Newsletter June 2024

In this edition, we highlight CEI's work to improve outcomes for children and young people through better evidence and implementation in youth, education and community services.

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Enabling better insights through better evaluation guidance

To drive real, lasting change, we need to understand not only what is effective but also how it works to create positive effects, as well as for whom it works, and whether it is being applied as intended. To do this, we need evaluation approaches that enable researchers to get at these critical questions.

Youth Futures Foundation has commissioned CEI’s UK team and our partners at Dartington Service Design Lab to help with this challenge, through development of Theory-Informed Implementation and Process Evaluation guidance. The goal is to inform and guide more rigorous evaluation methodology, rooted in the latest theories, models and frameworks of implementation science and program theory.

READ the article  (2 mins)

Preventing youth delinquency

Singapore-based social service agency TOUCH Community Services engaged CEI to evaluate its multi-year pilot of SPARKX, a program for 9- to 12-year-olds that aims to enhance protective factors targeted to reduce the likelihood of delinquency for at-risk children – factors like self-management, family relationships and school bonding.

The evaluation suggested positive changes, mostly for young people’s caregivers, who reported reductions in their children’s emotional dysregulation and negative behaviours, reduction in their own use of coercive and threatening parenting practices, and less parental stress and family conflict. Many caregivers attributed their positive experience to the quality of their caseworkers’ relationship with them, including the sharing of practical and feasible strategies – a key implementation learning.

READ the article  (2 mins)

Assessing how high-quality classroom resources might support better teaching

The Australian Government provided 5,700 teachers in low socio-educational primary schools a year’s access to teacher-ready resources via the platform Inquisitive. An evaluation of this initiative undertaken by CEI shows teachers value the provision of high-quality pre-prepared teaching materials.

“During the period they used the resource, teachers told us their overall administrative burden was reduced, their classroom confidence and performance improved, and students’ engagement was increased,” says CEI Director Dr Vanessa Rose. “Reducing administrative burdens on teachers is an ongoing challenge. Research shows that fewer than 1 in 10 Australian teachers feel they have sufficient time to prepare for effective teaching – which is the core task of their role.” 

READ the article  (2 mins)

Expanding horizons at CEI Nordic

Five new team members are bringing a new diversity of expertise to CEI Nordic, across child and adolescent mental health and wellbeing, child and family services, and organisational psychology.

Senior Consultants Camilla Henning and Marit Tørstad, along with Senior Researcher Dr Hege Kornør and Collaborator Siri Abrahamsen, will join CEI Nordic Director Professor Arild Bjørndal in projects across northern Europe.

READ the article  (2 mins)

Upcoming events

17 June 2024:  ACE Impact Evaluation Showcase (free hybrid event)
This half-day event will explore the potential of impact evaluations to improve Australian public policy, highlighting how evaluation evidence has shaped policy debate and decisions, as well as feasibility and challenges in the field. CEI's CEO Dr Robyn Mildon is one of a number of global invited speakers, all leading voices on evidence for impact. Presented by the Australian Centre for Evaluation (ACE).  

25 June 2024:  Webinar "Making digital health innovations work"
A free webinar hosted by National University of Singapore's Centre for Behavioural and Implementation Science Interventions (BISI), featuring speakers Associate Professor Yenni Tim from UNSW Business School and Professor Ng Chirk Jenn from Duke-NUS Medical School, chaired by CEI CEO Dr Robyn Mildon. 

24 July 2024:  Webinar "Sensitive caregiving for child development"
Hear Dr Cheryl Seah, CEI Director in Singapore and NUS Adjunct Assistant Professor, in conversation with Ms Sun Xueling, Minister for Home Affairs and Social and Family Development, in this free public webinar unpacking global and local research on the benefits of sensitive caregiving for children's cognitive and mental wellbeing. Hosted by National University of Singapore's Centre for Holistic Initiatives for Learning and Development (CHILD), in partnership with child and youth charity Suncare. 

10-13 September 2024:  Global Evidence Summit 
This quadriennial event focuses on how best to produce, summarise and disseminate evidence to inform policy and practice that improves people’s lives. CEI is a Program Partner. 

Save the date! 26-28 February 2025: CHILD Conference
With the theme "Translating evidence for impact: Bridging research, policy, and practice in early childhood", this Singapore-based international conference underscores the pivotal role of evidence-based approaches in shaping the lives of young children. This is the second biennial conference hosted by the Centre for Holistic Initiatives for Learning and Development (CHILD), Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore.  

CEI publications and knowledge sharing

  • Evaluation of a therapeutic program for young asylum seekers
    Foundations, the UK What Works Centre for Children and Families, commissioned CEI and our partners to undertake a two-year evaluation of My View, a specialist mental health program for 12- to 17-year-old unaccompanied asylum seekers in England.
  • Evidence review: place-based approaches to youth violence
    Youth Endowment Fund (YEF) funded researchers from CEI, Monash University and the University of Cambridge Violence Research Centre to conduct a large-scale review of existing evidence.
  • Regional Early Childhood Development Landscape Study
    This comprehensive mapping of parenting and early childhood programs and interventions across Asia (focusing on China, Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore) was developed with a consortium of donors convened by Asia Philanthropy Circle. This evidence is now influencing policy in Asia
    with legislation introduced in the Philippines, for example, drawing on key recommendations. 
  • Implementation-minded policy making 
    How can policy work can be more mindful of what is required for effective implementation? Wales Centre for Public Policy commissioned CEI to undertake a synthesis of the latest evidence on how to bridge the policy-implementation gap.

Find out more about our current work HERE