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Raising Healthy Children

Blueprints Program Rating: Promising

A preventive intervention with teacher, parent, and child components, designed to promote positive youth development by enhancing protective factors, reducing identified risk factors, and preventing problem behaviors and academic failure.

Program Outcomes

  • Academic Performance
  • Alcohol
  • Antisocial-aggressive Behavior
  • Illicit Drug Use
  • Prosocial with Peers

Program Type

  • Alcohol Prevention and Treatment
  • Drug Prevention/Treatment
  • Parent Training
  • School - Environmental Strategies
  • School - Individual Strategies
  • Social Emotional Learning

Program Setting

  • School

Continuum of Intervention

  • Universal Prevention (Entire Population)


  • Late Childhood (5-11) - K/Elementary
  • Early Adolescence (12-14) - Middle School
  • Late Adolescence (15-18) - High School


  • Male and Female


  • All Race/Ethnicity


  • Blueprints: Promising

Program Information Contact

Richard F. Catalano
Social Development Research Group
University of Washington School of Social Work
9725 3rd Ave. Northeast, Suite 401
Seattle, WA 98115-2024

Program Developer/Owner

  • Richard F. Catalano, Ph.D.
  • University of Washington School of Social Work

Brief Description of the Program

Raising Healthy Children (RHC) is a multifaceted program with separate components targeting classroom teachers, parents, and students to promote opportunities, skills and recognition in developmentally appropriate ways from grades 1-12. The goal is to decrease the negative impact of the student in the classroom by providing services to the family. The teacher program includes a series of workshops for instructional improvement in classroom management. Workshop topics include proactive classroom management, cooperative learning methods, strategies to enhance student motivation, student involvement and participation, reading strategies, and interpersonal problem-solving skills. In addition, after each workshop, RHC project staff provide classroom coaching for teachers. After the first year of the project, teachers participate in monthly booster sessions to further reinforce RHC teaching strategies. The RHC program for parents is conducted by school-home coordinators who are classroom teachers or specialists with experience in providing services to parents and families. Parent training and involvement include five-session parenting group workshops, selected topic workshops, and in-home problem-solving sessions. Topics for parent training include family management skills and "How to Help Your Child Succeed in School." The student intervention consists of summer camps targeting students with academic or behavioral problems who are recommended by teachers or parents. In addition, in-home services are provided for students referred for behavior or academic problems.

See: Full Description


At 18 months post-test, first- and second-grade students who started the program, relative to controls, showed significantly:

  • Greater increases in teacher- and parent-reported academic performance and commitment to school.
  • Greater increases in teacher-reported social competency and smaller increases in teacher-rated antisocial behaviors, but no significant difference by parent and self-report.

During the middle to high school periods (with exposure to intervention materials/boosters through grade 10), intervention students, relative to controls, showed:

  • Decline in the frequency of alcohol use, but no significant differences in alcohol use versus nonuse.
  • Greater linear decline in the frequency of marijuana use, but no differences in marijuana use growth rates.
  • No change in cigarette use-versus-nonuse or frequency of cigarette use.

In 11th or 12th grade, intervention students in the Safe Drivers Wanted program, relative to controls, showed:

  • Lower likelihood to drive under the influence of alcohol.
  • Lower likelihood to ride in a car with someone under the age of 21 who had been drinking.
  • No significant differences with respect to receiving traffic tickets or getting into accidents.

Long-term results from the Seattle Social Development Project (elementary version of Raising Healthy Children), showed:

  • Positive program effects on school bonding and achievement and reductions in grade repetition, lifetime violence, and heavy alcohol use at age 18.
  • Improved positive functioning in school and/or work, more high school graduates, better emotional and mental health, fewer with criminal records, fewer involved in selling drugs, and fewer females who had been pregnant or had given birth by age 21, relative to controls.
  • Improved educational and economic attainment, improved mental health, and reduced lifetime sexually transmitted infections, but no significant effects on crime or drug use at ages 24 and 27.

Race/Ethnicity/Gender Details

Raising Healthy Children was implemented with a predominantly Caucasian (82%) sample of elementary school children enrolled in public schools in suburban Seattle. No analysis of effects by race was performed. Antisocial behavior was reduced in both males and females. Females had significantly higher increases in prosocial skills as compared to males.

Risk and Protective Factors

Risk Factors
  • Individual: Early initiation of antisocial behavior, Favorable attitudes towards antisocial behavior, Favorable attitudes towards drug use, Substance use
  • Peer: Interaction with antisocial peers
  • Family: Family conflict/violence, Parental attitudes favorable to antisocial behavior, Parental attitudes favorable to drug use, Poor family management
  • School: Low school commitment and attachment*, Poor academic performance
  • Neighborhood/Community: Laws and norms favorable to drug use/crime
Protective Factors
  • Individual: Problem solving skills, Refusal skills, Skills for social interaction
  • Peer: Interaction with prosocial peers
  • Family: Attachment to parents, Opportunities for prosocial involvement with parents, Parent social support, Parental involvement in education, Rewards for prosocial involvement with parents
  • School: Opportunities for prosocial involvement in education, Rewards for prosocial involvement in school
  • Neighborhood/Community: Opportunities for prosocial involvement, Rewards for prosocial involvement

*Risk/Protective Factor was significantly impacted by the program.

See also: Raising Healthy Children Logic Model (PDF)

Training and Technical Assistance

The Social Development Research Group (SDRG) at the University of Washington provides training and implementation support to the Raising Healthy Children (RHC) program (previously known as the Seattle Social Development Project and Project SOAR). Installation combines strategic consultation, technical assistance, training and capacity building through a train the trainers approach. The RHC training system is tailored to meet specific community or district needs (e.g., number of schools, student population, and staff size). The RHC process builds local capacity through certifying local trainers to lead the teacher workshops and the parenting workshops and to conduct monitoring and coaching of teachers.

Training and Technical Assistance for School Staff: School staff development is implemented over three years. RHC staff development trainers conduct periodic classroom visits to look for evidence of RHC teaching practices. In order to build sustainability and local capacity to conduct staff development sessions, RHC offers a four-day training of trainers to local coaches during the first year. Local coaches are mentored and co-train the staff development sessions with a certified RHC trainer until they meet the standards of certification at which time they conduct the trainings independently.

School staff development schedule over three years

Year 1

  • Implementation Team Training
  • Proactive Management 3 days
  • Social and Emotional Skills Training 1 day
  • Cooperative Learning 1 day

Year 2

  • Instructional Strategies
  • Motivation 1 day

Year 3

  • Capacity Building 1 day

The cost of the staff development training varies depending on the number of teachers, the number of schools, etc. On average, the cost per teacher for the first and second year of training and coaching is about $950 and $500 for the third year. This includes training and materials.

Training Certification Process

Certified Parenting Workshop Trainers

In the first year, training for local parenting workshop leaders is conducted. In subsequent years, a Training of Trainers is provided to build local capacity to continue the training of new parent workshop leaders. Participants in the Training of Trainers are drawn from parenting workshop leaders with good training skills. New trainers are observed conducting workshop leader trainings to ensure they meet certification standards.

Parenting workshop leader trainings are conducted in three-day training sessions. Cost for the trainings is $4,500 not including travel and materials. Materials for the Guiding Good Choices and Supporting School Success (programs used in the implementation of Raising Healthy Children) are available from the Channing Bete Company and pricing can be found at The Raising Healthy Children parenting workshop leaders' guide is $450 and the program materials are $15-25 per participant depending on the size of the order.

Brief Evaluation Methodology

Raising Healthy Children (RHC) is a longitudinal study utilizing school-level random assignment to either a treatment or a control group. The program was initially implemented among students enrolled in the first or second grade in public schools in the suburbs of Seattle, with data collection time points and exposure to additional intervention material/booster sessions extending to grade ten for substance use outcomes. Although the initial evaluation focused on success in school and reducing antisocial behavior, the long term evaluation through grade ten examined the impact of the program on substance use outcomes.

Peer Implementation Sites

Dawn Marie Baletka
WR Services
for Navasota Independent School District
3501 Kanati Cove
College Station, TX 77845
(979) 777-9940


Brown, E. C., Catalano, R. F., Fleming, C. B., Haggerty, K. P., & Abbott, R. D. (2005). Adolescent substance use outcomes in the Raising Healthy Children project: A two-part latent growth curve analysis. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 73, 699-710.

Catalano, R. F., Mazza, J. J., Harachi, T. W., Abbott, R. D., Haggerty, K. P., & Fleming, C. B. (2003). Raising healthy children through enhancing social development in elementary school: Results after 1.5 years. Journal of School Psychology, 41, 143-164.

Haggerty, K. P., Fleming, C. B., Catalano, R. F., Harachi, T. W., & Abbot, R. D. (2006). Raising Healthy Children: Examining the impact of promoting healthy driving behavior within a social development intervention. Prevention Science, 7, 257-267.