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Programs that Work

Topic Definitions

Below are definitions of the topics that are used to organize the PPN Programs that Work section.

Age of Child


Early Childhood (0-8)
The program targets children below the age of 9 (before birth through 3rd grade).

Middle Childhood (9-12)
The program targets children ages 9 through 12 (grades 4 through 6).

Adolescence (13-18)
The program targets children ages 13 through 18 (grades 7 through 12).



Type of Setting


Child Care / Preschool
The program, or some portion of the program, is delivered in a preschool setting or provides care for children before they enter kindergarten.

Elementary School
The program, or some portion of the program, is delivered in an elementary school (grades K-5 or K-6) setting.

Middle School
The program, or some portion of the program, is delivered in a middle school (grades 6-8 or 7-9, also called junior high) setting.

High School
The program, or some portion of the program, is delivered in a high school (grades 9-12 or 10-12) setting.

Out of School Time
The program includes some component explicitly delivered after school hours, on evenings, on weekends, and/or during the summer during the traditional adult workday. This does not include child care programs. Also known as after-school care.

Community-Based Service Provider
The program includes some component that can be delivered by a community-based service provider, including but not limited to faith-based organizations, nonprofit service providers, and other community-based organizations.

Health Care Provider
The program includes some component in which services are or have the potential to be delivered by a health care provider and/or in a health care setting.

Home Visiting
The program includes a home visitation component, through which services are delivered within the family's home.



Type of Service


Case Management
The program includes some component of case management, in which children or youth are assigned to a case manager who assesses their service needs and those of their families and coordinates any care or services required.

Family Support
The program includes some component related to family support, with the goal of encouraging safe, stable, and supportive families. This includes programs aimed at reducing or preventing risk factors within the home, such as economic insecurity, weak parenting skills, etc.

Health Care Services
The program includes some component of health care services, broadly defined. Such services include physical health screenings; general medical care, including preventive care (e.g., vaccinations); reproductive health; and mental health care screenings and intervention. This topic does not include programs whose only health-related services are referrals to health care services outside of the context of the program.

Health Education
The program includes education about health, broadly defined, including substance use and abuse, sex education, sexual abuse prevention, and parent education about nutrition, injury prevention, well-child care, and preventive care.

Instructional Support
The program includes some component of instructional support provided to students and/or teachers, with the aim of improving the academic performance of students and/or increasing students' knowledge in a particular area.

Mentoring
The program includes some component in which a role model is matched with a child or young person, with the purpose of offering the young person guidance, support, and friendship.

Parent Education
The program aims to improve parents' knowledge and/or skills related to parenting, including knowledge of appropriate child development and appropriate parenting strategies.

Youth Development
Using developmental tasks and emotional benchmarks, the program aims to support youths' transition from childhood to adolescence and into adulthood.



Type of Outcome Addressed


Behavior Problems
The program aims to address or prevent behavior-related outcomes, broadly defined, such as acting out in the classroom, antisocial behaviors, and other internalizing or externalizing behavior problems at school or in the home.

Child Abuse and Neglect
The program aims to address or prevent child emotional, physical, or sexual abuse; child neglect; and child safety, broadly defined. This includes outcomes associated with parenting practices related to child abuse and neglect.

Cognitive Development / School Performance
The program aims to improve young children's school readiness or older children and adolescents' school performance, and/or aims to improve children and adolescents' cognitive development beyond the classroom.

Juvenile Justice
The program aims to address outcomes related to juvenile justice, broadly defined. This includes programs aimed at preventing juvenile delinquency, as well as programs aimed at improving outcomes for youth already involved in the juvenile justice system — for example, programs aimed at preventing reentry or improving behavioral or social skills.

Mental Health
The program aims to address mental health-related outcomes that impact a child, broadly defined. This includes prevention of or intervention in depression, anxiety, anger, hyperactivity, suicidal ideation, social adjustment, self-esteem, self-efficacy or coping, and improvement of parents' mental health.

Physical Health
The program aims to address health-related outcomes, broadly defined. This includes reducing risky health behavior (e.g., substance abuse, risky sexual activities), access to and utilization of appropriate health services, prevention of unintended injury, etc. This topic does not include programs that exclusively address mental health outcomes with no associated physical health component (see Mental Health topic above).

Poverty / Welfare
The program aims to improve families' economic security by reducing poverty or welfare utilization or increasing family income. This topic does not include programs whose sole poverty/welfare component is referral of families to welfare services.

Substance Use and Dependence
The program aims to prevent or reduce youths' initial or ongoing use and/or abuse of any chemical substance. This topic does not include programs that address parental substance use (see Family Support topic above).

Teen Sex / Pregnancy
The program aims to improve adolescents' understanding of risky sexual behaviors or to reduce teen pregnancy and the rates of sexually transmitted diseases among teens.

Violent Behavior
The program aims to reduce or prevent children and youth's violent behaviors directed at themselves or others, including peers. This topic does not include programs that address violence by adults directed toward youth (see Child Abuse topic above).