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Communities That Care



Communities That Care (CTC) is a prevention structure, grounded in science that gives communities the tools to address their adolescent health and behavior problems through a focus on empirically identified risk and protective factors. The CTC prevention planning system activates and trains a local coalition of stakeholders to develop and implement a science-based approach to prevention. CTC helps each community increase high-quality implementation of tested, effective preventive interventions that address elevated widespread risk factors for adolescent problem behaviors. Gang involvement is considered a risk factor for juvenile delinquency.

CTC guides the coalition to create a strategic community prevention plan designed to address the community's profile of risk and protection with tested, effective programs and to implement the chosen programs with fidelity. CTC instructs the coalition to monitor program implementation and to periodically reevaluate community levels of risk and protection and outcomes, and to make adjustments in prevention programming if indicated by the data. Implementation of CTC is organized into five stages, each with its own series of "benchmarks" and "milestones" to help guide and monitor implementation progress. CTC is installed in communities through a series of six training events delivered over the course of 6 to 12 months by certified CTC trainers.

In a 24-community study in which sites were randomly assigned to treatment and controls, CTC reduced the initiation of alcohol use, cigarette smoking, delinquency, and violence through the end of high school. Youth exposed to CTC from Grades 5 through 9 were significantly more likely to abstain from substance use and delinquency through Grade 12, even though few were exposed to evidence-based prevention programs after Grade 9. They were:

  • 32% more likely to have abstained from any drug use
  • 31% more likely to never have used gateway drugs (alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana)
  • 31% more likely to have abstained from alcohol use
  • 3% more likely to have abstained from cigarette smoking
  • 18% more likely to never have committed a delinquent act
  • 14% less likely to ever have committed a violent act

Risk Factors


Antisocial/delinquent beliefs

Gang involvement in adolescence

Physical violence/aggression


Family history of problem behavior/criminal involvement

Family violence (child maltreatment, partner violence, conflict)


Low school attachment/bonding/motivation/commitment to school

Poor school attitude/performance; academic failure

School attendance


Availability and use of drugs in the neighborhood

Availability of firearms

Community disorganization

Low neighborhood attachment


Association with antisocial/aggressive/delinquent peers; high peer delinquency

Peer alcohol/drug use


Crime Solutions: Promising program


Ms. Blair Brooke-Weiss
Social Development Research Group
University of Washington School of Social Work
Suite 401
9725 3rd Ave. NE
Seattle, WA 98115-2024
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site: www.communitiesthatcare.net


Hawkins, J. D., Oesterle, S., Brown, E. C., Arthur, M. W., Abbot, R. D., Fagan, A. A., & Catalano, R. F. (2009). Results of a type 2 translational research trial to prevent adolescent drug use and delinquency: A test of Communities That Care. Archives of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine, 163(9), 789-798.

Hawkins, J. D., Oesterle, S., Brown, E. C., Abbot, R. D., Catalano, R. F. (2014). Youth problem behaviors 8 years after implementing the Communities That Care prevention system. A community-randomized trial. JAMA Pediatrics, 168(2), 122-129.

Oesterle, S., Hawkins, J. D., Kuklinski, M. R., Fagan, A. A., Fleming, C., Rhew, I. C., Brown, E. C., Abbott, R. D., & Catalano, R. F. (2015). Effects of Communities that Care on males’ and females’ drug use and delinquency 9 years after baseline in a community-randomized trial. American Journal of Community Psychology, 56, 217-228.

Date Created: April 7, 2021