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Draft Version: This profile has not yet received feedback from evaluators or program staff.

Program Description

Overview The ADEPT Drug and Alcohol Community Prevention Project (ADACPP) is a primary-level alcohol and other drug-use prevention program that provided after school child care services to 24 different low-income area elementary schools of the New Orleans Public School District during 144 days of the school year. This project expanded on a previously existing prevention model created and administered by ADEPT and previously funded by the state of Louisiana. The program focused on building positive self-esteem and providing homework assistance and activities for social and emotional growth within a minority environment. It attempted to address precursors of substance abuse, including: environmental risk factors, the greater likelihood of solitary and peer-related trials of risky behavior, lack of parental supervision and support of homework, and associated problems of low self-esteem.
Start Date unknown
Scope local
Type after school
Location urban
Setting public schools
Participants elementary school students
Number of Sites/Grantees 24 elementary schools
Number Served 900 latchkey-identified students
Components The ADACPP participant group consisted primarily of African-American students in kindergarten through sixth grade, who were identified as latchkey children by the school principal, based on input from the school social worker, the ADACPP prevention site coordinator, and classroom teachers. Latchkey children are defined as children who care for themselves during out-of-school hours in the absence of adult supervision. The program made no attempt to verify latchkey status. These professionals were responsible for identifying 60 families at each school site strictly on the basis of latchkey status. The youth were then solicited by mailing an invitation to the parents which described ADACPP, offered the services to the family, and requested that interested parents or designated adults attend a Parent Orientation Meeting held at each site.

Each prevention site consisted of a classroom within the school facility that had agreed to house ADACPP, 20 latchkey children from the host school, and a paid staff including a prevention site coordinator, a primary substitute and/or secondary substitute, a parent group coordinator, and a parent advisory council representative. The prevention site coordinators were drawn from the faculty of the host school, which created a link between the school and ADACPP.

Each site was staffed five days per week by the coordinator, while the primary substitute trained beside the coordinator one day per week and substituted in his/her absence. One or two substitute coordinators were hired at each site, averaging two days per month. Substitutes were drawn from the school faculty and community, with particular efforts to secure certified teachers. Eight itinerant drama artists and eight itinerant substance abuse prevention facilitators were employed. Class volunteers (teachers, parents, siblings) approved by each school also assisted site coordinators and substitutes in various activities.

Prevention sites operated five days per week, and functioned from mid-October through late May. Children participated daily for 144 days in two-hour sessions beginning immediately after school consisting of a supervised homework period, self-esteem-building exercises, free play, and, during a seven-week period, creative dramatics. Youth in all schools started the ADACPP schedule with a snack and 30 minutes of outdoor free play as a break from having been in school all day. Youth received homework assistance from the site coordinators who were certified teachers on the faculty of the given school site. This arrangement allowed for contact between the coordinators and regular day classroom teachers in cases where ADACPP youth were experiencing problems with homework assignments.

The Me-Me Drug Prevention Program, a kindergarten through sixth grade alcohol and other drug prevention program, provided exercises in self-esteem building and decision making. Classroom teachers received one day of in-service training to implement the program and implementation was then monitored throughout the first year of use. To provide a disaggregated intervention and test the independent effect of the self-esteem-building exercises, the Me-Me program was replaced in eight of the 24 schools by an extended homework period, 90 minutes in length.

In the Creative Dramatics program, a drama instructor (called a “drama itinerant artist”) met with children at a given site for two hours per day for 35 consecutive school days per year at each site. The first weeks of visitation were devoted to theater games and other creative dramatic exercises. Midway through the visitation period, youth began putting together a dramatic performance eventually performed at the annual Substance Abuse Prevention Student Assembly/Parent Workshop held at each of the 24 prevention sites. A high level of uniformity in the drama program from school to school was achieved through the use of a videotape of proven successful exercises made by the drama itinerants. The themes of the dramatic exercises were related to African-American cultural awareness (because the student population was, on average, 96% African-American) and building self-esteem.

A field trip component was also included. The field trips were to such locations as hospital detox units and state correctional facilities, with the rationale being that exposing youth to the possible consequences of substance use might act as a deterrent. Field trips occurred during ADACPP after school hours and were only undertaken at a given prevention site if there was participation by 50% of ADACPP parents.
Funding Level unknown
Funding Sources State of Louisiana


Overview The investigation focused on demonstrating and evaluating whether the ADACPP program could reduce certain precursors of alcohol and other drug use thought to place latchkey youth at particularly high risk. Three main hypotheses of possible risk factors were explored in the evaluation:
  1. Self-esteem - The link between low self-esteem and the risk of substance use was the central concept in the design of ADACPP. However, past research on this issue suggests that the reasons for higher drug use among latchkey children may be unrelated to differences in self-esteem.
  2. Depression - Latchkey children may be at great risk of substance use because time spent alone places them at greater risk of becoming depressed, which, in turn, may put them at risk of using drugs to relieve their depression.
  3. Lack of supervision - Latchkey children may be at greater risk of substance use because the time they spend alone allows for a greater number of unsupervised trials of high-risk behavior of all types, including alcohol and other drug use.
Along with these substance abuse risk factors, the evaluation explored the effectiveness of the intervention at improving academic performance. Research shows that latchkey children face a greater risk of overall school adjustment problems, which place them at greater risk for school failure. They are not only at risk of academic failure (i.e., bad grades), but of multiple forms of school failure (e.g., truancy and rejection by teachers and/or peers). Based on this hypothesis, the evaluators surmised that a successful intervention must first address in-school behavior, including academic performance.
Evaluators James G. Ross, Pedro J. Saavedra, Gail Shur, Macro International Inc.

Franklin Winters, Bureau of the Census

Robert D. Felner, Center for Prevention Research and Development at the University of Illinois
Evaluations Profiled The Effectiveness of an After-School Program for Primary Grade Latchkey Students on Precursors of Substance Abuse
Evaluations Planned None
Report Availability Ross J. G., Saavedra P. J., Schur G. H., Winters F., & Felner R. D. (1992). The effectiveness of an after-school program for primary grade latchkey students on precursors of substance abuse. Journal of Community Psychology, OSAP Special Issue, 22-38.


Evaluation James G. Ross
address unknown
Program unknown
Profile Updated January 8, 2003

Evaluation: The Effectiveness of an After-School Program for Primary Grade Latchkey Students on Precursors of Substance Abuse

Evaluation Description

Evaluation Purpose To measure the effects of: (1) ADACPP participation on the child's academic performance and overall school behavior, (2) ADACPP participation, improved academic performance, and exposure to self-esteem-building exercises on the child's self-esteem, and (3) ADACPP participation on the prevalence of depression and of risk-taking behavior.
Evaluation Design Quasi-Experimental: Both the participant and comparison groups were drawn from children identified as latchkey. The researchers abandoned their initial plan of randomly selecting children for participant and nonparticipant groups due to unforeseen complications. Instead, the participant group was chosen based on perceived need and parental cooperation. The comparison group consisted of the latchkey-identified children who were unable to obtain parental permission to enroll in the program.

Data were collected for 888 students, consisting of both the ADACPP participants and a comparison group of nonparticipants in kindergarten through sixth grade. The number of participants in the study fluctuated due to dropouts, late entries, and parents not returning the assessment. The teacher sample started with 888 teacher ratings at pretest, but at posttest, due to dropouts, students entering the program for only a limited time, and other causes, 836 valid ratings were obtained. Both pretest and posttest ratings had to be available and the student had to attend the program for at least 70 days to be included in the study. Of the 836 students, 540 participated in the program and 296 were involved in the comparison group. There were 810 parent ratings at pretest, but at posttest there were only 667 valid ratings. Of these, 443 were program participants and 224 were part of the comparison group.

The daily self-esteem-building exercises (the Me-Me Drug Prevention Program) were not included in the ADACPP program in 8 of the 24 schools. Instead, students in these schools received a double-dosage of supervised homework/tutoring. Through this disaggregation, the evaluation sought to determine if the self-esteem building exercises provided any benefit over and above those provide by the other program components (i.e., supervised homework, supervised play, and creative dramatics).
Data Collection Methods Secondary Sources/Data Review: Minimal data were collected from school and ADACPP program records by the ADACPP Prevention Coordinator assigned to the particular school, including ADACPP attendance, frequency of parental involvement in ADACPP activities, and student performance on standardized tests.

Tests/Assessments: The assessment instruments were developed to allow comparability to earlier related studies of latchkey and other high-risk youth. Two primary sources served as the basis of both the parent and teacher reports of student classroom behavior and adjustment: the Teacher-Child Rating Scale (T-CRS) developed by Cowen, Hightower, Work et al. (1986) and the Achenbach Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) (Achenbach & Edelbrock, 1981). Elements of both of these instruments were adapted for both the parent and teacher assessments used in this study.

The parent assessment consisted of 25 general information questions about their children concerning: the extent to which their child was latchkey, parent-child involvement, parental expectations, etc. It also included 18 items from the CBCL for depression and self-esteem. In addition, it included risk-taking subscale items from Richardson's study of substance abuse and latchkey kids (1989). The teacher assessment included eight general questions concerning homework completion, academic potential, the degree to which parents were concerned about their child's school performance, etc. The teacher assessment also included the entire T-CRS and the 18 CBCL items in the parent assessment (to allow for direct comparability of the two). Because the well-tested scales of Achenbach, Richardson, and Cowen were combined to produce these instruments, a validation of the new combined instrument was conducted. To examine the reliability and validity of the scales, internal reliability coefficients were obtained for each scale and pre-post correlations were obtained for each scale.

The parent assessment was first administered as a pretest at the initial parent orientation meeting approximately five weeks into the school year. It was subsequently sent out to parents who were invited to the meeting, but who did not attend. For students who entered the program during the school year, parents were sent a survey by mail before the child's enrollment. The parent assessment was re-administered as a posttest approximately four weeks before the end of the school year to parents of students participating in the program as well as to parents who had earlier completed a pretest and whose children did not enroll. The posttest was also sent out to parents whose children dropped out of the program.

The teacher assessment was first administered as a pretest approximately five weeks into the school year by the homeroom teacher of each student who had been identified as being suitable for the program. For students who entered the program during the school year, teachers completed a teacher assessment pretest before the child was actually enrolled. The teacher survey was re-administered as a posttest approximately four weeks before the end of the school year to the teachers of students participating in the program as well as to teachers whose students were identified as suitable for the program, but did not participate. A separate teacher pretest and posttest was completed for each student who was identified as latchkey.

Achenbach, T. M., & Edelbrock, C.,S. (1981). Behavioral problems and competencies reported by parents of normal and disturbed children aged four through sixteen. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 46(1, Serial No. 188).

Hightower, A. D., Work, W. C., Cowen, E. L., Lotyczewski, B. S., Spinnell, A. P., Guare, J.C., et al. (1986). The Teacher-Child Rating Scale: A brief objective measure of elementary children's school problem behaviors and competencies. School Psychology Review, 15, 393–409.

Richardson, J. L., Dwyer, K., McGuigan, K., Hansen, W. B., Dent, C., Johnson, C. A., et al. (1989). Substance abuse among eighth grade students who take care of themselves after school. Pediatrics, 84, 556–566.
Data Collection Timeframe Dates of collection (i.e., month and year) are unknown.

Formative/Process Findings

Parent/Community Involvement Twenty-seven percent of participants' parents said that they would like to have little or no contact with their child's school.

Teachers reported that 18% of participants' parents had little to no contact with the school.

Twenty-one percent of participants' parents said they checked their child's homework once a week or less.

According to the teacher assessment, 25% of the participants' parents had no concern for their child's education.

Teachers indicated that they had more contact with the ADACPP parents before the program began than with the non-ADACPP parents: 34% of teachers said they had “quite a bit” of contact with the ADACPP parents compared to 22% for the non-ADACPP parents. Similarly, 16% of teachers said they had a “great deal of contact” with the ADACPP parents compared to 7% for the non-ADACPP parents.

ADACPP parents were more likely than nonparticipant parents to be pleased with their child's school: 26% were only somewhat or not very pleased compared to 41% for the non-ADACPP parents.

Teachers viewed ADACPP parents as more concerned than nonparticipant parents before the program began: 45% of the ADACPP parents were very concerned compared to only 26% of non-ADACPP parents.
Program Context/Infrastructure Over 70% of participants' parents said their child spent at least two to three hours after school watching television.
Recruitment/Participation Evaluation findings suggest that the program needed to make greater efforts to recruit latchkey students that were in need of the program. Based on data from parents, both the participant and comparison groups were determined to be no more than 60% latchkey. In addition, several findings indicated that ADACPP participants were less at risk at pretest than students who were not enrolled in ADACPP, suggesting that the group that participated in ADACPP needed it less than the group that did not participate.

There were no differences between participants and nonparticipants in factors of: after school television watching time, the best grades parents thought the child could get, parents' estimation of the likelihood the child would eventually graduate from high school, parental desire for contact with the school, and the quality of the parent-child relationship.

Fewer ADACPP participants (62%) came from single-parent homes than nonparticipants (74%).

According to teachers, 81% of participants had significant adjustment problems, compared to 68% of nonparticipants.

According to the teacher assessment, fewer participant parents than nonparticipant parents had been called to school because their child was in trouble at pretest (23% vs. 35%).

According to the parent assessment, 25% of participants' parents said that they had been called to school because the child got into trouble.

Teachers reported that 38% of participants had classroom behavioral problems.

According to participants' parents, 24% of the children had stayed home from school when they were not sick.

Teachers viewed 56% of the participants as not working up to their abilities.

According to the teachers, 54% of the participants had difficulties following instructions.

One quarter of the teachers felt the participants had problems working without adult support.

Teachers reported that 40% of participants had problems questioning unfair or unclear rules.

Thirteen percent of enrollees were not expected by teachers to graduate from high school compared to 22% of those not enrolled.

Based on the teacher assessment, 29% of participants got average grades of C or less compared to 38% of nonparticipants.

Twenty-three percent of participants' parents said that their child got average grades of C or less.

Teachers reported that 20% of participants brought completed homework to school half the time or less compared to 38% for the nonparticipants. However, only 5% of participants' parents said their child came to school with completed homework half the time or less.

Summative/Outcome Findings

Academic There was no overall effect of the ADACPP curriculum on the participants' performance on standardized achievement tests.

There was a statistically significant interaction effect between participation in the self-esteem-building exercises (the Me-Me Drug Prevention Program) and improvements on standardized achievement tests (F=12.35, p<.001). Both math and language tests separately showed significant effects (p<.01). Analysis of covariance was also used and it yielded significant results (in the predicted direction) for the program participants in the 16 schools that included the self-esteem exercise, the Me-Me Drug Prevention Program, but not for the participants in the eight schools that did not include this self-esteem exercise. The significant results included both the reading and math scales.

In addition, a three-way analysis was conducted using the latchkey status (whether or not the parent answered in the pretest that the child spent time alone at home) plus the two other variables (treatment or comparison, self-esteem program or not) used in this analysis, and with the same dependent variables. Latchkey status exhibited no significant effect and was part of no significant interaction effect (two- or three-way). Examination of separate results for latchkey and non-latchkey children revealed no distinct patterns.

There was significant improvement in math for the non-self-esteem comparison group and in the reading for the self-esteem experimental group, and the combined scales showed significant improvement for both of these groups. The self-esteem comparison group showed significant deterioration in reading score percentiles.
Youth Development Using analysis of variance and gain score analyses, it was determined that the curriculum did not have measurable positive effects on any of the personality variables (self-esteem, depression, risk taking). It also did not have measurable positive effects on in-classroom behavior.


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