APA advocates for investment in evidence-based programs for youth

Bipartisan federal legislation aimed at reducing crime and saving lives.

By Kerry Bolger, PhD

Youth PROMISE Act Working GroupAPA has joined the Youth PROMISE Act Working Group to advocate for federal legislation to prevent juvenile delinquency and gang activity. The Working Group is a coalition of national organizations that have come together to advocate for passage of the Youth PROMISE (Prison Reduction through Opportunities, Mentoring, Intervention, Support and Education) Act. 

The Youth PROMISE Act has been introduced by Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-Va.) in each Congress since 2007. This year, Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) has partnered with Rep. Scott as an original cosponsor of the bill (H.R. 1318). Together, Reps. Scott and Jones are providing important bipartisan leadership aimed at reducing crime, saving lives and saving money by investing in evidence-based prevention and intervention.

Research shows that increased implementation of evidence-based prevention and intervention programs can promote prosocial development and reduce crime, incarceration and criminal justice costs (Aos, Miller & Drake, 2006). Unfortunately, only a small percentage of the youth who could benefit from evidence-based programs currently have access to them (Greenwood, 2008). The Youth PROMISE Act would address this problem by providing grants to local and tribal communities to assess unmet needs of youth and to implement evidence-based and promising practices to build youth, family and community strength.

APA has supported the Youth PROMISE Act in each Congress in which it has been introduced. Collaboration with the Youth PROMISE Working Group will enhance APA’s effectiveness in advocating for passage of this legislation.


Aos, S., Miller, M., & Drake, E. (2006). Evidence-based public policy options to reduce future prison construction, criminal justice costs and crime rates. Olympia, Wash.: Washington State Institute for Public Policy.

Greenwood, P.W. (2008). Prevention and intervention programs for juvenile offenders. Future of Children, 18, 185–210.