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Relying on Evidence

The term “evidence-based” shapes the thinking and priorities of PCCD’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. The definition is simple: Applying what we know from research to what we do in our work with youth, their families, and their communities.

Research has shown over the past 30 years that current situations have precursors; that is, signs pointing to the likelihood something will happen. Violence, criminal behavior, substance abuse, and other problem behaviors have precursors. They are called risk factors, and those risks can be found in everything from communities to schools and from peer groups to families.

Protective factors are also known precursors. By incorporating them into prevention programs, the likelihood of criminal behavior drops. Research has proven that evidence-based, risk-focused delinquency prevention programs generate significant performance and economic results. These programs reduce dependency, and precursors such as:

  • Delinquency; 
  • Violence; and 
  • Substance Abuse. 
PCCD and the Department of Human Services fund the Evidence-based Prevention and Intervention Support Center (EPISCenter) at Pennsylvania State University.