Research to Practice Reports

Moving the Dial is a series of reports that reviews evidence from research, practice, and lived experience to inform your work with youth in a variety of contexts. 

Supporting Positive Outcomes for Youth Involved with the Law

This report reviews literature that helps us understand how to better support positive outcomes for youth involved with the law. The report is meant to serve as a resource and guide for evidence-based practice for programs that work with youth. It explores the impact of the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA), the legal statute that governs youth justice programs and systems in Canada. The YCJA’s emphasis on using extrajudicial measures to divert first time or less serious and non-violent offenders away from the criminal justice system has successfully shifted the focus of the youth justice system from being more punitive to being more rehabilitative. This report looks at the outcomes of this legislation, reviews ‘what works’ from the literature, and provides recommendations and evidence-based guidelines and principles for practitioners and program developers to support positive outcomes for youth involved with the law.

Changing Leaders, Leading Change:
A Leadership Development Model for Marginalized
Youth in Urban Communities

This report identifies and responds to the demographic urgency for supporting long-term approaches that enable urban youth in marginalized communities to reach their full potential. With particular attention given to addressing the structural effects of marginalization through youth leadership development initiatives, the report surveys current theories and evidence on youth leadership development which it draws on in order to determine key elements of an urban youth leadership development model. It suggests approaches to evaluating the outcomes and impacts of such a model, and identifies critical knowledge gaps where more research is needed.

Supporting Youth Living
With & Affected By HIV in Ontario 

The report is organized into three main sections. The first sets the context, highlighting the demographics of youth living with HIV in Canada (specifically in Ontario) and the intersecting factors that contribute to the vulnerability of youth living with and affected by HIV, through a social determinants of health lens. The next section details frameworks, evidence-based interventions, and program features that support youth living with and affected by HIV. The final section outlines recommendations for best practices and strategies that can be adopted by youth workers and youth-serving organizations.

Game On: Sport Participation as a Vehicle for Positive Development for Youth Facing Barriers

This report provides information for youth sport programmers and practitioners, particularly those working with youth facing barriers, on how to deepen the impact of sport programs by intentionally structuring these programs to support psychosocial development. It summarizes the current state of research on youth development within community-based sport and/or physical activity programs for youth, both theoretically and empirically. Moreover, we identify strategies and best practices for fostering youth development within community-based sport and/or physical activity contexts. Finally, we provide recommendations for community-based youth sport programmers to incorporate positive youth development (PYD) frameworks, approaches, and strategies into their programs. 

Trans Youth and the Right to Access Public Washrooms: A Critical Perspective on a Social Policy 

This Research to Practice report defines, explores, and analyzes some of the challenges, fears, anxieties, and issues trans-identified youth experience, particularly with respect to safe access to public washrooms. The report places current debates about the rights of trans youth, which have become increasingly public, in context by engaging recent research and social policy. Specifically, the report presents a focused look at how the issue of safe access to public washrooms affects trans youth in Canada. It explores the potential benefits and drawbacks of Canada’s now failed Bill C-279, the so-called Bathroom Bill, and provides a critical perspective on the issues it raises for trans youth. The report examines the implications of opposition to trans youth’s rights to safe public washroom use, and argues instead for the importance of upholding the basic human right of trans-identified individuals to enjoy the freedom to safely access the public washroom of their choosing. The report concludes with recommendations for youth programs and services to ensure that they are inclusive and accessible for trans youth.

Bridging Programs: Pathways to Equity in Post-Secondary Education

The purpose of this report is to review the evidence related to how well existing post-secondary education (PSE) bridging programs support and enable underrepresented youth to access, persist, and complete a PSE program.

This paper seeks to:
• Review and assess the most effective bridging strategies and/or programs for engaging underrepresented youth in PSE;

• Present evaluated strategies for engaging young people in bridging opportunities and for keeping them engaged and supported after transitioning to PSE; and,

• Reflect on the challenges in the delivery of bridging programs and examine case studies of programs that have achieved significant success.

Find the evidence for your youth program!

Our team has developed more than 90 Evidence Briefs to support youth programs. Each brief outlines evidence-informed practices that can be integrated into program design, development, and evaluation.

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