First Program to be Endorsed by State of NH as Evidence-Based
The Dover Youth to Youth program was recently recognized by the State of New Hampshire as an “evidence-based practice” by a panel of experts assigned to review innovative drug prevention programs and the research supporting their effectiveness.
The evidence-based designation means that the expert panel has reviewed the results of the research done to evaluate the effectiveness of the local drug prevention group’s activities and determined that significant results were shown. The panel is comprised of individuals recognized nationally and statewide as experts in the field of substance abuse prevention.
Placement on the list of designated programs allows easy access for other communities looking for a prevention program with documented prior success. The research was coordinated by Community Health Institute of Bow, NH and involved the evaluation of data collected from the Youth to Youth program and program participants, as well as students in a comparison group.
The expert panel is convened by the NH Center for Excellence and the Service to Science process is sponsored by the New Hampshire Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services and the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.
The process that led to the endorsement began in 2009 when the ONE Voice for Strafford County Coalition provided mini-grants to local communities that wished to replicate the Dover Youth to Youth program model in their schools. Those communities received funding to do so and at the same time funding was provided to evaluate the effectiveness of the Youth to Youth approach.
In 2010 Youth to Youth was selected by the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) as a national Service to Science site. This resulted in a year of advanced technical assistance, funded by the federal government, to design the research approach that could determine if the Youth to Youth model is effective and has an impact.
The next year Dover Youth to Youth was awarded one of only fifteen $30,000 research grants given out by SAMSHA to evaluate drug prevention programs in the US. “Both the state and federal government want to identify and encourage the use of local innovative programs that have been evaluated and demonstrated as successful” said program coordinator Dana Mitchell. “Ultimately we hope to have Dover’s program accepted onto the National Registry of Evidenced-based Programs and Practices” Mitchell explained.
The NH process is endorsed by SAMHSA and is considered one pathway towards national recognition of innovative programs and practices as promising or evidence-based. Youth to Youth plans to complete the application to be considered for the National Registry when applications are next accepted in February.
Over the years Dover Y2Y has become nationally known for its capacity to develop leadership and life skills in its members, while impacting their environment. Y2Y teams have proposed and passed three state laws and six city ordinances, recorded over 75 radio and video PSAs, developed several presentations taught locally and in 19 states all over the US, and conducted hundreds of community awareness projects and programs.
Even before the evaluation process many communities have sought out Dover Youth to Youth’s materials and expertise to use in their prevention programs. The radio spots and theatrical skits created by Y2Y over the years have been provided to other drug prevention groups in all 50 states. Many samples of Y2Y’s work product are available on their web site for free and that site routinely logs over 1,000 downloads a month.
Two years ago, in anticipation of this evaluation process, Y2Y consolidated all of its projects, lesson plans, media and other materials into a comprehensive training manual. This manual was named the “Y2Y Youth Empowerment Toolkit”. The Toolkit quickly became a resource for other communities looking to use the Dover model for involving youth in drug prevention.
Since that time, over 40 communities have requested a Toolkit to use as a blueprint to design their own youth programs. Locally, the Toolkit has been used to help start new Youth to Youth groups in Rochester, Somersworth, Strafford, Farmington, and at Coe Brown Academy.
Dover Youth to Youth is a program dedicated to teaching students in middle and high school to take an active part in preventing the harm caused by tobacco, alcohol and other substances. It is coordinated by the Dover Police Department’s Community Outreach Bureau. More information is available on the Y2Y web site www.DoverY2Y.org. A copy of tour evaluation reports can be found on our website under Research and Evaluation.