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Evaluating the Implementation of a Family-Focused Prevention Program: Effectiveness of SAFE Children

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2012
69 pages
This report presents the methodology and findings of an evaluation of the SAFEChildren intervention, which is a family-oriented delinquency prevention program for parents facing the challenges of raising their children in inner-city communities.
The evaluation found that the intervention resulted in increased levels of academic achievement and parental involvement in school. Intervention participants increased reading skills at a rate approximating national norms. In contrast, control students (matched students not participating in the intervention) were just below the national average at the same point in time. Intervention families maintained levels of parental involvement in their children's schooling over the 21/2 years of the study; however, control families showed decreasing parental involvement. Intervention children in high-risk families showed decreased aggression over time, but high-risk controls had no change in aggression. Intervention children from high-risk families also had positive increases in measured concentration and social competence; control children showed no change in these developmental areas. Among high-risk families, the crucial skills of parental monitoring improved for those in the intervention, but were unchanged for high-risk control families. In a longer term booster intervention and follow-up study, evaluators recruited and tracked 382 of the original 424 SAFE Efficacy Trial participants. There were several sustained effects on children with high initial aggression, including effects on parental monitoring, parental use of effective discipline practices, and parental involvement in school. These results suggest the maintenance of initial effects and the emergence of new effects that impact children and youth at greatest risk for later delinquency. The intervention consists of a reading tutoring program and a family-focused intervention (20 weeks duration) provided during the child's first-grade year. Weekly multiple-family group meetings (approximately five families per group) address issues of parenting, family relationships, child development, and parental involvement in their child's schooling. 23 tables and approximately 80 references

Date Published: February 1, 2012