Strengthening Americas Families Program

1999 Strengthening America's Families Project

Program Overview

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) in collaboration with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service's Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) is pleased to provide the results of the 1999 search for "best practice" family strengthening programs. In the following pages you will find two page summaries of family-focused programs which have been proven to be effective. Additional information as well as direct links to individual program websites can be found on the Strengthening America's Families site at The programs in this booklet are divided into categories based upon the degree, quality and outcomes of research associated with them. You will also find a program matrix. This may be helpful to you in determining "at a glance" which programs may best meet your community needs. We hope you find this information beneficial as you search for outstanding family-based programs for the prevention of juvenile delinquency and substance abuse in your community.

1999 Search for Effective Programs

Establishing a pool of programs for review by a committee has its roots in the last 10 years of the OJJDP Family Strengthening project as well as in current work. In former years, national searches were conducted in which nominations were solicited from every state in the United States. In the original 1989 search, over 500 programs were reviewed. During the current project year, unique strategies were used to identify potential programs for consideration. Programs were drawn primarily from "Model Programs identified from 1994 OJJDP National Search", programs identified in the document: "Preventing Substance Abuse Among Children and Adolescents: Family Centered Approaches: Prevention Enhancement Protocol System (PEPS) published by CSAP, a search of the scientific literature and recommendation of program developers of other outstanding models. It should be noted that not all program developers contacted chose to participate in the search either due to the lack of time to compile the information needed or other reasons. The program developers were contacted directly by the University of Utah staff working with OJJDP or the National Center for the Advancement of Prevention (NCAP) staff working with CSAP in order to request their formal submission.

Program Submissions

Program developers submitted a 10-page description of their program in addition to research publications and/or evaluation reports detailing the effectiveness of the program. If applicable, they were also asked to provide their program curriculum material. The 10 page description provided information on the following areas: program history, theoretical assumptions, outcomes expected, targeted population, format and content of the program, teaching methods utilized, staffing requirements, evaluation methodology including research design, measures, data collection, analyses, and results, replications, and capacity for dissemination. This information was forwarded to a panel of experts on the National Program Review Committee (NPRC).

Five committees of nationally known experts were assembled to assess the quality of the program submissions and act as an advisory committee to recommend the best programs. These three person committees focused on family therapy, family skills training, in-home family support, and parenting programs. Committees reviewed and rated the programs and came to consensus regarding the categorization of each program. CSAP staff together with the University of Utah staff determined the final categorization of programs.

Rating/Categorization of Programs

Numerous criteria were utilized by the review committee to rate and categorize programs. The criteria included: theory, fidelity of the interventions, sampling strategy and implementation, attrition, measures, data collection, missing data, analysis, replications, dissemination capability, cultural and age appropriateness, integrity and program utility. Each program was rated independently by reviewers, discussed and a final determination made regarding the appropriate category. The following categories were used:

Exemplary I Exemplary I indicates the program has evaluation of the highest quality with an experimental design with a randomized sample and replication by an independent investigator other than the program developer. Outcome data from the numerous research studies show clear evidence of program effectiveness.

Exemplary II Exemplary II indicates the program has evaluation of the highest quality with an experimental design with a randomized sample. Outcome data from the numerous research studies show clear evidence of program effectiveness.

Model Model indicates the program has research of either an experimental or quasi-experimental design with few or no replications. Outcome data from the research project(s) indicate program effectiveness but the data are not as strong in demonstrating program effectiveness.

Promising Promising indicates the program has limited research and/or employs non-experimental designs. Evaluation data associated with the program appears promising but requires confirmation using scientific techniques. The theoretical base and/or some other aspect of the program is also sound.

If you would like your program to be considered for model program status, CSAP has established an on-going review process as part of their National Registry of Effective Programs. You may contact the Division of Knowledge Development and Evaluation at (301) 443-9110 for more information.

We thank you for your interest and commitment to strengthening families. If you need further assistance you may contact the University of Utah at (801) 581-8498.

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