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Promising Program Seal

Safe Dates

Blueprints Program Rating: Promising

A ten-session dating abuse prevention program to raise students' awareness of what constitutes healthy and abusive dating relationships, as well as the causes and consequences of dating abuse. It helps change adolescent norms about dating violence, equips students with skills and resources to develop healthy dating relationships, positive communication, anger management, and conflict resolution.

Safe Dates is a very low cost program and many districts are able to purchase training materials through their general curriculum funds and then dedicate classroom teacher time to delivering the training. In addition, partnerships with private foundations or businesses can be an effective way to support the initial training and curriculum costs with the school district then sustaining the program through dedication of the teaching time.

Improving the Use of Existing Public Funds

Redirection: The most critical support necessary to sustain Safe Dates is for District and School administrators to commit to dedicating classroom teaching time to delivery of the curriculum. In order for this commitment to be sustained over time, it is important for the program to have key champions at the school level – administrators, teachers, parents, and students - who will advocate for the importance of the program.

Allocating State or Local General Funds

State departments of education or health sometimes allocate state funds toward violence prevention programs, which can be administered competitively or by formula to Districts, and could potentially support a Safe Dates program. Some states have put in place legislative set- asides requiring a certain portion of state agency budgets be dedicated to evidence-based programs and/or prevention programs.

Maximizing Federal Funds

Formula Funds: There are a variety of federal formula funds that could potentially support Safe Dates. Accessing these funding streams depends on the leaders of the administering agency prioritizing investment in Safe Dates.

  • Education: Title I can potentially support curricula purchase, training, and teacher salaries in schools that are operating schoolwide Title I programs (at least 40% of the student population is eligible for free and reduced lunch). In order for Title I to be allocated, Safe Dates would have to be integrated into the general curriculum and viewed as contributing to overall academic achievement.
  • Juvenile Justice: Provides funding for a variety of improvements to delinquency prevention and juvenile justice programs in states, including the development and implementation of prevention and intervention programs to protect public safety. Evidence-based programs are an explicit priority for these funds, which are typically administered on a competitive basis from the designated state administering agency.
  • Mental Health: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which administers the Mental Health Services Block Grant (MHSBG) is increasingly focused on primary prevention activities and is a potential source of support.
  • Social Services: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) has an explicit purpose of preventing and reducing out of wedlock pregnancies. The federal government and states have conceived of activities that prevent and reduce out of wedlock pregnancies broadly to include a range of healthy youth development activities. Many states have used TANF to support school-based youth development programs.

Discretionary Grants: There are relevant federal discretionary grants administered by SAMHSA, OJJDP, Education, and the Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB).

Foundation Grants and Public-Private Partnerships

Foundation grants and public-private partnerships are an important financing strategy for Safe Dates. Districts that find it difficult to identify dollars to support the initial training and curriculum purchases can potentially partner with a local foundation or corporation to support these costs. In some sites, Parent-Teacher-Organizations (PTO) and local domestic violence agencies are also important partners.

Generating New Revenue

A final category of strategies to consider are mechanisms to generate new revenue and to set aside funding for specific populations or sets of services. Several states and localities generate funding for prevention services through the imposition of fees on products that can result in social costs. The most popular of these “sin taxes” generally target tobacco and alcohol use. New tax and fee strategies are generally difficult to put in place, and the mechanism for establishing them depends on the state. In some states new revenue mechanisms can be put in place through ballot initiatives, while in others they require state legislation.

Survey and interview with purveyor, Hazelden Publishing.