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Family Foundations

Program Description: Family Foundations was developed in collaboration with childbirth educators to enhance coparenting quality among couples who are expecting their first child. The program consists of four prenatal and four postnatal sessions, run once a week, with each two-hour session administered to groups of 6-10 couples. A trained male-female team leads the sessions and follows the Family Foundations curriculum. The female leader is a childbirth educator, and the male leader is experienced at working with families and leading groups. Ongoing observation of sessions facilitates regular supervision discussions.

The program focuses on coparenting and the coparenting relationship, rather than other romantic relationship or parenting qualities. In assisting parents to work together supportively, the program content covers emotional self-management, conflict management, problem solving, communication, and mutual support strategies. The program organizes material into three major domains: Feelings, Thoughts, and Communication. These domains help participants remember and utilize program tools. Parenting strategies include an understanding of temperament, fostering children’s self-regulation, and promoting attachment security. However, as the focus is on coparenting, these topics are examined in terms of whole-family dynamics. The prenatal classes introduce the couple to themes and skills, and the postnatal classes revisit the themes once the couple has experienced life as parents and coparents. The delivery is psychoeducational and skills-based, with didactic presentations, couple communication exercises, written worksheets, videotaped vignettes of other families, and group discussion. Skilled facilitators are able to maintain fidelity to the content while engaging parents in an interactive, supportive group learning context.

Results: Blueprints has certified two studies evaluating Family Foundations.

Study 1: In the first study (Feinberg & Kan, 2008), couples were randomly assigned in two small cities to the intervention (n=89) or to a control group (n=80) that received mailed literature on developmental stages and selecting quality childcare. Blueprints certified the long-term follow-up (6-7 years after program completion) reported in Feinberg et al. (2014), in which:

♦ Teachers reported lower rates of internalizing for the intervention group children (compared to the children in the control group).

♦ Additionally, intervention group boys had lower teacher-rated attention problems, as well as fewer anxious/depressed, aggressive, and internalizing and externalizing behaviors.

Characteristics of Study 1 Sample as Reported by Study Authors:

Study 2: The second Blueprints-certified study included cohabiting heterosexual couples from three mid-Atlantic and one southern state. Couples were randomly assigned to the intervention (n=221) or control condition (n=178) which received materials on childcare and child development. Feinberg and Gedaly (2021) found at the 7-year follow-up assessment that the intervention group, compared to the control group, showed significantly better observer-rated positive affect, negative affect, physical aggression toward objects, and affection toward parents, and significantly lower teacher-rated externalizing behavior.

Characteristics of Study 2 Sample as Reported by Study Authors:

Cost-Benefits: To date, the Washington State Institute for Public Policy has not conducted a cost-benefit analysis of implementing Family Foundations.

References:

Study 1: Feinberg, M. E., Jones, D. E., Roettger, M., Solmeyer, A., & Hostetler, M. L. (2014). Long-term follow-up of a randomized trial of Family Foundations: Effects on children’s emotional, behavioral, and school adjustment. Journal of Family Psychology, 28(6), 821-831.

Study 2: Feinberg, M., & Gedaly, L. (2021). Family Foundations child outcomes at age 7: Teacher ratings and observational outcomes [Unpublished manuscript]. The Pennsylvania State University.

Read the Program Fact Sheet

YouthBuild

Program Description: During the 9- to 24-month, full-time YouthBuild program, young adults spend half of their time learning construction trade skills by building or rehabilitating affordable housing, community centers or schools. They spend the other half of their time in a YouthBuild classroom earning a high school diploma or equivalency degree. Personal counseling and training in life skills and financial management are provided. The students are part of a mini community of adults and youth committed to each other’s success and to improving the conditions in their neighborhoods.

Characteristics of Study Sample as Reported by Study Authors:

 

Results: Blueprints has certified one study evaluating YouthBuild. In a randomized controlled trial, Miller et al. (2016, 2018) examined 75 program sites with 3,929 youth randomly assigned within sites to intervention and control groups. The study followed participants for 48 months and found:

♦ At 30 months – 6 months after the maximum length of the program – intervention participants, compared with control participants, reported significantly higher rates of earning high school equivalency credentials, enrollment in college, and participation in vocational training, as well as slightly higher wages.

♦ At the 48-month survey, effects were sustained two years after the end of the program.

♦ Similarly, administrative data indicated higher rates of college attendance, degree attainment, employment in year 2, and earnings in year 1.

♦ Survey reports also indicated significantly higher levels of civic engagement for the intervention group.

Cost-Benefits: To date, the Washington State Institute for Public Policy has not conducted a cost-benefit analysis of implementing YouthBuild. However, Miller et al. (2018) conducted a cost-benefit analysis and found that the program benefits through four years did not outweigh the costs, though the authors suggested that benefits may continue to accrue over the participants’ lifetime.

References:

Miller, C., Cummings, D., Millenky, M., Wiegand, A., & Long, D. (2018). Laying a foundation: Four-year results from the national YouthBuild evaluation. MDRC.

Miller, C., Millensky, M., Schwartz, L., Goble, L., & Stein, J. (2016). Building a future: Interim impact findings from the YouthBuild evaluation. New York: MDRC.

Read the Program Fact Sheet

Dr. Karl Hill (Blueprints Board Member) gave a talk at the 2022 High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Summit designed to help change social mindsets to build community readiness for substance use prevention.

As part of the summit, Dr. Hill gave a talk describing how to prepare communities for upstream prevention, and how evidence-based preventive interventions listed on the Blueprint registry can be embedded within a larger strategy for preventing substance use disorders, including opioid use disorders, later in life. Dr. Hill’s session was attended by 788 caregivers, educators, healthcare professionals, public safety professionals, prevention professionals, and other community members – 86% of whom reported that they were likely to integrate what they learned in Dr. Hill’s talk.

The summit was organized by A Division for Advancing Prevention and Treatment (ADAPT), whose mission is to advance knowledge, skills, and quality outcomes in the field of substance use prevention while supporting successful integration of evidence-based strategies into communities.

The talk was followed by a Q&A session with Blueprints PI Dr. Pamela Buckley. Click here to watch the full presentation.

Cannabis eCHECKUP TO GO

Cannabis eCHECKUP TO GO is a brief online, personalized feedback intervention designed to motivate college students to reduce cannabis (marijuana) use by correcting misperceived social norms and providing education on cannabis use. After completing a web-based assessment on demographic measures, cannabis consumption, cannabis consequences and perceived social norms, participants receive standard personalized feedback on their cannabis use and information on their perceptions of cannabis use norms versus actual use prevalence at their university and nationally. The goal of this feedback is to highlight the discrepancies between student perceptions and actual prevalence among peers to increase cognitive dissonance related to their own use. Additionally, participants receive a list of protective behavioral strategies and are asked to consider using these change strategies to help reduce their cannabis use. Finally, they receive suggestions on what they could purchase (i.e., cell phone bills, streaming services) if they save the money they would spend on cannabis.

Blueprints has certified one study evaluating Cannabis eCHECKUP TO GO.

Riggs et al. (2018) conducted a randomized control trial of college students at a large public university in a western state. Undergraduate students screened for heavy cannabis use were eligible for the study and assigned to the intervention condition (n=146) or healthy stress management control condition (n=155). At six weeks post-intervention, compared to control participants, students in the intervention group showed significantly greater reductions in the number of hours high per week, days high per week, weeks high per month, and periods high per week.

To date, the Washington State Institute for Public Policy has not conducted a cost-benefit analysis of implementing Cannabis eCHECKUP TO GO.

References:

Riggs, N. R., Conner, B. T., Parnes, J. E., Prince, M. A., Shillington, A. M., & George, M. W. (2018). Marijuana eCHECKUPTO GO: Effects of a personalized feedback plus protective behavioral strategies intervention for heavy marijuana-using college students. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 190, 13-19. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2018.05.020

Read the Program Fact Sheet

Early College High School Model

An Early College High School offers enrolled students an opportunity to earn an associate degree or up to 2 years of college credits toward a bachelor’s degree during high school at no or low cost to the students. Often described as “small schools that blur the line between high school and college,” the model is designed to enable students to take college courses while still receiving support from high school staff. Many early college models target students who are traditionally underrepresented in postsecondary education, including minority students, students from low-income families, and students who are in the first generation of their families to go to college.

The early college is a comprehensive school reform model that focuses explicitly and purposefully on preparing all of its students for college. Core design principles include: 1) partnering with colleges and universities for enrolled high school students to take college courses; 2) providing opportunities to take college-level courses to all students, not only those who are academically advanced – with some models specifically focusing on dropouts or students at-risk of dropping out of high school; 3) giving students a wide variety of academic and social supports, including personalized relationships; academic tutoring; advising; help with study skills, time management, self-advocacy, and other college “life skills;” and college preparation. In addition, early colleges provide students with supports in the formal transition to college, such as assistance in completing college applications and financial aid forms. Some early colleges also have other design principles for adults in the school (for example, professional development focused on a common vision and a collaborative, learning environment for staff).

Blueprints has certified two studies evaluating Early College High School Model.

Haxton et al. (2016) and Song & Zeiser (2019) conducted a multisite randomized controlled trial using lottery assignments. The study recruited from a five-state sample of 17 lotteries across 10 schools and 3 cohorts of students entering high school in 2005-06, 2006-07, and 2007-08, which resulted in a sample size of 2,458 students. Participants were followed to six years after expected high school graduation. Students participating in the intervention were more likely than those in the control group to enroll in any college, enroll in a 2-year college, and earn a college credential within 2 years and within 6 years of expected high school graduation. They were also more likely to earn a certificate, an associate degree, or a bachelor’s degree within 6 years of expected high school graduation.

Edmunds et al. (2017, 2020) conducted another multisite randomized controlled trial with lottery assignments. This single-state study included 20 cohorts of students who applied to one of 19 early colleges and enrolled in ninth grade from the 2005-06 to 2010-11 school years. The sample of 4,054 students was followed to six years after completion of 12th grade. Compared with the control group, intervention students were more likely to enroll in postsecondary education (2 years after high school graduation), attain a postsecondary degree (within 2 and 6 years after graduation), and attain an associate degree (6 years after the end of grade 12).

References:

Edmunds, J. A., Unlu, F., Furey, J., Glennie, E., & Arshavsky, N. (2020). What happens when you combine high school and college? The impact of the early college model on postsecondary performance and completion. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 42(2), 257-278.

Edmunds, J. A., Unlu, F., Glennie, E., Bernstein, L., Fesler, L., Furey, J., & Arshavsky, N. (2017). Smoothing the transition to postsecondary education: The impact of the early college model. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 10(2), 297-325.

Haxton, C., Song, M., Zeiser, K., Berger, A., Turk-Bicakci, L., Garet, M. S., . . . Hoshen, G. (2016). Longitudinal findings from the Early College High School Initiative Impact Study. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 38(2), 410-430.

Song, M., & Zeiser, K. (2019). Early college, continued success: Longer-term impact of early college high schools. Washington, DC: American Institutes for Research.

Read the Program Fact Sheet.

Growth Mindset for 9th Graders

Growth Mindset for 9th Graders seeks to teach adolescents that intellectual abilities are not fixed but capable of growth with dedicated effort. The program focuses on reducing negative beliefs about effort (e.g., having to try hard or ask for help means you lack ability), fixed-trait attributions (e.g., failure stems from low ability), and performance avoidance goals (e.g., never looking stupid). During regular school hours, students complete two self-administered online sessions that last approximately 25 minutes each and occur roughly 20 days apart. The first session starts in weeks 2-5 of the fall or spring semester, and the second session starts in weeks 5-10 of the same semesters. The sessions include scientific information but also ask students to help in communicating these ideas to others and to apply them to their own life.

The first session covers the basic idea of a growth mindset – that an individual’s intellectual abilities can be developed by taking on challenging work, improving one’s learning strategies, and asking for appropriate help. The second session invites students to deepen their understanding of the growth mindset and its application in their lives. Students are not told outright that they should work hard or employ particular study or learning strategies. Rather, effort and strategy revision are described as general behaviors through which students can develop their abilities and thereby achieve their goals.

Since the intervention is computerized, materials can be delivered as designed without extensive researcher involvement or facilitator training and geographic constraints and logistical burdens are reduced, thereby providing scalable techniques to improve students’ approach to learning and achievement in high school.

Blueprints has certified two studies evaluating Growth Mindset for 9th Graders.

Yeager et al. (2016) conducted a randomized controlled trial with 3,676 ninth-grade students in 10 high schools in 4 states. Participants were randomly assigned to the growth mindset intervention (n=1,646) or to a control group (n=1,630) which completed online sessions providing basic information about the brain. Compared to the control group, intervention participants demonstrated significantly greater improvement on self-reported measures of growth mindset by the end of the second online session. At the end of the semester, GPA was better for intervention students but only for those with low prior achievement. On a related measure of poor grades, the intervention group did significantly better overall than the control group.

Yeager et al. (2019) and Zhu et al. (2019) examined a nationally representative sample of ninth-grade students who were randomly assigned to an intervention group (n=6,700) or a control group (n=6,720), with both groups completing online sessions of differing content. Yeager et al. (2019) focused on 6,320 low-achieving students, while Zhu et al. (2019) focused on the full sample. For both the low-achieving subsample and the full sample, relative to the control group, intervention students showed significantly fewer fixed mindset beliefs at posttest and higher GPAs in core subjects at the end of the school year.

To date, the Washington State Institute for Public Policy has not conducted a cost-benefit analysis of implementing Growth Mindset for 9th Graders.

References:

Yeager, D. S., Hanselman, P., Walton, G. M., Murray, J. S., Crosnoe, R., Muller, C., . . . Dweck, C. S. (2019). A national experiment reveals where a growth mindset improves achievement. Nature573, 364-369.

Yeager, D. S., Romero, C., Paunesku, D., Hulleman, C., Schneider, B., Hinojosa, C., . . . Dweck, C. S. (2016). Using design thinking to improve psychological interventions: The case of the growth mindset during the transition to high school. Journal of Educational Psychology108(3), 374-391.

Zhu, P., Garcia, I., Boxer, K., Wadhera, S., & Alonzo, E. (2019).  Using a growth mindset intervention to help ninth-graders: An independent evaluation of the National Study of Learning Mindsets. MDRC.

Read the Program Fact Sheet

ParentCorps

 

ParentCorps enhances pre-K programs in schools and early education centers serving primarily children of color from low-income communities. The program takes a two-generation approach by supporting both parents and children. It helps the important adults in children’s lives – parents and teachers – create safe, nurturing and predictable environments at home and in the classroom and improves relationships and communication between parents and teachers. These changes scaffold children’s acquisition of self-regulation skills, and together, sustained changes in the environment and self-regulatory capacity contribute to improved mental health and achievement in childhood and adolescence. The program consists of 14 weekly sessions, which are held in the school during the evening and co-facilitated by mental health professionals and pre-K teachers or other school staff. Parent and child groups meet separately first but are brought together so that parents can practice new skills.

ParentCorps includes three components:

1. Professional Learning for leaders, teachers, mental health professionals and parent support staff on evidence-based strategies to promote social, emotional and behavioral development and family engagement practices; training and coaching for teachers and mental health professionals to support high-quality program implementation.

2. Parenting Program for families of pre-K students (14 2-hour sessions) to provide opportunities for parents to come together, share ideas, learn about evidence-based practices, and support each other in parenting effectively.

3. Social-Emotional Learning Classroom Curriculum for pre-K students (14 2-hour sessions).

Blueprints has certified two studies evaluating ParentCorps.

In the first study, Brotman et al. (2011) tested the program’s impacts in a cluster randomized controlled trial of eight public schools within in one school district in New York City. Equal numbers of schools were randomized to either receive the intervention (n=4; 118 children) or services as usual (n=4; 53 children). Data were collected at baseline and posttest from parents, children, teachers, and in-home observations of parent-child interactions. At posttest, compared to the control group, children who received the intervention had significantly fewer teacher-reported behavioral problems (composite of externalizing, internalizing, oppositional defiant and conduct disorders) and their parents displayed more effective parenting practices.

In the second study, Brotman et al. (2013, 2016) and Dawson-McClure et al. (2015) conducted another cluster randomized controlled trial in two highly disadvantaged school districts in New York City. Five schools (n=561 children) were randomized to the intervention group and five schools (n=489 children) were randomized to an education-as-usual control group. In this study, professional development included pre-K and kindergarten teachers and paraprofessionals; thus, the posttest assessment occurred at the end of kindergarten. Additional measures were collected at the end of the first- and second-grade years. Compared to the control schools, participants in the intervention schools scored significantly higher on a kindergarten achievement test (posttest), teacher-rated academic performance (posttest and two-year follow-up), and behavioral problems as measured by a composite of externalizing and internalizing behaviors (two-year follow-up). Additionally, at posttest, intervention parents had higher self- and teacher-rated effective parenting.

To date, the Washington State Institute for Public Policy has not conducted a cost-benefit analysis of implementing ParentCorps.

References:

Brotman, L. M., Calzada, E., Huang, K., Kingston, S., Dawson-McClure, S., Kamboukos, D., . . . Petkova, E. (2011). Promoting effective parenting practices and preventing child behavior problems in school among ethnically diverse families from underserved, urban communities. Child Development, 82(1), 258-276

Brotman, L. M., Dawson-McClure, S., Calzada, E. J., Huang, K., Kamboukos, D., Palamar, J. J., & Petkova, E. (2013). Cluster (school) RCT of ParentCorps: Impact on kindergarten academic achievement. Pediatrics, 131(5), 1521-1529.

Brotman, L. M., Dawson-McClure, S., Kamboukos, D., Huang, K., Calzada, E., Goldfeld, K., & Petkova, E. (2016). Effects of ParentCorps in prekindergarten on child mental health and academic performance: Follow-up of a randomized clinical trial through 8 years of age. Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics, 170(12), 1149-1155.

Dawson-McClure, S., Calzada, E., Huang, K., Kamboukos, D., Rhule, D., Kolawole, B., . . . Brotman, L. M. (2015). A population-level approach to promoting healthy child development and school success in low-income, urban neighborhoods: Impact on parenting and child conduct problems. Prevention Science, 16(2), 279-290.

Read the Program Fact Sheet

Dr. Pamela Buckley (Blueprints PI) and Dr. Velma McBride Murry (Blueprints Advisory Board member) gave a talk at the Prevention Science Methodology Group Virtual Grand Rounds as part of a series titled “Systemic Racism and Prevention Science: Enhancing Social Justice to Achieve Health Equity”.

The presentation was called Examining the Representation of Racial and Ethnic Minority Groups in Preventive Intervention Research, and it provided information on a study in which the Blueprints team reviewed and evaluated the nature, size, and scope of extant research across an 11-year period involving representation of racial and ethnic minority groups in preventive intervention research, thus serving as a vehicle for decision-making regarding the generalizability of evidence-based interventions. The presentation provided an overview of preliminary findings, presented recommendations for reporting race and ethnicity in prevention interventions studies, and concluded with a discussion aimed at identifying specific areas where additional research would be beneficial and gaps in services where new intervention development is needed.  Download the slides and view the webinar here.

Professor and Blueprints Advisory Board member Frances Gardner gave a talk at the University of Colorado Boulder titled “Parenting Interventions Globally: Are There Differential Effects Across Countries, Cultures and Social Groups?”

In this talk, Dr. Gardner spoke about her work analyzing intervention moderator effects using both individual participant data and aggregate level meta-analysis, including some large systematic reviews she is conducting for the World Health Organization (WHO) Guideline on parenting interventions to reduce maltreatment of children. These studies have implications for understanding the effects of interventions on health and social inequities, and for adaptation strategies. She also spoke about her WHO and UNICEF collaboration, “Parenting for Lifelong Health”, which involves developing, adapting, and testing parenting programs in sustainable systems in low-and middle-income countries, with recent randomized trials in the public health system in Thailand, the conditional cash transfer system in the Philippines, and in three middle-income countries in southeastern Europe. Frances Gardner, DPhil, is a Professor of Child and Family Science in the Department of Social Policy and Intervention, and Director of the Evidence-Based Social Intervention and Policy Evaluation, at Oxford University. View the presentation here.

Dr. Pamela Buckley (Blueprints Principal Investigator) gave a talk to the Prevention Technology Transfer Center (PTTC) Network, which serves to improve implementation and delivery of effective substance abuse prevention interventions.

Prevention registries such as Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development play an important role in informing practitioners, funders and policymakers about interventions that are likely to improve the lives of youths and their families. This webinar first presents an overview of Blueprints, followed by a demonstration on navigating the registry’s website and tailoring searches to locate effective interventions that fit local communities’ unique needs and circumstances. It concludes with a discussion on what the field considers best practices in making adaptations to effective interventions to increase cultural appropriateness without modifying core components, or the essential intervention activities deemed necessary to produce desired outcomes. Watch the presentation here.

Contact

Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development
University of Colorado Boulder
Institute of Behavioral Science
UCB 483, Boulder, CO 80309

Email: blueprints@colorado.edu

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Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development is
currently funded by Arnold Ventures (formerly the Laura and John Arnold Foundation) and historically has received funding from the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.