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Evidence based practices

This section features practices that have demonstrated their effectiveness through rigorous research. These practices have been reviewed by a team of experts and summarised in a way that is easy to understand.

Find a practice (within the 'Evidence based practices'):

The practices can be also searched along the three policy pillars of the Recommendation for Investing in Children:

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1. Home-Start
Denmark, Hungary, Ireland, Norway, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Czech Republic, France, Denmark, Malta, Greece, Romania, Poland, Latvia, 1973 - still operating

The Home-Start program is a home visiting intervention in which volunteers with child care experience give support to struggling families with children younger than five years of age. Home-Start targets families and mothers with little experience or social support network, who may have minor but not serious physical or mental health issues. Entry and exit to the Home-Start programme is entirely voluntary and all visits are at the convenience of participating families. It aims to reduce the stress of parenting and encourage families, especially families at risk for child abuse and neglect, so that a nurturing environment for their children may be created.

A Home-Start volunteer from the local community visits the family home for a few hours each week until the youngest child turns five or the family decides to exit from the program. On average, volunteers visit families for 6 months, and visits last for around 3-4 hours. The volunteers give emotional support and assistance with household tasks and outings as needed by each family. The volunteers provide friendship, encouragement, and an example of affectionate child care behaviour.

The program was founded in 1973 in the UK and has expanded into 22 countries around the world, including the Czech Republic, Denmark, Norway, Hungary, and The Netherlands. There are 314 local schemes of Home-Start UK located in the United Kingdom and in British Forces Germany and Cyprus. Read more...


2. Catch Up® Literacy
United Kingdom, 2000 - still operating

Catch Up®  Literacy is a UK-based, structured, book-based, one-to-one literacy intervention for learners in aged 6 to 14 who experience reading difficulties. Its main objective is to improve word recognition and language comprehension skills for children who have been struggling to learn to read. The intervention is based on providing children who are facing reading challenges with one-to-one (individual support) 15-minute sessions twice a week.
The Catch Up Literacy intervention is divided into four stages. In the first stage, assessments for learning are conducted in order to identify the focus for intervention and thus target it to the needs of the individual child. In the second stage, a book with the appropriate level of difficulty is chosen; the choice is informed by the outcomes of the assessment conducted in stage one.  In the third stage, the child attends two 15-minute individual sessions per week, during which the child reads the chosen book and then undertakes a related writing activity which addresses one of he identified miscues. Finally, in the fourth stage, the child’s progress is continuously monitored to ensure that the intervention keeps on fulfilling the child’s changing needs. Read more...


3. Catch Up® Numeracy
United Kingdom, 2007 - still operating

Catch Up® Numeracy is a fairly non-intensive intervention (consisting of two 15-minute sessions delivered twice a week by classroom assistants who have undergone three half-days training sessions). The intervention is designed to address relatively mild persistent numeracy difficulties; in different words, the intervention is intended for children who already have some knowledge and understanding of numbers but are below the attainment level expected of their age cohort. The intervention was launched in 2007 by the not-for-profit UK charity, Catch Up®, and since then it has been implemented in over 47 local authorities across England and Wales.

The intervention largely builds upon the Numeracy Recovery research while also combining some elements from the Catch Up® Literacy intervention. Namely, from the former, the intervention designers have adopted a simplified version of the componential view of arithmetic - which assumes that mathematical development involves potentially independent and separately developing skills and processes; thus, the intervention divides arithmetical ability into various components, which children are assessed against, and then tailors intervention according to the outcomes of the assessment - while the structure of the intervention has been based on the latter. Similarly to Catch Up Literacy,
Catch Up Numeracy consists of four stages and is delivered through three-part 15-minute individual sessions taking place twice a week. It also has the same levels of attainment.

The children’s progress throughout the intervention is scaffolded on two dimensions:  individual components of numeracy and the levels of attainment. Read more...


4. Comet / Komet
Sweden, 2003 - still operating

Comet (COMmunication METhod; Komet in Swedish) is a standardized programme designed for parents of children age 3-11 whose children display negative behaviours, such as Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Attention-Deficit Disorder (ADD), or Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD).  Comet combines components from other evidence based parent-training practices for oppositional defiance (Barkley, R., 1997; Webster-Stratton, 1996; and Bloomquist and Schnell, 2002).  The programme is delivered in eleven weekly 2.5 hour sessions and one follow-up session, each facilitated by two trained group leaders.  In Kling, et al., 2010, there were between 3 and 10 parents participating in each group.  The sessions include instruction from the facilitators, short video segments showing parent-child interactions, role-playing, and assignment of homework to practice specific concepts with their child for the next week. Read more...


5. School-Comet
Sweden, 2005 - still operating

School-Comet (COMmunication METhod; Skol-Komet in Swedish) for teachers is a standardized behaviour management training programme to help manage individual students with externalizing behaviours and general classroom behaviour management (Forster & Karlberg, 2005).  School-Comet is based on the principles of behaviour management strategies (BM), including functional behavioural assessment (FBA) which is a set of procedures developed to ascertain the reasons behind problem behaviours.  School-Comet is designed for teachers of elementary school levels whose students display negative behaviours. Read more...