Issue No. 19


Welcome to the Blueprints Bulletin



Leadership Letter: 

In our last newsletter, we explained how we apply our standards of evidence (Steeger et al., 2021) in rating interventions with an evidence base that is strong enough to be recommended by Blueprints for large-scale adoption (please click here for a summary of our review process).
 
Obtaining desired outcomes from scaling up Blueprints-certified interventions, however, requires multiple layers of support, including (for example): (1) adequate and appropriately structured funding; (2) partnerships with stakeholders at every level to ensure necessary support for program implementation and continuing service provision; and (3) community engagement to support local service delivery.
 
Several effective frameworks for broad dissemination have been established to ensure the impact of Blueprints-certified programs on a large scale.
 
The focus of this newsletter is highlighting examples of these efforts, with the goal of providing a “blueprint” for national, state, and/or local initiatives that might want to adopt a similar approach.
 
Statewide Public/Private Initiatives to Implement a Portfolio of Blueprints-Certified Interventions
 
In Colorado (home to the Prevention Science Program at the Institute of Behavioral Science at CU Boulder, which houses Blueprints), examples include:

  1. Invest in Kids (IIK), a nonprofit organization that for over two decades has worked alongside Colorado communities to adopt, implement, and successfully scale proven programs that have the greatest long-term impact on young children and families experiencing poverty. These Blueprints programs, which IIK sustains via federal, state, and local grants and investments from private foundations and individual donors, include: 1) Nurse-Family Partnership® (Model), a relationship-based program, delivered in the home, that partners highly-trained registered nurses with first-time mothers and their babies and is designed to improve prenatal and child rearing practices and parent self-sufficiency through the child’s second birthday; 2) The Incredible Years® (Promising), a prevention program designed to increase a child’s success at school and at home by promoting positive parent, teacher, and child relationships; and most recently, 3) Child First® (Promising), a home-based two-generation mental health-focused program which works to heal and protect young children and their families from the devastating effects of chronic stress and trauma.
  2. Colorado Equitable Economic Mobility Initiative (CEEMI), a newly formed independent nonprofit  collaborating with public and private partners to create a more equitable economic ecosystem by blending public, private, and philanthropic funds to enroll Coloradans facing poverty in effective employment programs. CEEMI is working to scale up two Blueprints-certified programs: 1) Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (Model Plus), a post-secondary program addressing potential barriers to academic success and promoting credit accumulation and associate degree completion through comprehensive advisement and career and tutoring services provided by dedicated advisers; and 2) Year Up (Promising), a training and internship program that helps young people with limited post-secondary education get high-quality jobs by learning to work with technology, developing employment skills, and obtaining internships. Year Up is also one of the workforce programs backed by strong evidence of effectiveness identified by the National Conference of State Legislatures, and their new Center for Results-Driven Governing, for policymakers to consider as states leverage the American Rescue Plan (ARP) in seeking ways to re-employ workers and build a workforce that will help lead their economic recovery in this post-coronavirus economy.  
  3. Safe Communities Safe Schools (SCSS), an initiative within the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence at the University of Colorado Boulder that follows a research-based model to build a school’s unique capacity to reduce violence by promoting social, emotional, and physical safety. Included in the SCSS Model is support that allows schools to (1) measure and strengthen their readiness to adopt evidence-based interventions, including those listed on the Blueprints registry, (2) build high-functioning multi-disciplinary teams to champion the work, and (3) receive tailored tools, processes, and technical assistance to support high-quality implementation.
  4. Communities That Care (CTC), a framework which aims to reduce adolescent substance misuse, violence, and depression by implementing from a menu of strategies particular programs, practices and/or policies—including Blueprints-certified interventions—that have demonstrated effectiveness in reducing risk factors and enhancing protective factors. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) adopted CTC in 2016 as a statewide prevention model. CDPHE currently funds 30 CTC communities across the state.

National Philanthropic Foundation/Community Partnerships Helping Scale Blueprints-Certified Interventions
 
Two examples of efforts to scale evidence-based interventions, including many on the Blueprints registry, funded by national philanthropic organizations include:

  1. Evidence2Success®, which  is an initiative of the Annie E. Casey Foundation that brings together public-system leaders and community members to understand how children are doing with the help of data; select evidence-based programs, including those from Blueprints to enhance strengths and address needs; and develop financing and action plans to support the ongoing use of those proven programs. The initiative began with a pilot site in Providence, RI in 2012 and has since expanded to Mobile, Alabama; Selma, Alabama; Kearns Township, Salt Lake County, Utah; Memphis, Tennessee; and Miami, Florida. While scale is sometimes more quickly achieved through a focus on system-wide reform and legislative change, Evidence2Success is built at the intersection of place-based change and system change – with a strong value on system change informed by community input and leadership. As part of the Evidence2Success framework, public systems and schools commit up front to redirecting a portion of their combined resources for children. These partners work with a team of finance and administration professionals to identify funding sources within their agency budgets and coordinate funding to invest in programs that respond to the outcomes prioritized by the partnership. In recent years, the Foundation has carefully tracked the resources leveraged by sites in support of Blueprints programs and supporting infrastructure. Since 2017, sites have leveraged more than $6 million across child welfare, juvenile justice, school district, public health, social service, city, county, and substance abuse and mental health systems. The addition of related activities, such as clinical services and trauma trainings in Providence, raises the total amount leveraged to $15 million.
  2. Arnold VenturesMoving the Needle initiative, which seeks to spur expanded implementation of programs with credible evidence of meaningful positive effects in order to make significant headway against U.S. social problems. Specifically, the initiative is designed to encourage state or local jurisdictions, or other entities, to: (1) Adopt social programs shown in well-conducted randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to produce large, sustained effects on important life outcomes (see attachment 1 in the RFP for the list of eligible programs; many are listed on the Blueprints registry); (2) Implement these programs on a sizable scale with close adherence to their key features; and (3) Determine, through a replication RCT, whether the large effects found in prior research are successfully reproduced so as to move the needle on important social problems. Arnold Ventures (AV) has provided more than $38 million in funding over the past five years to help scale up and conduct replication trials of these interventions. Click here to listen to a 10-minute interview with David Anderson, VP of AV’s Evidence-Based Policy Initiative, for insights about building credible evidence in social policy.

Reallocation of Criminal Justice Dollars to Prevention
 
The Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice (Virginia DJJ) built a more robust continuum of services, with a focus on implementing evidence-based and evidence-informed programs and services statewide, thereby reducing the overuse of juvenile correctional centers and developing alternatives to incarceration. The Blueprints registry is identified within the Virginia DJJ’s guidance document as a resource in selecting effective prevention programs ready for large-scale adoption. As a result of Virginia DJJ’s commitment to evidence-based programs and high-quality implementation, youth and families who are involved with the juvenile justice system anywhere in the Commonwealth now have access to one or more Model/Model Plus programs. Click here for a summary report on Virginia DJJ’s Transformation over the past five years.
 
Conclusion
 
Attempts to scale inconclusive, ineffective, or harmful programs are a waste of time, money, and opportunity. As such, we advocate for identifying and implementing interventions that are known to work, that can be implemented at scale with fidelity, and that are cost effective. Blueprints provides a trusted source of accessible information on experimentally proven interventions recommended for large-scale implementation that meet a high evidentiary standard based upon a rigorous systematic review of all the research evidence. This newsletter provides just a few models for scaling social programs that produce important improvements in people’s lives.
 
If you are aware of additional models or frameworks for large-scale dissemination of evidence-based interventions, including those on the Blueprints registry, we would be interested in profiling your work. Please contact us at blueprints@colorado.edu.
 
And as always, thank you for your continued interest in and support of Blueprints.
 
Happy Holidays!

Sincerely,


Pamela Buckley, PhD
Principal Investigator
Institute of Behavioral Science
University of Colorado Boulder
Pamela.Buckley@Colorado.edu


Karl G. Hill, PhD
Co-Principal Investigator
Chair of the Blueprints Board
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 support 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.

2021 in Review
By the numbers
 
Below is a summary of our year in review. 
 
Interventions Reviewed & Certified in the Past Year
 
•  Number of Unique Interventions Reviewed = 47
•  Number of Individuals Articles or Reports Reviewed = 191
•  Number of Interventions Certified = 5
 
Coping Power Universal (Promising)
Added: Feb. 18, 2021
Learn more
 
YouthBuild (Promising)
Added: Mar. 24, 2021
Learn more
 
EveryDay Intervention (Promising)
Added: Jun. 4, 2021
Learn more
 
Cannabis eCHECKUP TO GO (Promising)
Added Jul. 7, 2021
Learn more
 
ASSISTments (Promising)
Added Nov. 22, 2021
Learn more

Blueprints Virtual Talks 

  • Our PI Dr. Pamela Buckley gave a talk to the Prevention Technology Transfer Center Network, which serves to improve implementation and delivery of effective substance abuse prevention programs. The webinar first described how an evidence base for an intervention is built. It then presented 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 circumstances. It concluded with a discussion on 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 webinar by clicking here.
  • Drs. Pamela Buckley and Karl Hill gave a talk at the Prevention Science Methodology Group Virtual Grand Rounds on Addressing Health Equity and Social Justice within Prevention Registries. The webinar first presented an overview of the Blueprints registry, and then discussed concerns regarding adaptation/cultural relevance that registry staff and users encounter with increasing frequency. Next, an overview of a recently funded project was presented that begins to address these concerns within Blueprints. While lack of representation of youth of color in health-related research studies has been well documented, a critical evaluation of this omission has not been undertaken to substantiate this claim. This new project involves reviewing the scope of extant research on representation of ethnic minority groups in preventive intervention research, thus serving as a vehicle for decision-making regarding the generalizability of evidence-based interventions listed on clearinghouse websites (such as Blueprints). Go here to download slides and view the webinar.

Blueprints Interventions in the News 
Relevant articles and helpful resources

In case you have missed them, here are a few articles and web postings that discuss Blueprints and/or feature some of our Blueprints’ Model/Model Plus and Promising Programs:

  • MDRC (a nonprofit, nonpartisan education and social policy research organization) has released a report for state agencies and academic institutions on how and why to implement evidence-based programs that support college completion, and the timing couldn’t be better: Such programs could get federal support as part of the $3.5 trillion Build Back Better Act. The report highlights ASAP (a Blueprints Model Plus program) as an example of an evidence-based, multifaceted support program that – while expensive –  can reduce the cost per degree. Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) is a post-secondary college-based prevention program that aims to address potential barriers to academic success and promote credit accumulation and associate degree completion in college students through comprehensive advisement and career and tutoring services provided by dedicated advisers. Click here to read the report.
  • Blueprints was recommended by the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) as they updated international standards for drug and crime prevention. The UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime & World Health Organization, 2018) suggested that national standards globally enforce a requirement of implementing evidence-based strategies only by utilizing registries such as Blueprints, citing us by name. Read more here, including page 42 where Blueprints is cited.  
  • Family Foundations, certified as a Promising program based on an experimental study conducted by Feinberg et al. (2014), is a a universal prevention program to improve mother, child, and birth outcomes through promoting coparenting quality among couples who are expecting their first child. Watch this 3-minute video to learn more.

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© 2021 Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development, Regents of the University of Colorado. All rights reserved. 

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