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Using Prevention That Works 

PCCD has been a long-term investor in programs that demonstrate evidence of meeting challenging objectives. Leaders of those evidence-based programs have seen what works, wasted no time on what doesn’t, and have figured out the benefits versus the costs.

Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development (“Blueprints”) is a major approach supported by PCCD for assessing which programs are likely to succeed. Blueprints are evidence-based and model programs with demonstrated success. The Blueprint Programs are the result of studies conducted by the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Those studies focused on expanding healthy youth development by reducing antisocial behavior.

The Center is rigorous and honest in its approach. Their experts have assessed more than 1,000 programs, including those that are well-intended but lack evidence of effectiveness. Such programs waste resources and can actually cause harm, the Center has shown. As a result of Blueprints, PCCD, like many other organizations, makes better informed decisions on where to invest for the greatest benefit to young people.

PCCD has invested millions to support evidence-based Blueprint and Model Programs in Pennsylvania, with impressive results and solid returns on investment. Supported programs address a wide range of risk-related factors, from family conflict to bullying, and from life skills to aggression replacement. PCCD partners include government agencies involved in child welfare and mental health, judges, probation officers, educators, and health professionals. The programs that are supported are as follows:

The Incredible Years: A group-training program for parents and children ages 3-12 that focuses on emotional problems and parental coaching. This Blueprints Program has reduced anti-social behavior in youth by an estimated 54 percent.

Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies: The objective of this program is to raise emotional and social skills in order to lower aggression in elementary school children (ages 4-11), while expanding learning. The outcome: Sixty percent of children show increased emotional competence, 48 percent show decreased anti-social behavior, and 57 percent show improved concentration and attention.

Big Brothers Big Sisters: This organization’s Blueprints program, which matches mentors with at-risk youth, has decreased anti-social behavior 30 percent in the youth they serve, with 33 percent of participants less likely than those in a control group to hit someone.

Strengthening Families Program (SFP): Balancing limits with caring, SFP’s initiative for youth ages 10-14 has seen a 56 percent improvement in resisting peer pressure by group members.

Life Skills Training—Middle School (LST): The LST program has resulted in a 50-70 percent reduction in use of alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana use within the study group of middle school-aged children.

Project Towards No Drug Abuse (TND): A drug prevention program for high school youth, Project TND has realized a 74 percent increase in awareness in its groups about the consequences of substance abuse and a 22 percent reduction in marijuana use.

For every $1 spent on prevention programs there is a future $4 in savings. These programs are proven to reduce youth violence, substance abuse, and delinquency. They are proven to improve school attendance and achievement as well as family functioning.