Sign Up For Newsletter

Blueprints For Healthy Youth Development logo

Issue No. 28


Welcome to the Blueprints Bulletin



March 2024

Announcement

Since 1996, Blueprints has carefully reviewed the evidence for over 3,000 studies evaluating 1,600 interventions and thus serves as an excellent, internationally recognized resource on the youth programs that have been shown to work in rigorous evaluations across a wide range of policy areas, including criminal justice, child welfare, public health, mental health, education, labor/employment and others.

Over the past two years, Blueprints has conducted extensive outreach to engage community leaders and funders in a thought partnership around how to sustain the registry. Despite these efforts, we were unable to obtain matching funds to support our operations, which was a requirement of our current grant.

As of July 1, 2024, Blueprints will no longer be updating its website. The registry, however, will remain available with robust resources in support of youth.

Blueprints is grateful for the funding received throughout our 28 years, although finding sustainable resources has been a challenge throughout Blueprints’ tenure. We are a nonprofit organization that is housed in the Institute of Behavioral Science at the University of Colorado Boulder and have relied mostly on foundation grants (apart from early funding from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, which is an office of the United States Department of Justice). More information about Blueprints history can be found on our website.

We continue to explore additional funding sources and are hopeful that the important evidence curation and dissemination work done by Blueprints will continue.

Below are some examples of our legacy.

Engagement in Evidence-Based Decision-Making

Evidence-based decision making (EBDM) emphasizes the use of empirical evidence and rigorous research findings to inform policies and involves synthesizing relevant evidence from various sources, such as scientific studies, experimental data, expert opinions, and community feedback.

In the past two years, Blueprints has substantially expanded its engagement in EBDM to help sustain evidence-based preventive interventions via nonpartisan educational efforts that build partnerships among communities, practitioners, researchers, philanthropists and policymakers to promote the use of evidence generated through the Blueprints registry.

The following are just a few illustrative examples of these efforts.

National level:

State level:

  • Colorado Senate Bill 21-284 (Evidence-based Evaluations For Budget) was enacted to (1) create statutory evidence definitions designed to clarify which studies provide more or less rigorous evidence and (2) require Joint Budget Committee (JBC) staff to review any evidence submitted by the Governor’s Office of State Planning and Budgeting in support of a budget request, and factor their own review into their recommendations to the JBC members on what funds to approve as part of the state’s Long Appropriations Bill. Under our current grant from Arnold Ventures, we have worked with JBC staff to co-develop a process through which Blueprints serves as a quick turnaround resource for budget requests related to interventions for youth since Blueprints likely has already reviewed many of the studies that various state policymakers are being asked to consider under the new processes required by SB 21-284.
  • CO House Bill 22-1295 (Department of Early Childhood and Universal Preschool Program) requires funding be allocated to programs meeting Blueprints’ evidence standards (see p. 101 – “Be identified by the University of Colorado as a proven, evidence-based intervention to support healthy youth development”). State funds are matched with private donations to scale Nurse-Family Partnership, Child First, and Incredible Years Parent, Teacher Classroom Management, and Child Treatment (all on the Blueprints registry) across communities throughout Colorado.
  • The Colorado Department of Education’s Mental Health Resource Bank is a product of the Colorado’s Youth Mental Health Education and Suicide Prevention Act (HB 19-1120). The searchable bank includes programs that are evidence-based, research-based, or promising as determined by various third-party registries, including Blueprints.

Frameworks for Scaling Evidence-Based Programs

Blueprints complements or builds upon the following initiatives:

  • Evidence2Success®, which is an initiative of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, 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, Rhode Island in 2012 and has since expanded to Mobile, Alabama; Selma, Alabama; Kearns Township, Salt Lake County, Utah; Memphis, Tennessee; and Miami, Florida. 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.
  • Recently released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Evidence2Success® Tool Kit utilizes community-tested tools, strategies, and technical assistance to help educators, policymakers, and organizations better understand and address social and emotional issues that impact children and their families. Blueprints is listed as a resource available via the tool kit.
  • Assets Coming Together (ACT) for Youth – which is a partnership among the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research, Cornell University Cooperative Extension of New York City, and the Adolescent Medicine Division at the University of Rochester Medical Center – just released a Youth Development Program Toolkit containing a variety of resources to help youth development professionals and organizations think through and plan for effective programming. The Toolkit lists Blueprints as a resource for identifying evidence-based programs.

Opioid Settlement Funds

Several opioid settlements with pharmaceutical companies in the U.S. have been determined with more to come. Many of these resources are being distributed by states with the aim of addressing education, economic, social, and health hardships and creating sustainable innovations to address the opioid epidemic. Investments in early intervention preventive approaches among youth and families will result in significantly lower long-term rates of substance use disorders. Several organizations have published guidance on how to spend newly allocated opioid settlement funds on substance use prevention and mental health promotion that specifically reference the Blueprints registry. For example:

  • This opioid policy briefing from the National Prevention Science Coalition recommends the Blueprints registry as part of a Strategy for Preventing Opioid Use Disorders in Communities. The brief reviews current challenges regarding opioid use disorder and provides recommendations and strategies for prevention.
  • Blueprints was referenced in a news piece titled: How To Invest Opioid Settlement And Federal Funding To Prevent Substance Use And Promote Youth Mental Health. Specifically, the news article said: “Too often, programs and interventions are not sustained on a long-term basis because of resource limitations and a lack of infrastructure. To ensure sustainability, recipients of funds should use established evidence-informed programs whenever possible and appropriate, as designated by reputable lists such as Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development.”
  • Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health released several “Principles for the Use of Funds from the Opioid Litigation,” including to Invest in Youth Prevention using compilations of effective youth primary prevention interventions, such as those listed on the Blueprints registry.

International Impact

On average, Blueprints receives around 17,500 unique pageviews from around the world and 9,000 sessions a month, which translates to nearly 600 unique pageviews and 300 sessions per day. We also have been active on social media, including LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and X (formerly Twitter).

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and World Health Organization recently suggested that national standards globally enforce a requirement of implementing evidence-based strategies only by utilizing registries such as Blueprints, citing the registry by name (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime & World Health Organization, 2018, p. 42).

In 2022, the Paul Ramsay Foundation commissioned a report to review the landscape of evidence institutes in the United States, Canada and United Kingdom, and to explore if a new evidence institute in Australia focused specifically on disadvantage would help break cycles of disadvantage. Blueprints was interviewed for this report to provide insight on how to improve the evidence landscape in Australia.

Conclusion

We welcome thoughts on possible future funding opportunities. On behalf of the Blueprints staff and board, thank you for your support of Blueprints over the years.

Sincerely,


Pamela Buckley, PhD
PI, Blueprints Initiative
Pamela.Buckley@Colorado.edu


Karl G. Hill, PhD
Board Chair and Co-PI
Karl.Hill@Colorado.edu

Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development is housed at 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 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.

Featured Model Program
Nurse-Family Partnership

Blueprints Certified: 1997

Ages Served: Infant (0-2)

Program Outcomes: Child Maltreatment, Cognitive Development, Delinquency and Criminal Behavior, Internalizing, Mental Health – Other, Physical Health and Well-Being, Preschool Communication/Language, Reciprocal Parent-Child Warmth

Goal and Target Population: A nurse home visiting program for first-time pregnant mothers designed to improve prenatal and child rearing practices through the child’s second birthday.

Learn more about Nurse-Family Partnership

Featured Promising Program
Cooperative Learning

Blueprints Certified: 2023

Ages Served: Early Adolescence (12-14) – Middle School

Program Outcomes: Alcohol, Bullying, Close Relationship with Peers, Mental Health – Other, Positive Social/Prosocial Behavior

Goal and Target Population: A school-based intervention designed to provide youth with positive peer relationships that can promote positive behaviors, prevent bullying and victimization, and reduce emotional (mental health) problems and risky behaviors such as alcohol use.

Learn more about Cooperative Learning

Blueprints Interventions in the News
Relevant articles and helpful resources

In case you have missed them, here are a few announcements, articles, and web postings that discuss Blueprints.

  • Please join us on March 27, 2024 from 2-3:30 EDT for a free virtual briefing, titled “Building Infrastructure to Implement Programs that Promote Healthy Development and Prevent Behavioral and Mental Health Problems in Our Youth.” This briefing will present a blueprint to guide decision-makers at all levels with specific actionable steps for building and sustaining an infrastructure that supports the delivery of effective preventive strategies to promote healthy outcomes in our youth. Included is a session on how Blueprints fits into the delivery of evidence-based preventive interventions (EBPIs) and provide examples of partnerships formed to increase scale-up of EBPIs listed on the Blueprints website (such as the Nurse-Family Partnership, which is highlighted in this newsletter). This panel will culminate in hearing the voices of those who operate and participate in EBPIs. To attend this briefing, please register here.
  • Blueprints was cited in a Lund Report article as one of the top clearinghouses in prevention research. The article features Principal Investigator of Blueprints, Dr. Pamela Buckley. Dr. Buckley shares how complicated it can be in determining which prevention programs work, but that clearinghouses like Blueprints help translate the evidence to support users in making decisions when investing in social programs.
  • Check out this article recently published by Aspen Public Radio that discusses new drug prevention strategies being considered by the Roaring Fork School District in Colorado. Dr. Karl Hill of the Blueprints Advisory Board was interviewed, and Blueprints was mentioned as a resource for identifying scientifically-backed interventions that promote healthy habits.
  • Here is another article published earlier this year by the Lund Report that explains how states like Washington and Pennsylvania are working with scientists to help schools implement science-backed prevention programs. The article mentions Cooperative Learning, a Blueprints Promising school-based intervention (highlighted in this newsletter) designed to provide youth with positive peer relationships that can promote positive behaviors, prevent bullying and victimization, and reduce emotional problems and risky behaviors such as alcohol use.
  • On Episode 8 of the Prevention Matters podcast (the official podcast of the National Prevention Science Coalition to Improve Lives), host Dr. Robert LaChausse talks with Anthony Petrosino from the Justice & Prevention Research Center at WestEd. In his role, he focuses on high-quality research to identify solutions that promote positive community and school environments. Anthony talks about his career studying violence prevention, the effectiveness of Scared Straight programs, and how to best prevent youth violence. He also mentions the Blueprints registry as an important source for finding evidence-based violence prevention programs. Listen to the 30-minute podcast by clicking here.

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

LinkedIn

© 2023 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


Contact

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

Email: blueprints@colorado.edu

Sign up for Newsletter

If you are interested in staying connected with the work conducted by Blueprints, please share your email to receive quarterly updates.

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.