Public/Private Ventures (P/PV)

Legacy collection

Innovation. Research. Action.

After almost 35 years Public/Private Ventures (P/PV) has ceased operations. The organization leaves behind an incredible legacy of knowledge, including hundreds of research reports, case studies and evaluations about how best to improve programs and outcomes for children, youth and families. We are fortunate that P/PV has decided to archive its publications collection with the Foundation Center's IssueLab so that practitioners can benefit from this knowledge for years to come.

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Growing What Works: Lessons Learned from Pennsylvania's Nurse-Family Partnership Initiative

September 1, 2009

In 2001, P/PV was asked to oversee the statewide replication of the Nurse-Family Partnership in Pennsylvania -- one of the largest and most successful expansions of this well regarded home-visiting program, which has been found to produce substantial and enduring improvements in the health and well-being of low-income first-time parents and their children. Our experience in Pennsylvania has shown that the replication of evidence-based models can be an enormous challenge, even for highly defined and effective programs like Nurse-Family Partnership. Replication across many sites simultaneously, and by a common funder, is labor-intensive and comes with expectations of outcomes similar to those achieved in research trials. As a result, ensuring fidelity to the established program model, while allowing for local innovation, is paramount to success.Using the Pennsylvania Nurse-Family Partnership experience as a case study, this report provides key lessons for policymakers and funders interested in bringing proven models to a statewide scale, including best practices for selecting implementing agencies; fostering a sense of community among geographically dispersed sites; monitoring program results to promote quality; and engaging local administrators and site leaders.

Laying a Solid Foundation: Strategies for Effective Program Replication

July 1, 2009

With limited funds available for social investment, policymakers and philanthropists are naturally interested in supporting programs with the greatest chance of effectiveness and the ability to benefit the largest number of people. When a program rises to the fore with strong, proven results, it makes sense to ask whether that success can be reproduced in new settings.Program replication is premised on the understanding that many social problems are common across diverse communities -- and that it is far more cost-effective to systematically replicate an effective solution to these problems than to continually reinvent the wheel. When done well, replication of strong social programs has the potential to make a positive difference not just for individual participants, but indeed for entire communities, cities and the nation as a whole.Yet despite general agreement among policymakers and philanthropists about the value of replication, successful efforts to bring social programs to scale have been limited, and rarely is replication advanced through systematic public policy initiatives. More often, replication is the result of a particular social entrepreneur's tireless ambition, ability to raise funds and marketing savvy. The failure to spread social program successes more widely and methodically results from a lack of knowledge about the science and practice of replication and from the limited development of systems -- at local, state or federal levels -- to support replication.Fortunately, there seems to be growing awareness of the need to invest in such systems. For example, the 2009 Serve America Act included authorization for a new Social Innovation Fund that would "strengthen the infrastructure to identify, invest in, replicate and expand" proven initiatives. The Obama administration recently requested that Congress appropriate $50 million to this fund, with a focus on "find(ing) the most effective programs out there and then provid(ing) the capital needed to replicate their success in communities around the country."But more than financial capital is required to ensure that when a program is replicated, it will continue to achieve strong results. Over the past 15 years, Public/ Private Ventures (P/PV) has taken a deliberate approach to advancing the science and practice of program replication. Through our work with a wide range of funders and initiatives, including the well-regarded Nurse-Family Partnership, which has now spread to more than 350 communities nationwide, we have accumulated compelling evidence about specific strategies that can help ensure a successful replication. We have come to understand that programs approach replication at different stages in their development -- from fledgling individual efforts that have quickly blossomed and attracted a good deal of interest and support to more mature programs that have slowly expanded their reach and refined their approach over many years. There are rarer cases in which programs have rigorous research in hand proving their effectiveness, multiple sites in successful operation and willing funders prepared to support large-scale replication.Regardless of where a promising program may be in its development, our experience points to a number of important lessons and insights about the replication process, which can inform hard decisions about whether, when and how to expand a program's reach and total impact. In the interest of expanding programs that work, funders sometimes neglect the structures and processes that must be in place to support successful replication. These structures should be seen as the "connective tissue" between a program that seeks to expand and the provision of funding for that program's broad replication.This report represents a synthesis of P/PV's 30 years of designing, testing and replicating a variety of social programs and explains the key structures that should be in place before wide-scale replication is considered. It is designed to serve as a guide for policymakers, practitioners and philanthropists interested in a systematic approach to successful replication.

The Power of Plain Talk: Exploring One Program's Influence on the Adolescent Reproductive Health Field

May 15, 2006

Launched by the Annie E. Casey Foundation in the early 1990s, Plain Talk is a community-based initiative that seeks to reduce the incidence of teen pregnancy and STDs by improving adult/teen communication about sex. A key component of the program is parental involvementwhich was once seen by many in the adolescent reproductive health (ARH) field as a necessary evil rather than important partnership. To determine if Plain Talk had a positive influence on the field's view of parental involvement, and on a number of other related issues, P/PV conducted interviews with 15 leaders from prominent ARH organizations, first in 2003 and again in 2005. This report compiles the results.

Copy That: Guidelines for Replicating Programs to Prevent Teen Pregnancy

January 19, 2006

Published jointly with The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, this report provides guidance about the replication of effective pregnancy prevention programs. It urges stakeholders to ask a variety of key questions when considering replication: Is the program effective? (What kind of evaluation has been done and what did it show?) What are the essential elements that make the program effective? Is the program ready to be replicated (with clear documentation)? And what is the replication plan? The report gleans lessons from the replication experiences of three programs: The Teen Outreach Program, The CAS-Carrera Program, and Plain Talk, whose national replication is being managed by P/PV.

Walking the Plain Talk: A Guide for Trainers

May 30, 2003

The Plain Talk model is designed to improve adults' communication with teens about responsible sexual behavior. This publication is a "Training of Trainers" manual for "Walkers and Talkers" and "Home Health Parties," and is a companion piece to the Plain Talk Implementation Guide. This manual provides trainers with the information and materials they need to conduct training sessions for neighborhood residents. It is organized around core training topics, such as adolescent development, family communication, and reproductive health. Every topic includes an overview of the learning objectives and training tools such as lesson plans, sample lectures, and role plays. These training materials were designed by the original Plain Talk sites and found to be effective in diverse neighborhoods, particularly African American and Latino communities.

The Plain Talk Implementation Guide

December 6, 2002

Public/Private Ventures' cross-site evaluation determined that the Plain Talk framework enabled communities to change the ways adults communicated with teens. It also showed that youth in Plain Talk communities who talked to adults were less likely to have an STD or a pregnancy. These results confirmed the validity of three basic Plain Talk components: Community Mapping, Walkers and Talkers, and Home Health Parties.

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