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Promising Program Seal

Strong African American Families Program

Blueprints Program Rating: Promising

A 7-week interactive educational program for African American parents and their early adolescent children that includes separate weekly parent and child skills-building followed by a family session to reduce adolescent substance use, conduct problems, and sexual involvement.

SAAF is a relatively inexpensive parent and adolescent education program that improves parent and youth relationships, communication, and perspective taking. It works to prepare youth to resist temptations and pressures for alcohol use, drug use, and sexual involvement. Public and private funding streams aimed at addressing substance abuse and preventing pregnancy and STD’s can potentially support the program. Important streams include the federal Substance Abuse Prevention Block Grant, the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) Formula funds, and pregnancy prevention funds through the Office of Adolescent Health. In addition, SAAF was originally conceived and tested as a program targeted to rural African American families. Public and private funds focused on high need rural areas and African American families are also potential sources of support.

Improving the Use of Existing Public Funds

To the extent that programs already exist for substance abuse and teen pregnancy prevention that are not evidence-based, consideration can be given to re-directing the funds from those toward SAAF.

Allocating State or Local General Funds

State and local funds for prevention programs can be allocated to SAAF. These would likely come from health-related initiatives. State Tobacco Settlement revenues have been used by some states for substance abuse prevention.

Maximizing Federal Funds

Formula Funds:

  • The Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant can fund a variety of prevention activities, depending upon the priorities of the state-administering agency.
  • Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) Formula Funds support a variety of delinquency prevention programs in states. Evidence-based programs are an explicit priority for these funds, which are awarded competitively by state agencies to community-based programs.
  • The Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP), administered by the Administration on Children, Youth, and Families (ACYF), Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) provides $55 million annually by formula to states and territories for evidence-based programs that educate adolescents on both abstinence and contraception to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.
  • Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) is a formula grant that states use to provide cash assistance and work supports to needy families. One of the four stated purposes of TANF funding is to prevent and reduce out-of-wedlock pregnancies and many states have used TANF to support a wide array of youth development programs that can help to prevent pregnancy.
  • The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program is administered from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development to localities to support community economic development. Fifteen percent of these funds can be used to support a wide range of public services. Cities may choose to direct some portion of these funds to pregnancy prevention and youth development programs.

Discretionary Grants: Federal discretionary grants from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) or the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention may be available to support SAAF. In addition, relevant discretionary grants include grants focused on pregnancy prevention that are administered by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) and Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB); and the Centers for Disease Control grants for replication of evidence-based programs for teen pregnancy prevention.

Foundation Grants and Public-Private Partnerships

Foundations, particularly those with a focus on pregnancy and substance abuse prevention can be a good source of funding for SAAF. Foundations with a particular interest in investing in African American communities and those who are interested in evidence-based interventions should also be considered.

Generating New Revenue

Prevention programs such as SAAF can potentially be supported through state or local funding streams dedicated to prevention. Sin taxes, such as those that target alcohol and tobacco use, have been established by some states to support tobacco and substance abuse prevention programs. The program is so low cost that interested schools and communities could potentially consider community fundraising through local churches, or partnerships with local businesses and civic organizations as a means of raising dollars to support the initial training and curriculum purchases.

All information comes from the responses to a questionnaire submitted by the purveyor, the University of Georgia Center for Family Research, to the Annie E. Casey Foundation.