parent Management Training – the Oregon Model (PMTO; a parent training program for recently-separated, single mothers with boys aged 6-10)Randomized controlled trial shows sizable decrease in criminal activity of the boys over nine years.

Amity Prison Therapeutic Community (Provides counseling/decision-making skills to inmates with drug problems, to prepare them for re-entry into the community): Randomized controlled trial shows reduction in reincarceration rate, and increase in average time to reincarceration.

Hawaii’s Opportunity Probation with Enforcement – HOPE (High-intensity supervision program for probationers at risk of a probation violation): Randomized controlled trial shows a sizable reduction in likelihood of re-arrest.

Multisystemic Therapy for Juvenile Offenders (A treatment targeting multiple factors linked to anti-social juvenile behavior): Randomized controlled trials show sizable decrease in criminal behavior by juvenile offenders, but effectiveness may depend critically (i) on close adherence to the intervention’s key features and (ii) population/setting in which it is implemented.

Philadelphia Low-Intensity Community Supervision Program (for low-risk criminal offenders on probation or parole): Randomized controlled trial shows no increase in crime compared to the usual, more-intensive supervision. This suggests the program may be a viable way to reduce costs in the criminal justice system.

See also Montreal Prevention Program (under K-12 Education).

HOUSING/HOMELESSNESS

Top Tier Critical Time Intervention (A case management program to prevent recurrent homelessness in people with severe mental illness): Randomized controlled trials show a sizable decrease in rates and duration of homelessness.

EMPLOYMENT AND WELFARE

Near Top Tier Nevada’s Reemployment and Eligibility Assessment Program (a program for Unemployment Insurance (UI) claimants, providing review of their UI eligibility and personalized reemployment services): Randomized controlled trial shows a sizable increase in earnings and net savings to the taxpayer.

Canadian Self-Sufficiency Project (Earnings supplements for long-term welfare recipients who find full-time work and leave welfare): Randomized controlled trials show sizable increase in participants’ employment rates, job earnings, and family income; and reductions in poverty and welfare dependency.

Los Angeles Jobs-First Greater Avenues for Independence (GAIN) Program (to quickly move welfare recipients into the workforce): Randomized controlled trial shows sizable increase in employment rates and job earnings, reduction in welfare dependency, and savings to the government.

Minnesota Family Investment Program (Earnings supplements for welfare recipients who find work): Randomized controlled trial shows a sizable increase in employment and earnings, and reduction in poverty rates, for single-parent, long-term welfare recipients (but not other welfare recipients).

Per Scholas Job Training Program (“Sectoral” – i.e., industry-specific – job training for unemployed, disadvantaged workers): Randomized controlled trial shows a sizable increase in employment and earnings.

Portland Job Opportunities and Basic Skills (JOBS) Program (to quickly move welfare recipients into the workforce): Randomized controlled trial shows sizable increase in employment rates and job earnings, reduction in welfare dependency, and savings to the government.

Riverside Greater Avenues for Independence (GAIN) Program (to quickly move welfare recipients into the workforce): Randomized controlled trial shows sizable increase in employment rates and job earnings, reduction in welfare dependency, and savings to the government, especially for single parents.

Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership (“Sectoral” – i.e., industry-specific – job training for unemployed, disadvantaged workers): Randomized controlled trial shows a sizable increase in earnings.

See also Career Academies (under K-12 Education).

SUBSTANCE ABUSE PREVENTION/TREATMENT

Top Tier LifeSkills Training (Middle school substance abuse prevention curriculum): Randomized controlled trials show sizable decrease in students’ substance abuse.

Top Tier Staying Free (A low-cost smoking cessation program for hospitalized smokers who are willing to make a quit attempt): Randomized controlled trials show sizable increase in confirmed abstinence from smoking one year after patient discharge from the hospital.

Big Brothers Big Sisters (Volunteer mentoring program for disadvantaged youth, ages 6-18): Randomized controlled trial shows sizable decrease in youths’ drug and alcohol use and violent behavior.

Pregnant Woman’s Self-Help Guide to Quit Smoking (A low-cost smoking cessation program for pregnant smokers): Randomized controlled trials show a sizable increase in the quit rate during the last four to five months of pregnancy.

Recovery Coaches (Program for substance-abusing parents who have temporarily lost custody of their children): Randomized controlled trial shows an increase in family reunifications, reduction in active foster care cases, and net savings to the state.

See also First Grade Classroom Prevention Program (under K-12 Education).

OBESITY AND DISEASE PREVENTION

Near Top Tier Healthy Living Partnerships to Prevent Diabetes (HELP PD) (A community-based lifestyle weight-loss program for overweight or obese adults with prediabetes): Randomized controlled trial shows effects on weight and other diabetes risk factors over two years.

Obesity Treatment Through Behavioral Training (Community-based program for obese adults, delivered through primary care practices): Randomized controlled trial shows meaningful weight loss sustained over a two-year period.

MENTAL HEALTH

Group Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (Depression prevention program for youth at elevated risk of serious depression): Randomized controlled trials show sizable effect in preventing clinical depression.

HEALTH CARE FINANCING AND DELIVERY

Top Tier Transitional Care Model (A nurse-led hospital discharge and home follow-up program for chronically ill older adults): Randomized controlled trials show major reductions in rehospitalizations and health care costs.

 Care Transitions Program (Low-cost hospital discharge and home follow-up program for elderly patients): Randomized controlled trials show sizable reductions in rehospitalizations and health care costs.

INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT 

Near Top Tier Child Immunization Campaign with Incentives (Monthly immunization camps in poor Indian villages, combined with small incentives for parents to have their children immunized – e.g., a $1 bag of lentils): Randomized controlled trial shows a major increase in childhood immunizations.

Near Top Tier Teacher Performance Pay in India (A low-cost performance pay program for primary school teachers in rural India): Randomized controlled trial shows sizable increases in students’ math, language, science, and social studies achievement over a two to three year period.

Chlorine Dispenser System (Placed next to a spring or well where families get drinking water, the system adds the correct amount of chlorine to kill illness-causing bacteria): Randomized controlled trial shows a large, sustained increase in the percent of households whose water tested positive for chlorine.

Primary School Deworming Project (Provides low-cost drugs to children in Kenya to eliminate parasitic worms): Randomized controlled trial shows sizable positive impact on children’s health and school attendance.

1 While we strive to ensure that our staff-level summaries are accurate and balanced, readers should note that they have received less scrutiny than those reviewed by the expert panel for Top Tier or Near Top Tier consideration.