Utah Youth Village is committed to research and evaluation.

Our staff includes Dr. Jacob Hess, (PhD), who received his doctorate in Clinical-Community Psychology from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. He has initiated extensive research on the long-term effects of our four flagship programs and examined specifically issues facing adolescent girls returning from residential treatment. Based on what we have been learning, programs have been refined and further developed to increase the sustainability of their effects. For a five chapter review of some of our general findings to date, or our specific transition-home report, contact Rebecca Heal at 801-308-1053 or rheal@youthvillage.org.

We gather evaluations from our partners and the people we serve: the State Division of Child & Family Services (DCFS), probation officers, parents, teachers, and our children. This past year, all respondents rated the Village between 86% and 100% in all tested areas, including communication, effectiveness, and caring.

Furthermore, a child’s progress in school is another indicator of our program’s effectiveness. In 2014, children in our residential programs recorded an average grade point increase of two full points (from a D average to a B average).

According to the widely accepted Nowicki-Strickland Locus of Control test, children and youth gain five years of maturity in a typical eight-month stay at Utah Youth Village.

Another measure we use to evaluate progress is the widely accepted Youth Outcome Questionnaire (Y-OQ) developed by clinical professionals at Brigham Young University (Burlingame, Wells, & Lambert, 1996). On the Y-OQ scale, youths typically score 90 or above before a Families First intervention or residential treatment placement. Such a high score signals the need for in-patient care. Scores when the intervention is completed typically drop over 30 points and are in the normal range, under 60. A 13 point drop is statistically significant.

Families First

A major focus of our research has been Families First. In results of a five-year independent study on Families First, conducted by Dr. Robert Lewis, researcher for the Department of Human Services and Adjunct Professor at the University of Utah, Families First was shown to create positive, concrete changes in:
In addition, these changes were proven to be effective long after the intervention had ended. The research paper was published by Children & Youth Services Review in October 2004. The full text is available by calling Rebecca Heal at Utah Youth Village, (801) 272-9980. Or you can view the study online by clicking here.

  • Parent effectiveness
  • Child/youth behavior
  • Concrete services and resources for the family

Each family who participates in Families First (parents and children, separately) evaluates the effectiveness of Families First through standardized questionnaires. Also, the Village collects data and information from the source of referral for each family, which may include case workers, school teachers, psychiatrists, probation officers, etc.