Identifying Effective Prevention Programs

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The most effective violence-prevention programs won’t work for every young person, according to Oscar Githua, a forensic psychologist with experience in the Los Angeles County juvenile justice system.

That’s because the best programs optimize their services for specific target demographics.

When you discover “what the individual youth’s needs are and tailor interventions that target those areas, you will actually have a better outcome,” Githua said. Finding such programs can prove difficult for professionals and especially for parents desperate for help.

With a mission to “identify truly outstanding violence and drug prevention programs that meet a high scientific standard of effectiveness,” the Blueprints Model Programs from the Center for Study and Prevention of Violence (CSPV) at the University of Colorado Boulder is helping.

So far, only 11 programs have met the Blueprints Model’s high standards (22 programs have been designated “promising”), which gives three criteria the greatest weight: a well-researched design with strong evidence of a deterrent effect, a sustained effect, and the ability to replicate the program in other locations.

The 11 model programs are:

? Midwestern Prevention Project (MPP)

? Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBS)

? Functional Family Therapy (FFT)

? Life Skills Training (LST)

? Multisystemic Therapy (MST)

? Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP)

? Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care (MTFC)

? Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (BPP)

? Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATHS)

? The Incredible Years: Parent, Teacher and Child Training Series (IYS)

? Project Towards No Drug Abuse (Project TND)

For more information on the Blueprints Model standards, visit