A key goal of the Communities That Care effort is to identify which risk and protective factors and problem behaviors are prevalent in our community, then implement evidence-based programs and strategies which address our community’s profile.
Data workgroup members created an inventory of resources related to Montrose’s risk and protective factors. A phone survey was designed to gather relevant information from each resource listed in the inventory (age served, evidence based, does it address the risk and protective factor.) Our coalition chose to inventory resources that not only addressed the prioritized risk and protective factor but also the linked health and behavioral outcomes. We listed 76 resources on the Community Resource Assessment. Addressing the risk factor impacts: substance use, delinquency, teen pregnancy, school dropout issues, and violence.
Research demonstrates that young people who experiment with alcohol, marijuana or other substances before 13 years old are at a higher risk of substance misuse later in life. Additionally, protective factors, such as the Social Development Strategy, can buffer young people from this risk.
The assessment revealed there is a lack of existing resources that address universal prevention, lack of existing resources that are evidence based, many resources may have a waiting list or they are not easily accessible, and/or there are age gaps in youth served. There is a current vaping education program in the process of being developed.
As we finalize phase 3 of CTC, we prepare to move into phase 4, selection and implementation of programs and strategies to address our identified risk and protective factors.
Data work group will now explore tested and promising programs from the Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development and make recommendations to the community board. The following programs are being explored.
- Positive Action addresses universal prevention, starts in elementary school. These would be school based, 15-30 minute lessons, but Whitney, counselor with MCSD, mentioned that this program may be duplicative of programs the school district will be piloting in the future. Perhaps CTC could partner with the schools in this initiative.
- Guiding Good Choices addressing universal prevention, developed by David Hawkin, founder of CTC and Social Development Strategy. Community-based program, 5 sessions, middle school with parent involvement. Kristina, data group member, shared that she participated in a very similar program and it was a positive experience. Addresses risk factor and parental bonding.
- Strengthening Families for ages 10-14, 7 sessions, group parenting and youth skills program. Community based. Addresses our risk factor and Social Development strategy protective factors.
The largest determining factor of a person’s health status is the environment and community in which they are raised and interact with others. This includes an individual’s physical surroundings as well as the social and economic forces and structures that influence their decision making and behavior. Because these interventions are focused on changing the broader community or environment, we look to Systems Change strategies, to address the needed changes in a system to better support a person’s environment for optimal protective factors.