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Over the last three decades, researchers have made remarkable progress in creating and testing family-focused programs aimed at fostering the cognitive, affective, and behavioral health of children. These programs include universal interventions, such as those for expecting or new parents, and workshops for families whose children are entering adolescence, as well as programs targeted to especially challenged parents, such as low-income single teens about to have their first babies, or the parents of children with autism. Some family-focused programs have been shown to foster significantly better outcomes in children, including enhanced educational performance, and reduced rates of teen pregnancy, substance abuse, and child conduct and delinquency, as well as reduced child abuse. The favorable cost-benefit ratios of some of these programs are due, in part, to the multiple and far-ranging effects that family-focused prevention programs targeting children can have. Other family-focused programs have shown success in smaller academic studies but have not been widely applied, or have not worked as effectively or failed when applied to more diverse real-world settings.

Strategies for Scaling Effective Family-Focused Preventive Interventions to Promote Children's Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Health is the summary of a workshop convened by the Institute of Medicine Forum on Promoting Children's Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Health to explore effective preventive interventions for youth that can modify risk and promote protective factors that are linked to mental, emotional, and behavioral health, and how to apply this existing knowledge. Based on the 2009 report Preventing Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Disorders Among Young People, this report considers how to build a stronger research and practice base around the development and implementation of programs, practices, and policies that foster children's health and well-being across the country, while engaging multi-sectorial stakeholders. While research has advanced understanding of risk, promotive, and protective factors in families that influence the health and well-being of youth, a challenge remains to provide family-focused interventions across child and adolescent development at sufficient scale and reach to significantly reduce the incidence and prevalence of negative cognitive, affective, and behavioral outcomes in children and adolescents nationwide, as well as to develop widespread demand for effective programs by end users. This report explores new and innovative ways to broaden the reach and demand for effective programs and to generate alternative paradigms for strengthening families.


Suggested Citation

Institute of Medicine and National Research Council. 2014. Strategies for Scaling Effective Family-Focused Preventive Interventions to Promote Children's Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Health: Workshop Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

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Publication Info

118 pages |  6 x 9 | 

  • Paperback:  978-0-309-30544-0
  • Ebook:  978-0-309-30547-1

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