Our Completed Work

The REACH Center supports research that enhances the quality of life for children, youth, and families and disseminates the benefits of this research to the public through outreach and professional development for staff and educators working with these audiences.

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Ballard, J., & Borden, L. M. (2020). A study of military spouse licensure portability in legislation and proactive. Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning. https://doi.org/10.1891/JFCP-19-00007

Ballard, J., Borden, L. M. & Perkins, D. F. (2021). Program quality components related to youth civic engagement. Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 126(C). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2021.106022

Ballard, J., Richmond, A., van den Hoogenhof, S., Borden, L. M., & Perkins, D. F. (2021). Missing Data in Research on Youth and Family Programs. Psychological Reports. https://doi.org/10.1177/00332941211026851

Bommarito, R. K., Sherman, M. D., Rudi, J. H., Mikal, J., & Borden, L. M. (2017). Challenges facing military spouses during post-deployment reintegration: A review of the literature and current supports. Military Behavioral Health, 5(1), 51-63. https://doi.org/10.1080/21635781.2016.1243494

Borden, L. M., Ballard, J., Michl-Petzing, L., Conn, M., Mull, C. D., & Wilkens, M. (2020). Foundations for the future: Building an integrated, cohesive field of youth development. Journal of Youth Development, 15(1), 266-286. https://doi.org/10.5195/jyd.2020.937

Borden, L. M., Conn, M., Mull, C., & Wilkens, M. (2020). The youth development workforce: The people, the profession, and the possibilities. The Journal of Youth Development, 15(1)1-8. https://doi.org/10.5195/jyd.2020.930

Borden, L. M., Hawkey, K. R., & Mentzer, C. E. (2015). Excel initiative: Excellence in youth programming. Journal of Youth Development, 10(2), 96-101. https://doi.org/10.5195/jyd.2015.411

Borden, L. M., Perkins, D. F., & Hawkey, K. (2014). 4-H youth development: The past, the present, and the future. Journal of Extension, 52(4). https://archives.joe.org/joe/2014august/pdf/JOE_v52_4comm1.pdf

Gliske, K., Ballard, J., Buchanan, G., Borden, L. M., & Perkins, D. F. (2021). The components of quality in youth programs and association with positive youth outcomes: A person-centered approach. Children and Youth Services Review, 120.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2020.105696

Gliske, K., Richmond, A., Smischney, T., & Borden, L. M. (2019). Mindfulness strategies: Supporting military parents during reintegration. Mindfulness, 10, 1721-1729. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-019-01156-0

McCarthy, K. J., Perkins, D. F., Roberts, M., Potter, S., Guin, A. H., Carroll, J. B., Deringer, N. C., Gliske, K., Ballard, J., & Borden, L. M. (2020). Evaluation of coach-based technical assistance: An evolving focus on program improvement. Journal of Human Sciences and Extension, 8(2), 28-50. https://scholarsjunction.msstate.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1254&context=jhse

McGuire, J. K., Dworkin, J., Borden, L. M., Perkins, D., & Russell, S. T. (2017). Youth motivations for program participation. Journal of Youth Development, 11(30), 7-25. https://doi.org/10.5195/jyd.2016.457

Meek, N. A., Totenhagen, C. J., Hawkins, S. A., & Borden, L. M. (2016). Staying connected on the home front: Communication and well-being of civilian spouses during deployment. Journal of Family Studies, 25(3), 287-304. https://doi.org/10.1080/13229400.2016.1248856

Nichter, M., Borden, L. M., & Przybyl, V. (2013). The role of youth program leaders in the use of technology: Challenges and opportunities for youth serving organizations. Journal of Youth Development, 8(3), 83-94. https://doi.org/10.5195/jyd.2013.86

Olson, J. R., Hawkey, K. R., Smith, B., Perkins, D. F., & Borden, L. M. (2016). Applying a coaching model to help support youth- and family-focused extension programming. The Journal of Extension 54(1). https://archives.joe.org/joe/2016february/pdf/JOE_v54_1a4.pdf

Olson, J. R., McCarthy, K. J., Perkins, D. F., & Borden, L. M. (2018). A formative evaluation of a coach-based technical assistance model for youth- and family-focused programming. Evaluation and Program Planning, 67, 29-37. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S014971891730037X

Olson, J. R., Smith, B., Hawkey, K. R., Perkins, D. F., & Borden, L. M. (2016). A formative evaluation of the Children, Youth, and Families At Risk (CYFAR) coaching model. The Journal of Extension 54(2). https://tigerprints.clemson.edu/joe/vol54/iss2/26/

Rea, J., Danes, S., Serido, J., Borden, L. M., & Shim, S. (2019). "Being able to support yourself": Young adults' meaning of financial well-being through family financial socialization. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 40, 250-268https://doi.org/10.1007/s10834-018-9602-7

Rea, J., Serido, J., Borden, L. M., Danes, S., Ahn, S. Y., & Shim, S. (2020). Who says “I do”? The roles of finances, individual values, and personal and background factors on emerging adults’ relationship choices. Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning, 31(1). https://doi.org/10.1891/JFCP-19-00016

Richmond, A., & Borden, L. M. (2020). Motivational interviewing: An approach to support youth aging out of foster care. Journal of Social Work. https://doi.org/10.1177/1468017320920176

Richmond, A., Braughton, J., & Borden, L. M. (2018). Training youth program staff on the importance of cultural responsiveness and humility: Current status and future directions in professional development. Children and Youth Services Review, 93, 501-507. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2018.07.022

Sherman, M. D., Larsen, J., & Borden, L. M. (2015). Broadening the focus in supporting reintegrating Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans: Six key domains of functioning. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 45(5), 355-365. https://doi.apa.org/doi/10.1037/pro0000043

Smischney, T., Roberts, M., Gliske, K., Borden, L. M., & Perkins, D. (2018). Developing youth competencies: The impact of program quality. Journal of Youth Development, 13(4), 29-48. https://doi.org/10.5195/jyd.2018.587

Totenhagen, C.J., Casper, D. M., Faber, K. M., Bosch, L. A., Wiggs, C. B., & Borden, L. M. (2015). Youth financial literacy: A review of key considerations and promising delivery methods. Journal of Family Economic Issues, 36(2), 167-191. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10834-014-9397-0

Totenhagen, C. J., Hawkins, S. A., Casper, D. M., Bosch, L. A., Wiggs, C. B., Hawkey, K. R., Koch, B., Langbert, L., & Borden, L. M. (2015). Retaining early childhood education workers: A review of the empirical literature. Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 30(4), 585-599. https://doi.org/10.1080/02568543.2016.1214652

Book Chapter

DiNallo, J. M., Kuhl, M., Borden, L. M., & Perkins, D. F. (2016). Interventions to support and strengthen parenting in military families: State of the evidence. In A. H. Gewirtz & A. M. Youssef (Eds.), Risk and resilience in military families (pp. 195-212). New York, NY: Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-12556-5_11


The REACH Lab develops curriculum for professionals who work with children, youth, and families. The curriculum is scaffolded and addresses specific skills related to research on human and youth development. Developed to be accessible, relevant, and related to current topics, the curriculum is grounded in the latest research related to the topic. Most of the curriculum developed by the REACH Lab is available free of charge via the Professional Development tab on the REACH website.

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Live Learning Lab

Research indicates that measuring success or quality in a youth development program depends on understanding and applying the key elements of youth development. The Live Learning Lab is a toolkit that leverages the latest research for after-school and youth program quality and links it to program observations. This toolkit includes observation tools, professional development exercises, and resources to further develop staff competency. When combined with data from the Youth Program Staff Assessment and youth input, data from the Live Learning Lab helps organizations assess and address program quality. Contact REACHLab@umn.edu to discuss how your organization can use the Live Learning Lab to improve your program quality.

Military Family 101

To support the professional development of staff within the Department of Defense’s (DOD) integrated social service model for delivering comprehensive family readiness services to military service members and their families, the REACH Lab developed a series of 14 training modules. The modules fall within three domains (mobilization and deployment readiness, personal and family life readiness, and mobility and financial readiness) and were developed to familiarize service providers and staff to the Family Readiness System. Each subject area was researched using DOD sources, Military Service branch regulations and instructions, current research, and evidence-based practices. In addition, the REACH Lab convened and facilitated working groups from all Services to inform the work.

Military Spouse Licensure Portability Examination

The well-being of military spouses can significantly impact Service members. Military spouses’ well-being is influenced by several factors, such as their career options and mobility of employment. Since many military spouses work in careers that require licenses or credentials, it is important to understand how they can maintain their licensure as they navigate the many changes (e.g., multiple relocations) military families experience. The REACH Lab contacted five professional licensing boards in each state to assess how well they have been able to support military spouses' transfer of licensure (or skills) when they relocate to a new state.

Read the Full Report and Individual State Reports


Ballard, J., Perkins, D., & Borden, L. M. (2021, November 2-4). Ease of computer use among at-risk youth [Poster presentation]. Annual conference of the National Council on Family Relations.

Ballard, J., Richmand, A., Nunn, S., & Borden, L. (2022). Return on Investment: Presenting the monetary value of your program.  Public Issues Leadership Development (PILD) annual conference. April 3-April 6 20222, Washington: DC.

Ballard, J., Richmond, A., van den Hoogenhof, S., & Borden, L. M. (2020, October). Prevalence of site-level missing data in a national evaluation of programs for at-risk families [Poster session canceled]. Annual Conference of the American Evaluation Association, Portland, OR.

Grant, S., Ballard, J., Richmand, A., Nunn, S., & Borden, L (2022). Return on Investment: Presenting the Monetary Value of your Program. University of Minnesota Extension Conference.

Grant, S. & Kelly-Collins, E. (2022). Reshaping reports for financial stakeholders, American Evaluation Association Conference.

Grant, S. & van den Hoogenhof, S. (2022). Tips for evaluating grant funded projects. University of Minnesota Extension Conference.

Otto, M., Ballard, J., & Borden, L. (2022). Inclusion Every Step of the Way. National After-School Association Annual Conference. March 20-23, Las Vegas.

Otto, M., & Richmond, A. (2021, August 3). Diversity, equity, and inclusion in youth programs: Developing inclusive program structures [Invited presentation]. Military Family Learning Network Webinar.

Otto, M., & Richmond, A. (2021, August 24). Diversity, equity, and inclusion in youth programs: Fostering supportive adult–youth relationships [Invited presentation]. Military Family Learning Network Webinar.

van den Hoogenhof, S., Ballard, J., & Borden, L. (2021, Oct. 6-8). Sustainability Practices among Community Projects for At-Risk Families. Annual program conference of University of Minnesota Extension, Minneapolis, MN.

Richmond, A., Serido, J., van den Hoogenhof, S., Gupta, A., Ballard, J., & Borden, L. M. (2020, November 11-13). Stealth wealth: Understanding and improving financial decision-making of non-majority emerging adults. [Paper presentation] Annual Meeting of the National Council on Family Relations.

Practice Note

Motivational Interviewing in Transitional Planning: Supporting Youth Transitioning out of Foster Care 

Nearly 25% of the children in foster care are between 14 and 17 years of age. This Practice Note articulates the importance of independent living and how to successfully help teens transition. 

* Note: this is an external link

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Putting Research to Work

The REACH Lab offers professionals who work on behalf of children, youth, and families a variety of tools and resources to bridge the gap between research and service delivery. Putting Research to Work (PRTW) is one such tool that helps professionals understand trends in the latest social science research that they can apply to their work on policies and in programs that serve families. PRTWs are two-page summaries of peer-reviewed, empirical articles that describe the study (e.g., methods and participants) and highlight key findings, limitations, and implications of the findings. Topics of PRTWs complement the research projects and training materials the lab produces.

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Research Reports

The REACH Lab conducts comprehensive reviews of scientific and lay resources to produce written reports that provide detailed information on issues that affect children, youth, and families. These reviews are often in response to stakeholders' needs to better understand aspects of the lives of the children, youth, and  families on whose behalf they work. These reports can also help stakeholders better provide tools, resources, training, and other materials as well as help improve policies and programs aimed at supporting families. Topics of these research reports range from child maltreatment, mindfulness, and financial stress among military families.

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Youth Program Staff Assessment

The Youth Program Staff Assessment is a tool designed to help youth program staff and managers reflect on their current program. The tool can be paired with youth program reflections to provide a wholistic review of a program's strengths and to identify opportunities for growth. Contact REACHLab@umn.edu to discuss how your program can use the Youth Program Staff Assessment.

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