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What is an Evidence Supported Treatment

An Evidence Supported Treatment (EST) is a treatment or intervention protocol that has scientific, empirical research evidence for its efficacy with its intended problems and populations.

The evidence supporting a treatment may be based on a variety of research designs.

  • Randomized Clinical Trial (RCT)
  • Controlled studies without randomization
  • Open trials, pre-post-, or uncontrolled studies
  • Multiple baseline, single case designs

The degree to which we have confidence in the effectiveness of a treatment varies by the quality of empirical support it has.  Factors to consider when evaluating the evidence supporting a particular treatment include:

  • Have Systematic Reviews of multiple studies found positive results?
  • The number of RCT's conducted that have found positive results.
  • Have RCT's found negative results?
  • Have researchers other than the developers of the treatment conducted RCTs and found positive results?
  • Other supporting research designs
  • Has research found positive results with different populations of clients?
  • Research methods used such as sampling approaches, sample sizes, varied client populations, comparison treatments, measurement approaches, effect sizes, problems affected.

Resources to learn more about Evidence Supported Treatments

      OVC Guidelines for Treatment of Physical and Sexual Abuse (PDF)

      Trauma Informed Interventions (PDF)

      California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare

      Child Welfare Information Gateway