Program

Jan 16, 2013

OVERVIEW

The Children Are
People Too (CAP) program is a school-based psychosocial and educational group
program designed to address the problems of children who are exposed to
familial substance abuse. Specifically, the program was designed for
children of parents with alcoholism. The program is school-based and consists
of between 8 and 10 sessions. Each weekly session includes opening and
closing exercises and addresses a specific psychosocial concern that children
may encounter. A random assignment study of 96 students in grades 3-6
found that the program decreased social isolation, improved peer relations, and
reduced interpersonal aggression and disruptive conduct. A similar study
of 206 inner city elementary school children found that the CAP program was effective
in increasing students’ internal sense of control, feelings of self-worth, and
social acceptance of others.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population: The program is given in
elementary schools and used in third to fifth grade classes. Children are
eligible if they have families who are known or suspected of being
substance-involved.

The Children Are
People Too program is a psychosocial and educational program designed to
influence the psychosocial problems that children face with regard to having a
parent with alcoholism. The program includes between 8 and 10 weekly
in-school sessions lasting 1 hour each. The sessions are highly structure
and in each of these one-hour sessions, topics are addressed such as
identifying and appropriately managing feelings, parental addiction, and
personal safety issues. For the evaluation of the program presented below, the
program was modified to focus on all substance abuse and not only alcoholism.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Dore, M. M., Kauffman, E., & Nelson-Zlupko, L. (1996,
March 6-8). Designing, implementing, and evaluating a school-based
psychoeducational group for children with behavioral problems from families
with substance abuse problems. Paper presented at the 8th Annual
Research Conference of the Research and
Training Center
for Children’s Mental Health. Tampa,
FL.

Evaluated population: The evaluated sample
consisted of 96 elementary students in grades 3 through 6 who were randomly
assigned to either an experimental or control group. Participants were
from three inner-city Philadelphia
elementary schools that were selected as being located in areas of high drug
trafficking and drug-related crime. Children were selected for the program if
they had classroom behavior problems or their families were known or suspected
of being substance-involved.

Approach:The evaluation was conducted using the
Children Are People Too program; however, it had to be modified to serve
children from single-parent families and to focus on familial substance abuse
as opposed to simply parental alcoholism. The variation of the program
also included topics such as drug-related violence in the family and
neighborhood. The researchers modified the program to work with children
who had limited verbal skills and other special needs.

In total, data were collected at three points in time: once
in the fall before the program began, once before the spring, and in the late
spring after the end of the program. Data were collected using
standardized instruments. The researchers used the Nowicki-Strickland
Locus of Control Questionnaire, the Children’s Loneliness Questionnaire, and
the Self-Perception Profile for Children. In addition, data were
collected from teachers using the Teachers Report Form of the Child Behavior
Checklist and from group leaders. Data were also collected from teachers
on how well they believed participants had grasped key program concepts.

Results: Program results showed that the only
significant child-reported difference was on the Children’s Loneliness
Questionnaire where participants in the treatment group had significantly lower
scores than the control group (p=.02). Self perception and locus of
control were not affected. With regard to teacher reports, children in
the program group had lower interpersonal aggression, disruptive conduce, and
better classroom behavior. The researchers conclude that the program was
effective at decreasing social isolation and decreasing inappropriate classroom
behavior and other social difficulties.

Dore, M. M., Nelson-Zlupko, L., & Kaufmann, E.
(1999). “Friends in Need”: Designing and implementing a psychoeducational
group for school children from drug-involved families. Social Work,
44(2),
179-190.

Evaluated Population: 206 children (129 male, 77
female) in grades 3-5 attending Philadelphia
inner-city schools. Teachers selected students who they thought were
particularly likely to be affected by family or neighborhood drug
problems. Participants were 70% African-American, 29% Caucasian, and 1%
other ethnicities.

Approach: 50 children were selected from 2 elementary
schools each fall and randomly assigned to treatment in either the fall or
spring semester. Those assigned to treatment in the spring semester served
as the control group for those receiving treatment in the fall semester.
Children in the treatment condition attended 8 weekly group sessions which
lasted an hour and a half each. Children in the control group received
normal school curriculum and no alternative treatment. Students were
assessed in early fall, at the end of the fall semester, and also at the end of
the spring semester on measures of teacher-reported classroom behavior and
self-reported social isolation, locus of control, self-worth, and comprehension
of concepts.

Results: Only one impact achieved statistical
significance. Specifically, children in the experimental group were less
likely than controls to physically attack another person, as reported by the
teacher. Several non-significant findings also emerged. Children in
the study were found to have a greater sense of internal locus of control, more
accepting of others and had increased feelings of self-worth compared with
those in the control group. There were no differences between the
treatment and control groups on measures of loneliness and social
isolation. The authors note that the treatment is brief, given the
difficult circumstances of the subject children.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

References

Dore, M. M., Kauffman, E., & Nelson-Zlupko, L. (1996,
March 6-8). Designing, implementing, and evaluating a school-based
psychoeducational group for children with behavioral problems from families
with substance abuse problems. Paper presented at the 8th Annual
Research Conference of the Research and
Training Center
for Children’s Mental Health. Tampa,
FL.

Dore, M. M., Nelson-Zlupko, L., & Kaufmann, E.
(1999). “Friends in Need”: Designing and implementing a psychoeducational
group for school children from drug-involved families. Social Work,
44(2),
179-190.

KEYWORDS:
Aggression/Violence/Externalizing Problems, Alcohol Use, Conduct/Disruptive
Disorders, Elementary, Marijuana/Illicit/Prescription Drugs, School Engagement,
School-based, Any Substance Use, Urban, Co-ed

Program information last updated 9/15/09