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Focus Areas

Child and Adolescent Research and Evaluation Program

Improving the health and well-being of children, adolescents and vulnerable populations

Child and Adolescent Research and Evaluation Program (CARE) provides policymakers, public health practitioners, and the research community with technical assistance, research, and evaluation expertise specific to identifying evidence-based prevention strategies for enhancing health and well-being, particularly related to children and adolescents and vulnerable populations. Our substantive areas include adolescent and child health promotion, resilience, and risk reduction, teen pregnancy and STI prevention, adolescent brain development, parenting, and food insecurity.

Some of our methods, strategies and techniques include:

  • Mixed methods evaluation research ​
  • Qualitative Comparative Analysis​ 
  • Evidence translation and implementation science​
  • Training and technical assistance ​
  • Conference and training design, planning, and coordination​
  • Intervention, resource, and tool development and testing​ for children, adolescents, and their caregivers
  • Youth-focused media campaigns (web, social media, and community-based approaches)​
  • Youth-focused Human Centered Design 
  • Child and adolescent data collection (individual, school, and community)
  • Social distancing and other COVID response/messaging for adolescents

Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Training and Technical Assistance

The objective of this project is to provide training and technical assistance to support the Administration for Children & Families’ Family and Youth Services Bureau’s Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention grantees. Specifically, this project seeks to provide training and resources to enhance service quality, ensure fidelity of program implementation and appropriateness of adaptations of evidence-based models and to enhance grantee skill sets to reduce adolescent pregnancy, prevent sexually transmitted infections, and prepare youth for adulthood. Training is provided individually, in small groups, and in skills-based sessions as well as through peer-to-peer learning. This project also includes the development and delivery of an annual grantee conference, bringing together over 600 grantee attendees for several days of learning and networking.

RTI developed The Exchange, an interactive website for APP program grantees, partners, and stakeholders to learn, connect, and create materials to increase the visibility and impact of their efforts. The website is designed to share evidence-based information translated in ways that grantees can readily apply in their work to improve adolescent health. Resources on The Exchange include tip sheets, infographics, interactive digital products, webinars I and TED-style talks. The Studio (winner of the 2017 Digital Health award) allows grantees to customize infographics, tip sheets, and web badges with their own logos and messaging to share with their communities. Resources on the Exchange have received a number of awards including a Telly award and a 2021 National Association of Government Communicators’ Blue Pencil & Gold Screen award.

We Think Twice Digital Media Campaign and Digital Interventions

This digital media campaign, funded jointly by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health and the Administration for Children & Families’ Family and Youth Services Bureau, shares health information with youth ages 13-18 to promote goal setting, healthy relationships, and healthy decision-making. The campaign includes social media (Instagram and Facebook) and a website that contains interactive tools and resources such as quizzes, listicles, and games to support youth as they develop and pursue their goals and make decisions about their futures. RTI is also developing and providing educational activities and resources for youth- serving professionals. The project is grounded in research and driven by teen voices via the We Think Twice Community (national youth panel developed by RTI) that provides input on product design and development. The We Think Twice website received the first place award for the website category in the 2021 National Association of Government Communicators’ Blue Pencil & Gold Screen awards competition.  Educational materials developed for this project were also selected as winners of the 2021 Graphic Design USA Health + Wellness design competition.

Let’s Move Active Kansas Schools

In 2011, the Kansas Health Foundation invested funds to make Kansas the first state to implement a statewide Let’s Move! model to promote physical activity in schools. RTI worked with the Foundation to conduct an initial formative and process evaluation and conducted a series of quantitative and qualitative evaluation activities to assess the effects of the program on attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors relating to the promotion of physical activity in schools between 2015-2020.

Overall, the results from the evaluation suggested that the program is having a positive effect on the promotion of physical activity in Kansas schools and revealed that program participants overwhelmingly believe the program has allowed Kansas schools to be at the forefront of supporting physical activity for students.