Headlines: January 4th, 2006

A unique new guide has been published as a comprehensive indicator of the most effective programmes available in Britain for promoting children and young people’s well-being while reducing the risks of underachievement and anti-social behaviour. It has been produced by the national charity, Communities that Care.”The Guide to Promising Approaches” has been fully revised and updated with support from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. It looks at a range of family, school and community-based services, including more than 30 programmes available in the UK, the effectiveness of which has been indicated by rigorous research. They include the Communities that Care preventive programme that is currently being implemented in more than 30 neighbourhoods in England, Scotland and Wales.

The guidebook puts forward a case for evidence-based programmes having a crucial part to play in local strategies helping young people to fulfil their potential and reduce the likelihood of school failure, involvement in crime, drug misuse and school-age pregnancy. It says evaluation has showed how each ‘promising approach’ is capable of reducing underlying risk factors, while enhancing factors that protect children and strengthen their resilience.

The guide is designed to help community programmes to use tried and tested methods appropriate to tackle local priorities identified through the Communities that Care process. The information in the Guide could also help service planners and practitioners, including those in children’s services, area renewal, public health and community safety.

The Main headings in the new guide cover a large number of topics ranging from prenatal services and early childhood and early detection and treatment of postnatal depression, through to involving families in education, to youth employment and community policing. As well as detailing well-evaluated services in Britain, the guide includes information on programmes that apply prevention principles whose effectiveness has been demonstrated in the United States, Canada, Ireland and elsewhere.

Barry Anderson, Chief Executive of Communities that Care, said it was clear from existing CtC neighbourhoods that the promising approaches described in the new guide could play a valuable part in helping local people, agencies and all those concerned in promoting children’s well-being to turn their vision into reality.