Program

Mar 14, 2007

OVERVIEW

Creating
Lasting Connections (CLC) is a community- and faith-based initiative designed
to delay the onset and subsequent use of alcohol and other drugs by
adolescents. The program operates by targeting various community, family and
youth protective factors in an attempt to enhance the overall resiliency of
families and children. CLC consists of a system level intervention that targets
community resources in addition to a client level intervention that involves
families and adolescents. The interventions include skills training modules,
early intervention, and case management services. An evaluation of the CLC
program found positive impacts on service utilization by parents and youth as
well as on measures of parent knowledge.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population: Adolescents ages 12 to
14 and their families considered at risk for substance use and abuse

The
Creating Lasting Connections program works to delay the onset and use of
alcohol and other drugs (AOD) by promoting the health, wellness and resiliency
of adolescents, their families and communities. The program consists of two
main components and runs for approximately one year. The system level component
works to mobilize the community by engaging church staff and volunteers to
advocate for substance abuse prevention programs, resources, and services. The
program organizes Church Advocate Teams that receive approximately 8 to 10
weeks of training. Upon completion of training, teams are responsible for
identifying and recruiting high-risk families in the community, assisting with
program implementation and evaluation, and ultimately ensuring ongoing family
participation and engagement.

The
client level component of CLC consists of parent and youth training modules,
early intervention services, and follow-up case management. These three
components are organized into three distinct phases. Phases one and two are
known as the Family and Individual Domains, respectively. The parent training
module is implemented during phase one, while the youth training module is
implemented during phase two. CLC consists of two parent training modules which
are known as AOD Issues Training and Not My Child, each of which lasts between
16 and 20 hours. The AOD Issues Training module teaches parents about substance
use and abuse, available prevention programs and information regarding chemical
dependency. The Not My Child module emphasizes family planning and management
skills for addressing substance use, in addition to developing expectations and
consequences for youth. The final training module, Straight Communications
Training, involves both parents and youth. This module emphasizes communication
skills and incorporates role-playing and family oriented social activities.
Parents and adolescents meet separately for 8 to 12 hours and then come
together to practice techniques.

Early
intervention services are offered for at least a year throughout the three
phases. These services are intended to foster family resiliency by offering
ongoing support and resources. Case management services are offered during
phase three, after completion of both training modules. These follow-up
services are provided bi-monthly by phone or through home visits by a case
manager. Services and referrals are offered for approximately five to six
months after the program.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Evaluated population: Adolescents ages 12
to 14 considered at risk for substance use and abuse and their families in five
church communities. A total of 97 parents (n=49 program; n=48 control) and 120
youth (n=59 program; n=61 control) participated in the evaluation.

Approach: Two evaluations were designed to assess effects on church community
engagement and family and adolescent outcomes. For purposes of this report,
only family and adolescent outcomes will be discussed. High-risk families and
adolescents in five communities were recruited by the Church Advocate Teams described
previously. Upon selection and consent, families were randomly assigned to
receive the CLC intervention or to a control group. Data were collected at
baseline, prior to the program intervention and again six to seven months later
after the training modules were completed. The third and final wave of data
collection occurred after approximately one year, after follow-up case
management services had been offered. Each family designated one parent and one
child ages 12 to 14 to complete interviews and questionnaires on parent and
youth resiliency factors and service utilization and perceptions.

Parents
and children were both evaluated on measures of community involvement, service
utilization, actions taken because of services received and perceived helpfulness
of services. Parent resiliency outcomes included AOD knowledge and beliefs,
family communication, parents’ AOD use, family monitoring and supervision as
well as involvement of the child in establishing rules. Adolescent resiliency
outcomes included self-awareness and communication about AOD use and school
work, communication with peers, and bonding with family members.

The
evaluation involved numerous hypotheses testing the interaction effects of the
CLC program on parent and family outcomes. See the full report for details.

Results: Evaluators found no significant differences between the program and
comparison groups at baseline, nor did they find attrition bias throughout the
course of the study.

At
wave three, following case management follow-up services, parents in the
intervention reported taking more action on account of community services
received than parents in the control group (p=.05). CLC parents also
perceived these services to be helpful at higher rates than their control counterparts
(p=.04). Compared with adolescents in the control group, those in the CLC
treatment group also reported greater community service utilization. CLC
adolescents reported significantly more service use when problems arose, taking
more action on account of services received, and more perceived helpfulness
than their control group peers (p=.001).

Program
effects on parent outcomes revealed that parents in the treatment group had
greater short-term and sustained knowledge of AOD, when compared with parents
in the control group (p<.001). Furthermore, CLC parents were significantly
better at involving youth in setting AOD rules than those in the control group
(p<.001). This effect, although significant in the short-term, became
marginal at wave three. Parents’ substance use, community involvement, family
communication, and other family management skills were not significantly
affected by program treatment.

Program
impacts on adolescent outcomes were inconclusive. Adolescent-reported bonding
with mothers increased among program participants; however this effect only
approached significance when compared with the control group (p<.10). All
other findings on adolescent outcome comparisons were nonsignificant.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

Link to program curriculum:
http://www.copes.org/products.php

References

Johnson,
K., Strader, T., Berbaum, M., Bryant, D., Bucholtz, G., Collins, D., & Noe,
T. (1996). Reducing alcohol and other drug use by strengthening community,
family, and youth resiliency: An evaluation of the Creating Lasting Connections
program. Journal of Adolescent Research, 11(1), 36-67.

KEYWORDS:
Case Management, Parent or Family Component, Home Visiting, Clinic-based ,
Provider-based, Community or Media Campaign, Community-based, School-based,
Substance Use, Alcohol Use, Tobacco Use, Skills Training, High-Risk,
Adolescence (12-17), Rural, Suburban, Urban, Co-ed, Manual.

Program
information last updated 3/14/07

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