To What Extent Are Families Engaged in the Program?

Programs that implement strategies to remove barriers to participation and elicit greater engagement are more likely to show positive impacts on substance use (Winters, 2007).  

Example engagement strategies in a group-setting include implementing interactive activities that require an experienced provider and include discussion and small group work that allows parents to develop a relationship with one another and draw on personal experience in order to relate with their children (Elmquist, 1995; Dusenbury, 2000).

Data on participant engagement should be collected on a frequent basis. For example, for year-long school-based programs, participant engagement data could be collected quarterly.

If participant engagement is low, this may reflect poor cultural fit, a lack of appropriate activities, or issues with the leadership or interaction style of group facilitators. Data on participant engagement should be fed back to staff, so that they can help to generate improvement strategies. Participant engagement strategies can be also generated by consulting community leaders and stakeholders or asking community leaders to run focus groups or interviews with participants.


Sources Cited

Dusenbury, L. (2000). Family-based drug abuse prevention programmes: a review.  Journal of  Primary Prevention, 20, 337-352.

Elmquist, D. L. (1995). A systematic review of parent-oriented programs to prevent children’s use of alcohol and other drugs. Journal of Drug Education, 25, 251-279. doi:10.2190/XAW9-JV18-J480-4VD7

Winters, K.C., Fawkes, T., Fahnhorst, T., Botzet, A., & August, G. (2007). A synthesis review of exemplary drug abuse prevention programs in the United States. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 32, 371-380. doi:10.1016/j.jsat.2006.10.002