I wonder if thinking about proving youth work is inherently wrong as an approach to youth work.
Evaluation, in its original Latin sense, meant to strengthen. In recent years, evaluation has often come to mean something else. It has become a tool of funders wanting to judge what is ‘successful’, what ‘works’ and what should or should not be invested in.
Evaluation is a key issue for youth work. But to often evaluation (as stewart cutler pointed out) has become a code for proving youth work works.