The Bridgespan Group Highlights Federal Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program as Model for How to Expand Evidence-based Practices

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New paper sheds light on federal program that expands use of evidence-based interventions and supports their implementation with fidelity.

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The federally funded Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP) program, which has awarded $75 million in competitive five-year grants to nonprofit and public agencies across the country, is showing promise as a model for how to support the growth of evidence-based programs (EBPs), according to a recent report by The Bridgespan Group. The TPP is the largest federal program ever directed at teen pregnancy and the first to focus solely on interventions with evidence behind them.

Bridgespan partner and co-author of the paper, Alex Neuhoff says, “The movement to shift public and philanthropic funding to support "what works" has made real gains in the last few years. Government and philanthropy are seeking to identify high-impact programs that have been tested in rigorous trials and found to deliver superior results for society. However, it is not enough to identify what works—we also have to identify how it works so that other organizations can replicate the implementation of the program and get similar results.”

Drawing from survey research plus interviews with 20 program grantees, technical assistance providers, and federal officials, Bridgespan’s paper, What Does It Take to Implement Evidence-based Practices? A Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program Shows the Way, illustrates how the TPP program selected the EBPs and grantees, and ensured fidelity to the chosen EBP. It describes how they provided implementation support to help local agencies find the right staff, train them on the model, and adapt their operating procedures and organizational culture to ensure that the programs were implemented as intended. Finally, the paper surfaces key elements in an “ecosystem” of support needed to scale the use of EBPs and it raises the vital question of how to sustain high-quality work after federal funding ends.

Co-author Daniel Stid says, “We have learned that nonprofits who believe in EBPs must understand the costs and benefits, choose their EBPs carefully, and consider what it will take to deliver the program in essentially the same way that produced the original promising research results; similarly, government and private funders who believe in the value of EBPs will need to help build the ecosystem and supply the funding that will support their implementation with high fidelity.”

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About The Bridgespan Group
The Bridgespan Group (http://www.bridgespan.org) is a nonprofit advisor and resource for mission-driven organizations and philanthropists. We collaborate with social sector leaders to help scale impact, build leadership, advance philanthropic effectiveness and accelerate learning. We work on issues related to society’s most important challenges in three primary areas: pathways to opportunity for disadvantaged populations, environmental sustainability, and civic engagement. Our services include strategy consulting, executive search, and leadership development, philanthropy advising, and developing and sharing practical insights.

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Liz London
The Bridgespan Group
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