Risk Focused Prevention
Risk-focused prevention is based on a simple premise: To prevent a problem from happening, we need to identify the factors that increase the risk of that problem developing. Data from the Kansas Communities That Care (KCTC) Student Survey can be used to help school and community prevention planners identify current levels of problem behaviors and the precursors (risk and protective factors) to those behaviors. By focusing prevention efforts on identified precursors, prevention planners can implement specific types of interventions that have been effective in either reducing the identified risk(s) or enhancing the identified protection(s). The following steps will help your school building, district, and community to make and evaluate these essential decisions.
1. What should I look for in the numbers?
- Look for levels of drug use that are increasing or unacceptably high.
- Look for levels of antisocial behaviors which are increasing or unacceptably high.
- Look for levels of risk(s) which are increasing or unacceptably high.
- Look for levels of protection that are decreasing or unacceptably low.
2. How do I decide if a number is unacceptable?
- Compare your data with county, statewide, and national data – differences of 5% between local and other data are probably significant.
- Look at your data over time – rates which have been steadily increasing are probably significant.
- Determine the values held within your community – is it acceptable in your community for 75% of high school students to believe that it is easy to obtain alcohol (for example).
3. How do I decide which intervention(s) to employ?
- Prevention programs, policies, and practices should be selected based on the risk factors that are high in your community and the protective factors which are low.
- Interventions should be age appropriate and have evidence of effectiveness in reducing the problem behavior or related risk factors.
- Interventions should be feasible given the time, capacity, and resources available to you.
- To be effective, interventions should be implemented as directed or under the conditions that they showed effectiveness.
- Contact the Kansas Prevention Collaborative if you need assistance deciding which interventions to employ. Kansaspreventioncollaborative.org
4. How do I determine the effectiveness of the intervention?
Valid and reliable data are needed to determine if prevention interventions are effective. High levels of school district participation in the annual KCTC Student Survey provide prevention planners with data necessary to determine the effectiveness of programs and to evaluate if goals are being achieved. This data is also helpful to determine if additional efforts may be needed.
Data are not displayed if there are fewer than 20 students or less than 25% participation for any group. Year-to-year differences in participation may affect data trends It is important to examine participation rates for each grade level reported.
On the kctcdata.org website, survey items with wording that has changed is marked with an asterisk and the note: *This question/response text has changed. To learn more CLICK HERE