Prevention scientists have identified a myriad of conditions (e.g., poverty, stressful environments) and experiences (e.g., maltreatment, witnessing violence) that place children at risk of poor outcomes as adults. An analysis by Brookings Institution researchers found that if proven interventions were given at critical points from early years through adolescence, we could close the opportunity gap by 70 percent between more and less advantaged children.
Proven strategies from prevention science include creating nurturing environments for children: support for mothers before and after giving birth, effective parenting and family functioning, creating classroom and school conditions that promote academic and interpersonal success, improving social-emotional learning skills, providing social services specifically needed by "at-risk" youth, and building social supports in neighborhoods. Examples of evidence-based programs include the Nurse Family Partnership; the Good Behavior Game in school settings; and Incredible Years, which supports infant and toddlers' social and emotional growth.
Our proposed Initiative to create a Grand Coalition to share prevention science findings takes a multi-pronged approach to communication, with translation, dissemination, and advocacy:
1. Translation: A major challenge to implementing evidence-based prevention practices is insuring that policymakers, practitioners, and the public have access to concise and readable scientific information. We will continue translating the findings of interdisciplinary teams of child development experts into a clear road map. We will produce "fact sheets," "recipes for prevention," "tool kits," press releases and opinion pieces. These will be added to the resources available at www.npscoalition.org. Translation will include the creative use of digital media: an engaging video to help communicate a clear message, i.e. What is prevention science? Why is it useful and important?
2. Dissemination: The "roadmap" and educational materials will be published on the website, and distributed to coalition members, researchers and to the public. We will make the concepts of prevention science more accessible to a wider audience. Our strategy for information dissemination (between members, affiliate organizations, staff, policy makers, and to the public) includes:
Website development, with resources and videos available online at www.npscoalition.org
Op-eds written and submitted on current events/topics to the media
Social media management, with NPSC on Facebook and twitter
Newsletters and announcements e-mailed to members, and posted on the website
Basecamp application: information exchange and collaboration between members, to share ideas and successes
Our researchers will periodically synthesize research-based information needed by policymakers, i.e. the Progressive Caucus requested a “one-pager” and OJJDP a “white paper.”
Annual NPSC meetings and an annual retreat for the Steering Committee at the Annie E. Casey Foundation in Baltimore, MD for face to face networking and exchanges
Outreach to members (volunteers) to contact their colleagues, networks, or outreach to other coalitions and associations where they are members
Facilitate opportunities for professional development (develop webinars, convene interest groups at conferences, collaborate with government agencies and community organizers to host professional development opportunities, and discussions)
Collaboration on informational products and projects with affiliate organizations: continue discussion with affiliates about mutual goals and ways to collaborate to achieve those goals
New member outreach: Continue diversifying membership, use data to identify members’ skills, needs, and expertise, and identify professional associations and individuals who have needed perspectives, experience, skills, networks, or expertise.
Bringing together our coalition members and stakeholders for strength in numbers
Bringing together experts for panel discussions and presentations at conferences and meetings
Inviting policy makers and the public to educational briefings in Washington, D.C.
Offering technical assistance and materials to providers and policy makers.
As a result of our efforts, our goal is to help children by reducing psychological problems (depression, suicide), physical health problems (asthma, diabetes, obesity), aggressive behaviors, violence, drug and alcohol abuse, early pregnancy, poor academic performance, and school drop-out rates. Our efforts are designed to improve the well being of vulnerable children and improve their chances of achieving success as adults. Over time, these practices and programs will lower societal costs and improve lives.