Program

Nov 08, 2007

OVERVIEW

Project SAFE is a
multicomponent prevention program which seeks to
prevent risk-enhancing behaviors which can lead to substance abuse. The
program is composed of two main components: the I Can Problem Solve (ICPS)
program which focuses on problem solving and critical thinking and the
Strengthening Families (SF) program which provides parents, children, and
families with problem solving and communication skills. An experimental
evaluation randomized first grade classrooms in 12 rural schools. Participants
received either one of the programs alone, or both together. The controls
received no treatment. The evaluation found that the dual component ICPS
and SF program was effective in improving student school bonding, parenting
skills, social competence, family relationships, and student self-regulation.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population: 1st graders
in rural areas

Project Safe is composed of two separate components; the I
Can Problem Solve and the Strengthening Families programs. The Strengthening
Families program is a short term (7-14 session)
intervention which consists of weekly sessions in parent skills training, child
skills training, and family life skills training. The I Can Problem Solve
program uses a variety of interactive tools like games, stories, puppets, and
role playing to supply children with problem-solving and critical thinking
skills. The program is taught in a series of 83 twenty-minute sessions
which occur over the course of a school year.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Kumpfer, K. L., Alvarado, R., Tait, C., &
Turner, C. (2002).
Effectiveness of
school-based family and children’s skills training for substance abuse
prevention among 6-8-year-old rural children. Psychology
of Addictive Behaviors, 16
(4S), S65-S71.

Evaluated population: 655 students in
first grade recruited from 12 schools in the Rocky Mountain
region. The racial breakdown of the child population was 87% Caucasian
and 8% Hispanic. The sample was 53% female, and
6% of the sample was in a special education class.

Approach: Children were recruited from two school districts
in the Rocky Mountain region. Random assignment
was conducted at the classroom level. Classrooms were randomly assigned
to one of four conditions: I Can Problem Solve (ICPS) program only,
Strengthening Families (SF) program combined with the ICPS program,
Strengthening Families (SF) parent training component only combined with the
ICPS program, and a no-treatment control group. 256 children were
assigned to the ICPS only condition; 56 were assigned to the ICPS and SF
combination program; 21 were assigned to the ICPS and parent component SF
program; and 322 were assigned to the control group. Children receiving
the ICPS program component attended 83 twenty-minute sessions over the course
of the first grade school year. Children and parents of children assigned
to a SF component condition attended 14 weekly sessions with the option of
booster sessions at 6 and 12 months after the program’s conclusion.
Children and parents were assessed at pre- and post-test on measures of school
bonding, parenting skills, social competence, family relationships, and
self-regulation.

Results: The researchers defined attrition as
children not attending at least 11 of the 14 SF sessions and, according to this
definition, around 23% of children dropped out of the study. There were
no differences between those who dropped out and those who remained in the
study.

At posttest, children in the ICPS only and the ICPS + SF
full treatment group had larger gains in school bonding than children in the
control group. The ICPS + SF parent training component intervention had
no impact on school bonding. Parents in the ICPS + SF full treatment
group had larger gains in parenting skills compared with the control
group. The other two treatment groups had no impact on parenting
skills. Children in both of the combination ICPS/SF treatment groups had
higher social competence than those in the control group. The ICPS only
group did not have higher levels of social competence. The ICPS + SF full
treatment group had better family relationships compared with the control
group. The other two treatments had no impacts in this area.
Children in all three treatment groups outperformed children in the control
group in terms of self-regulation outcomes.

Overall, the combined treatment focusing on both the family
and the school environments was the most effective. The researchers note that the effect sizes found in this study
were relatively large compared with previous evaluations of prevention
programs. They also note that their sample was limited in that only 21
students were assigned to the ICPS and parent component SF intervention and
that this may have limited power in analyses of program impacts.

Note: Unpublished findings from a 4-year follow-up (Kumpfer, personal communication, 2007) indicate that the
positive impacts for the combined program continued to exceed those for either
of the individual approaches.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

References

Kumpfer, K. L., Alvarado, R., Tait, C., &
Turner, C. (2002). Effectiveness of school-based
family and children’s skills training for substance abuse prevention among
6-8-year-old rural children. Psychology of
Addictive Behaviors, 16
(4S), S65-S71.

Program curriculum for the I Can
Problem Solve curriculum is available for purchase at: 
http://www.researchpress.com/product/item/4628/

The project website for the Strengthening Families
program can be found at:
http://www.strengtheningfamilies.org/

KEYWORDS: Substance
Abuse, Skills Training, Life Skills Training, 1st Grade, White or
Caucasian, Hispanic or Latino, Education, School Engagement, Social Emotional
Health and Development, School-based, Middle Childhood (6-11), Behavioral
Problems, Rural, Children.

Program information last updated 11/8/07