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What Works Series

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A series of booklets produced by the Planning Division of the Vermont Agency of Human Services to assist the work of its regional and local partners in achieving positive outcomes for Vermont’s citizens. The State Team for Children, Families, and Individuals has identified 10 outcomes, or conditions of well-being, that form the basis for these efforts.
What Works: Preventing Youth Substance Abuse in Your Community
The reasons for alcohol and other drug abuse are complex and deeply embedded in culture. They include issues of personal and family history, socioeconomic conditions, and media/advertising messages, among many others. This is as true in Vermont as it is anywhere. Until we can address some of these underlying issues, for adults as well as for youth, we will not be likely to achieve lasting progress in prevention efforts. The statistics on youth substance abuse, both nationally and in Vermont, are disturbing.
What Works: Promoting Positive Youth Development in Your Community
In efforts to improve outcomes for youth, our focus is often on the negative choices they make with regard to alcohol, tobacco, violence, sexual activity, and other risk-taking behaviors and their consequences: pregnancy, alcohol-related crashes, tobacco-related disease and death, and state custody. The concept of positive youth development encompasses not only these choices, but all the developmental tasks youth have. In addition to saying “no” to delinquency, to alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs, to violence and other harmful behaviors, youth need to say “yes” to connection, competence, character, and a sure sense of who they are (identity).
What Works: Preventing Youth Disruptive and Violent Behavior in Your Community
One of the tasks of nurturing children is to help them learn to make responsible decisions about their own behavior—for example, by supporting them in school so they can achieve academic success, or helping them find ways to express anger and resolve conflict constructively. To the extent that we provide such guidance, humanely and effectively, children develop self-discipline and the skills to become contributing members of their communities. When we (families and communities) have not provided sufficient support, more-formal interventions may be required. Successful programs that prevent or reduce violent and/or disruptive behavior in children and adolescents are the focus of this booklet
What Works: Promoting Youth Justice Through Restorative Alternatives
In this report, we focus on youth who commit non-violent delinquent acts, and how to hold them accountable using restorative justice court alternatives. We looked to programs that intervene early; support victims, youth, and families; hold youth accountable; give all involved parties a voice; enhance “protective factors” or individual assets; and help victims, youth, and families make links to needed services within their communities. We chose to highlight just a few of the many promising and effective restorative programs in Vermont and throughout the United States.
What Works: Helping Youth Stay in School in Your Community
A solid education is a powerful protective factor that increases one’s chances for success in many areas of life. As families, as communities, as a state and nation, we cannot afford to have any of our young people ill-prepared to join the world of work and economic self-sufficiency. This booklet presents some of the approaches shown to be effective in preventing and intervening with truancy and school dropout.
What Works: Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect in Your Community
Achieving the outcomes we want for our children, families, individuals, and communities depends upon the efforts--public and private--of everyone. Nowhere is this more critical than in the prevention of child abuse and neglect--a key measure of our success in maintaining stable, supported families.
What Works: Preventing Teen Pregnancy in Your Community
In Vermont, experts believe that no single program is responsible for the substantial reduction in our teen pregnancy and birth rates. Instead, a number of strategies, working together, and designed by community-state partnerships, are making the difference (U.S. General Accounting Office, 1998). While this booklet describes a number of individual programs that research has shown to be effective, the following are some strategies that professionals in the field consider to be “best practices” when formulating a community approach to this issue.
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