Issue No. 14

 


Welcome to the Blueprints Bulletin

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Leadership Letter: 

This newsletter features results from an online survey conducted in collaboration with our friends at Evidence-Based Associates on Model/Model Plus and Promising Programs’ COVID-19 response.
 
Results show a wide range of modifications to service delivery and implementation strategies.
 
In May and June 2020, Blueprints self-funded a survey conducted with contacts listed for the 17 Model/Model Plus and 77 Promising Programs on how evidence-based interventions have responded to, and begun to plan for, the aftermath of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The survey contained eight questions and 58 of the 94 programs surveyed responded (for a 62 percent response rate). The full survey and aggregated responses can be downloaded by clicking here. Highlights are shared below.
 
Status of the dissemination/implementation 
 
The data show the majority of programs that completed our survey have received requests for changes to the delivery modality and training/support of their intervention, and just under half have experienced new requests for the adoption of their intervention model. None, however, discontinued implementation in the wake of COVID-19 but some reported they suspended their program.
 
Modifications to service delivery 

 
We conducted our survey as many states were experiencing varying levels of stay-at-home orders, schools had been abruptly closed, and most business and childcare facilities were either shut down or beginning to phase in opening plans. As a result, programs were quickly faced with important decisions to ensure the safe continuity of programming while following public health guidelines. Just under one-quarter had not modified the intervention or its delivery due to COVID at the time of our survey. The majority, however, provided online resources, turned to tele-sessions and/or video conferencing, and/or offered online training or lessons to support service delivery. A small percentage started a blog as a forum for conversation.
 
Communication of modifications 
 
Just over half communicated changes to their delivery or services via e-blasts to subscribers. In addition, roughly one-third posted messages on social media and/or their website. A smaller percentage (less than 20 percent) turned to blogging.
 
Impact of modified service delivery on intervention outcomes 
 
More than one-third of survey respondents are either collecting data or plan to collect data soon on the relationship between modifications made due to COVID and intervention outcomes. However, just over one-quarter report they do not have the resources to collect these data.
 
What do programs want to know?
 
We included an open-ended item asking what questions survey participants have of Blueprints or of other Blueprints-certified interventions. Below are some highlights summarizing responses:

  • Programs want to know what instruments others are using to document changes to their delivery model or implementation due to COVID. 
  • How have others handled shifting or confusing billing issues and agency requirements for telemedicine and/or returning to clinics?  
  • What opportunities exist to better understand and learn from COVID-19 regarding implementation and sustainability?
  • How best can programs engage political and community leaders to understand the importance of implementing evidence-based interventions?
  • Have other programs suspended evaluating their Blueprints program? If so, when are they planning on resuming data collection and how do they plan to continue to collect data?
  • What are some effective strategies programs have figured out in adapting to video meetings for maintaining engagement with children, individuals and/or families (depending on the population targeted for the intervention)?

On March 11, 2020, the coronavirus outbreak was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. COVID-19 has dramatically changed lives everywhere and touched all aspects of life, from health care and mental health services to education, the environment, and the economy. In this environment of rapidly changing information about the virus, Blueprints seeks to assist evidence-based interventions in sharing our survey data so that we can work together in supporting families and communities through the complexities of this crisis. As we figure out next steps regarding this effort, we encourage others to network and swap ideas. We hope the resources provided by survey respondents and shared in the next section of this newsletter offer helpful tips and ideas.
 
Wishing you safety and health.
 
Sincerely,

 


Pamela Buckley, PhD
Director and Co-Principal Investigator
Blueprints Initiative
Institute of Behavioral Science
University of Colorado Boulder
Pamela.Buckley@Colorado.edu


Karl G. Hill, PhD
Principal Investigator
Blueprints Initiative
Institute of Behavioral Science
University of Colorado Boulder
Karl.Hill@Colorado.edu

Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development is hosted by the University of Colorado Boulder, Institute of Behavioral Science, with current funding from Arnold Ventures and former funding from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Each intervention included in the Blueprints database has been reviewed carefully by an independent advisory panel that looked at research on the intervention’s impact, practical focus and potential for implementation in public systems.

Blueprints News & Resources
COVID-19 Response Resources 
In lieu of featuring one Model/Model Plus and one Promising program as we have historically done in each newsletter, below are links to resources provided from survey responses that support evidence-based interventions in offering services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Model/Model Plus Programs
 
Botvin LifeSkills Training (a classroom-based program designed to prevent teenage drug and alcohol abuse, tobacco use, violence and other risk behaviors by teaching students self-management skills, social skills, and drug awareness and resistance skills). For COVID-related resources, go to LST COVID-19 Update
  
Early College High School Model (a high school model designed to increase students’ access to a postsecondary credential, particularly for underrepresented students). The following guidance applies to all dual enrollment opportunities in North Carolina, which includes early colleges: Early College COVID-19 Guidance

Multisystemic Therapy® (a juvenile crime prevention program designed to improve the real-world functioning of youth by changing their natural settings – home, school, and neighborhood – in ways that promote prosocial behavior while decreasing antisocial behavior). For COVID-related resources, go to: MST COVID-19 Statement. 
 
Nurse-Family Partnership (a nurse home visiting program for first-time pregnant mothers designed to improve prenatal and child rearing practices through the child’s second birthday). The links below provide COVID-related resources:

Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (a classroom-based social emotional learning program for elementary school students to reduce aggression and behavior problems).  For COVID-related resources, go to: PATHS Blog COVID-19

Promising Programs 
 

Child First (a two-generation home visitation program that provides psycho-therapeutic services and intensive care coordination, while building adult reflective and executive capacity, to prevent or diminish serious emotional, developmental and learning disabilities, and abuse and neglect among young children). The links below provide COVID-related resources:

Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (a multi-session group intervention that aims to reduce children’s post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, as well as anxiety and depression resulting from exposure to violence, through child, parent, and teacher educational sessions). For COVID-related resources, go to: CBITS COVID-19 Resources

Communities that Care (a prevention system designed to reduce levels of adolescent delinquency and substance use through the selection and use of effective preventative interventions tailored to a community’s specific profile of risk and protection). For COVID-related resources, go to: CTC Disparities and Prevention during Pandemic
 
Incredible Years®

  1. Parent (a group-based program that strengthens parent competencies to promote young children’s social, emotional, and academic competence and prevent the development of conduct problems):
  2. Teacher Classroom Management (a program that provides teachers of children ages 3-8 years with classroom management strategies to manage difficult behavior while promoting social, emotional, and academic competence):
  3. Child Treatment (a child treatment program used by counselors and therapists to treat children ages 3-8 years with conduct problems, ADHD, and internalizing problems).   

 For COVID-related resources, go to: Incredible Years Resources for Group Leaders

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (a program designed for children and their parents that focuses on decreasing child behavior problems, increasing positive parent behaviors, and improving the quality of the parent-child relationship). For COVID-related resources, go to: PCIT COVID-19 Therapist and Trainer Resources
 
Promoting First Relationships (a training program for promoting secure and healthy relationships between caregivers and young children birth to three years of age). The links below provide COVID-related telehealth resources:

SPORT Prevention Plus Wellness (a health promotion program that highlights the positive image benefits of an active lifestyle to reduce the use of alcohol, tobacco and drug use by high school students). For COVID-related resources, go to: Prevention Plus Wellness Remote Implementation
 

Strengthening Families Program: For Parents and Youth 10-14 (a group program that aims to promote good parenting skills and positive family relationships; reduce aggressive, hostile behavior, and substance abuse in adolescence; and improve family relationships). For COVID-related resources, go to: Strengthening Families COVID-19 Resources
 
Tools of the Mind (an early childhood program designed to promote academic learning and prosocial behaviors by supporting the development of executive function and other regulation-related skills). The links below provide COVID-related resources:

Blueprints Interventions in the News
In case you’ve missed them, here are a few newspaper articles and web postings that feature some of our Blueprint’s Model and Promising Programs:
  • The New York Times recently published an article discussing Year Up (a Blueprints Promising Program) and the organization’s transition to virtual training. In addition to providing support, Year Up trains young adults in both technical and soft skills. The article discusses how trying to translate life-changing experiences to computer screens and video classes is the lockdown-induced experiment now being conducted by Year Up and other programs designed for disadvantaged Americans. The future of these programs is in doubt at a time when they would seem to be needed more than ever. The forced march online has triggered a drastic rethinking across the education-to-employment field and will most likely bring lasting change — and perhaps open the door to significant expansion. But Year Up and others say they have found that much more of their training can be done effectively online than they expected. Read more here.  
  • The Salt Lake Tribune ran a series of news stories examining how teens in Kearns, Utah (a suburb of Salt Lake City) are coping with stress. This article mentions Blueprints and highlights The Blues Program (a Blueprints Model program), which has been shown to reduce depression and illicit drug use. One student interviewed shared how the program has specifically helped her manage COVID-19 pandemic-related stress and anxiety. The Kearns Evidence2Success Coalition and Salt Lake County Youth Services made it possible for 16 Granite District social workers and counselors to be trained on ME Time (also known as The Blues Program) to support a growing number of teens who report feeling sad or hopeless. Learn more about these community-wide efforts here
  • The East Central Iowa chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America has joined the call for justice and equity amid national protests following the death of George Floyd. According to Big Brothers Big Sisters, more than 50% of the youth served in Cedar Rapids (city in Iowa) and East Central Iowa are black and brown children. Big Brothers Big Sisters of America is a Blueprints Promising program that matches a volunteer adult mentor to an at-risk child or adolescent to delay or reduce antisocial behaviors, improve academic success, and provide social and cultural enrichment. Linda Henecke, President and CEO of the East Central Iowa chapter, issued a statement in support of Black communities. Read the full statement here.  
  • Two Pennsylvania area chapters of Communities That Care (Cheltenham and Norristown Area) are partnering with the Montgomery County Office of Drug and Alcohol and Family Services of Montgomery County to share the “Talk. They Hear You” campaign with their communities. Communities That Care (a Blueprints Promising program) is a prevention system designed to reduce levels of adolescent delinquency and substance use through the selection and use of effective preventative interventions. “Talk. They Hear You” is a national media campaign and resource toolkit created by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) that emphasizes the importance of parents talking to their kids about alcohol and drug use. The campaign offers advice to parents about preparing their children to deal with peer pressure that may lead to alcohol and drug use. Go here to learn more about the campaign. 
  • The Sentinel Newspaper in Carlisle, Pennsylvania features two Blueprints-certified family programs: Strengthening Families and Family Check-up. Strengthening Families is a Blueprints Promising program that aims to promote good parenting skills and positive family relationships, and reduce aggressive behavior and substance use in adolescence. Family Check-Up is a Blueprints Promising program that aims to prevent conduct problems among at-risk toddlers by improving the quality of parenting and increasing and maintaining parents’ use of positive behavior support. Both programs are being provided free of charge using telehealth and online platforms through a grant to families in Cumberland, Perry, and Upper Adams counties. Go here to learn more. 
  • After studies showed that Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATHS) (a Blueprints Model program) positively impacted behavioral and academic outcomes, educators and school board members in Frederick, Maryland are looking to expand the social-emotional learning program and implement it in all pre-k through second grade classrooms this school year. PATHS is a classroom-based enrichment program designed to reduce aggression and behavior problems. Go here to learn more about PATHS implementation in Frederick, MD.
     

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Our mailing address is:
University of Colorado Boulder | Institute of Behavioral Science
483 UCB, Boulder, CO 80309