There is more to the international transfer of prevention programs than just hitting the “copy and paste” buttons. The introduction of the Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring program to Ireland offers insights into how to succeed.
Blueprints for Violence Prevention
Established in 1996 at the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence (CSPV) at the University of Colorado at Boulder, the Blueprints for Violence Prevention program monitors the effectiveness of prevention, early intervention and treatment programs in reducing adolescent violent crime, aggression, delinquency, and substance abuse.
Blueprints have so far reviewed more than 600 programs. Eleven have been designated 'model' programs and another 18 rank as 'promising'. Programs are selected according to three criteria: evaluation by experimental design or randomised controlled trial; proven sustained impact on child development well beyond the intervention, and evidence of replication across several sites. Additional criteria include analysis of mediating factors and costs versus benefits.
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Few people working with children will have heard the term “prevention scientist,” let alone know what one is or does. Yet this relatively new breed of researcher is behind the growing list of evidence-based programs being promoted in western developed countries. A new publication puts them under the microscope.
Crime and antisocial behavior prevention efforts have flourished over the last 10 years in the US. This progress can and should be used to help communities improve the life chances of their young people, a recent update urges.
Given the well-known barriers to implementing evidence-based programs, is it better to identify their discrete elements and trust practitioners to combine them in tailored packages depending on the needs of the child and family in question?