LifeSkills Training (LST)
Blueprints Program Rating: Model Plus
A classroom-based, 3-year, middle school substance abuse prevention program to prevent teenage drug and alcohol abuse, adolescent tobacco use, violence and other risk behaviors. The life skills curriculum teaches students self-management skills, social skills, and drug awareness and resistance skills.
LifeSkills Training is a relatively inexpensive program to implement, with trained teachers able to replicate the program year after year. Start-up costs have most typically been supported with federal or private grant funds. The federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) supported fifty sites across the country in implementing LifeSkills Training through three-year competitive grants in the late 90’s and early 00’s. In addition to the dedicated OJJDP funding, many communities have utilized Safe and Drug Free Schools formula funds that historically flowed by formula to school districts, however the state and local formula portion of this funding program was eliminated in the 2010 federal budget. With health care reform creating more emphasis on primary prevention, public health and substance abuse block grant dollars may increasingly become viable means of support for the program.
Improving the Use of Existing Public Funds
Sustaining this program requires the ongoing allocation of existing classroom teaching time for the intervention to be delivered by trained teachers or counselors. Sustaining the program also requires ongoing allocation of resources for teacher training for new teachers and curriculum materials.
Allocating State or Local General Funds
State and local funds, most typically from school budgets, can be allocated to purchase the initial training and curriculum. State departments of education or health may also allocate state funds toward prevention programs, and administer them to school districts competitively or through formula. Some states have put in place changes to budget structures, such as legislative set-asides requiring a certain portion of state agency budgets be dedicated to evidence-based programs and/or prevention programs. In addition, many states have invested some portion of their tobacco settlement funds in substance abuse prevention programs.
Maximizing Federal Funds
- Title I can potentially support curricula purchase, training, and teacher salaries in schools that are operating schoolwide Title I programs (at least 40% of the student population is eligible for free and reduced lunch). In order for Title I to be allocated, LifeSkills Training would have to be integrated into the general curriculum and viewed as contributing to overall academic achievement.
- OJJDP Formula Funds support a variety of improvements to delinquency prevention programs and juvenile justice programs in states. Evidence-based programs are an explicit priority for these funds, which are typically administered on a competitive basis from the state administering agency to community-based programs.
- The Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant (SAPTBG) can fund a variety of substance abuse prevention and intervention activities and is a potential source of support for school-based substance abuse prevention programs, depending on the priorities of the state administering agency.
Discretionary Grants: There are relevant federal discretionary grants administered by SAMHSA, OJJDP, and U.S. Department of Education that could support the LifeSkills Training program.
Foundation Grants and Public-Private Partnerships
Foundation grants can be solicited to pay for initial training. Foundations interested in education and substance abuse prevention programs should be identified.
Generating New Revenue
New revenue streams are not typically created for this program, though the program is so low cost that interested schools could potentially consider community fundraising through Parent Teacher Associations, student civic societies, or partnerships with local businesses and civic organizations as a means of raising dollars to support the initial training and curriculum purchases.
All information comes from the responses to a questionnaire submitted by the purveyor of the program, The National Health Promotion Associates, Inc., to the Annie E. Casey Foundation.