Supporting Girls to Thrive
Supporting Girls to Thrive Photo

Courtesy of Crittenton Services of Greater Washington


Supporting Girls to Thrive

National Crittenton supports the innovation and sustainability of the Crittenton family of agencies and the field

We deliver this support through technical assistance, training, organizational assessments, a peer-to-peer network, and more, on a wide range of issues such as program innovation and evaluation, organizational development, strategic communication, capacity building, fundraising, and advocacy on the state and federal levels.

Enhancing agency capacity

The relationship between National Crittenton and the Crittenton family of agencies is a unique model of national and local partnership that has stood the test of time for over 130 years. Today, the Crittenton family of agencies is composed of 26 agencies providing services in 31 states and the District of Columbia. This diverse collection of agencies has annual budgets ranging from $1.2 million to over $130 million.

As a unifying national body, National Crittenton provides agencies with technical assistance, training, organizational assessments, a peer-to-peer network, and much more, on a wide range of issues such as crisis and strategic communication, media relations, program innovation and evaluation, fundraising, and advocacy on the state and federal levels.

National Crittenton hosts events for members of the Crittenton family, focusing on skills development, networking, program and services, policy reform, and identifying national trends across the country.

The support provided by National Crittenton augments the internal organizational capacity of Crittenton agencies, enabling them to better support the girls, young women and families who come through their doors.

Read more about the Crittenton family of agencies.

Advocating for girls and young women

National Crittenton works with the Crittenton family of agencies to ensure that the experiences of direct-service providers, and the girls and young women they support, are brought to bear on policymaking in our nation’s capitol. Additionally, National Crittenton provides state-level advocacy training and technical assistance to support agency efforts. Read more about our advocacy work.

Julie Crowe Photo

Encouraging program innovation

National Crittenton supports agency practice innovation through partnerships, funding cross-Crittenton-agency peer training, and pass-through funding for a range of needs including designing and piloting new programs and services.

A few examples include:

The Respect 360 Toolkit

This toolkit, developed by the Respect Institute is being implemented in Arizona, South Carolina, and West Virginia through a Clinton Global Initiative commitment. Additional sites will be added in the future.

Teen Success

In collaboration with Planned Parenthood, TNCF piloted the use of Teen Success, outside of the Planned Parenthood network. Crittenton agencies in Georgia, Montana, and Pennsylvania used the Teen Success program (developed and used by Planned Parenthood) to support young mothers in achieving their educational goals while maintaining their family size.

GRRitS (Gender-responsive, Relationship-centered, Resiliency-focused, and Strength-based)

Florence Crittenton Services of Arizona developed GRRitS after meta-analysis of best practices with young women. GRRitS has more than three years of evaluation data. TNCF funded the costs for staff to train agency teams in North Carolina, South Carolina, and West Virginia.

Rights and Responsibilities Handbook for Young Mothers in Foster Care

Funded through a grant from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, TNCF worked with young mothers to develop this national handbook on the custody and placement rights of young mothers in foster care with respect to their children, which included online state-by-state details. Additionally, Crittenton Services, Inc. in West Virginia, developed a companion curriculum.
> See the handbook

Assets 4 Life

Through a multi-year grant from the Walmart Foundation, 20 Crittenton agencies in 19 states had the opportunity to increase existing capacity, or add new programs and services, in the areas of physical health and nutrition, academic achievement, and job and career development.

Within My Reach

Through a two-stage pilot project funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, agencies in six states including Arizona, California, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina piloted the use of Within My Reach, a healthy relationship curriculum modified for pregnant and parenting young women.

Focusing on the collective expertise of our agencies

Catalyst: A Practitioner-Driven Research Collaborative is grounded in the knowledge that the Crittenton family of agencies is uniquely qualified to seamlessly bring research and the lessons learned to bear on practice and policy. Their collective expertise on supporting the specific needs of girls and young women survivors of abuse, violence, adversity, and a continuous state of recovery from complex trauma, is unparalleled in this country and grounded in more than 3,000 years of collective support for girls.

In partnership with National Crittenton, Catalyst can rapidly translate what is learned through research into practice, and then policy reform. Catalyst is currently under development with the commitment of 20 Crittenton agencies. Catalyst will pose and direct research on questions of practice and outcomes generated by service providers. This research will be based on current trends and gaps in data of particular interest to staff, who interact daily with girls, young women and their families.

Going Beyond ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences)

National Crittenton and the Crittenton family of agencies have known for more than a century that the obstacles faced by girls and young women are the result of acute and persistent exposure to violence, abuse, neglect, and more. Our challenge was, and is, finding ways to effectively communicate it to policy makers and funders.

In 2010, the Crittenton family of agencies began a three-step evidence-building process with the following goals:

  • more effectively define the experience, service needs and potential of girls and young women at the margin;
  • explain why the services Crittenton agencies provide works, in supporting positive outcomes, building on internal resilience, and improving overall well being; and,
  • develop specific evidence of effectiveness over time.

In 2011, as a first step working with Dr. Vincent Felitti, the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) survey was administered by Crittenton agencies as a pilot in 18 states.

This was the first time that the ACE was used with system-involved youth. In 2012, National Crittenton hosted a Capitol Hill event in Washington, DC to release the results of the ACE study on young mothers. (You can find the Ace study and more results summaries in our publications section.)

In 2015, in preparation for the second administration of the ACE. The following steps were taken:

  • A protocol for administration of ACE was developed,
  • Training was developed and administered to all staff administering the ACE,
  • A section of well-being questions were added, and
  • An enhanced demographic section was created.

The second administration is currently underway in 22 agencies, with a cohort of six agencies piloting the use of the well-being questions. Those six agencies include, Kansas, Massachusetts, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia. Release of findings from the second ACE administration will be available in October, 2015.

Additionally in 2015, National Crittentoncy and the Crittenton family of agencies will be working with Dr. Roy Wade to develop a girl and boy-informed survey, based on the ACE, that will address exposure to specific trauma—inducing experiences (not included in ACE) relevant to youth in Crittenton agencies today. This new survey will be administered in Crittenton agencies in 2016. You can learn more about nationwide activities on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) on the  Aces Too High! opens new site in new browser window website.

Baby Sleeping Photo

Photo Credit: Robert W. Madden Photography


41% of female survivors of rape reported that it first occurred prior to age 18

Reference: National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2010-2012 State Report. Link.