Keeping Youth Safe and Drug Free

Risk Factors

Upon completion of a comprehensive review of community data and Pennsylvania Youth Survey data, the CTC For Youth Board identifies risk factors that increase the likelihood of youth drug use and violence, as well as those protective factors that shield youngsters from problems. Prioritization of these risk and protective factors results in the development of a comprehensive strategic plan to step ahead of problems with far-reaching and long-lasting solutions.

What are Risk Factors?
Risk factors such as availability of drugs, family conflict, academic failure, and favorable attitudes toward problem behavior are those conditions that increase the likelihood that a child will develop one or more behavior problems in adolescence. The CTC Risk and Resource Assessment Committee reviewed community and youth data for 20 risk factors that have been linked by research to be predictive of youth anti-social behavior.

What are Protective Factors?
Protective factors, like individual characteristics, bonding, healthy beliefs and clear standards, are aspects of adolescents' lives that counter risk factors or provide a buffer against them. A key strategy of CTC is to enhance protective factors that promote positive behavior, well being, and personal success.

What Risk Factors has CTC Identified for Youth in the Norristown Area?
The Norristown CTC for Youth Board has identified four priority risk factors that can lead youth in the greater Norristown area to engage in problem behaviors:

  1. Family Management

    Families experiencing stress, such as conflict, parenting problems, unemployment, and poor communication skills, have a more challenging time working through the pre-adolescent and adolescent stages without tremendous turmoil or negative outcomes.  Poor family management practices include lack of clear expectations of behavior, failure of parents to monitor their children, and excessively severe or inconsistent punishment. 

  2. Lack of School Commitment
    This refers to the young person who no longer sees their role of student as a viable one and no longer appreciates the value of an education.  Truancy and school drop-out are directly correlated to substance abuse and juvenile delinquency. 

  3. Alienation and Rebelliousness

    Young people who feel they are not part of society, are not bound by rules, don’t believe in trying to be successful or responsible, or who take an actively rebellious stance toward society are at greater risk.

  4. Availability of Drugs and Firearms

    The more available alcohol and other drugs are in a community, the higher the risk of young people abusing drugs in that community.  Research has shown a corresponding increase between the availability of firearms and an increase in the number of crimes, including homicides, committed by adolescents.

How is CTC Responding to These Risk Factors?

Norristown CTC provides prevention education through forums, presentations, community outreach, and informational mailings.  In addition, the CTC for Youth Board is undertaking a series of programmatic strategies to assist schools and families in helping youth to avoid problematic behavior:

Norristown Violence Prevention Initiative (NVPI) – A local replication of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) Comprehensive Gang Model providing intervention and pro-social opportunities for high-risk or gang involved youth.

Say It Straight/Hablando Claro – An evidence-based communication training program designed to help students develop empowering communication skills and behaviors and increase self-awareness, self-efficacy and personal and social responsibility.

Social Marketing – Campaigns such as Find Your 25th Hour, Education=Options and Don’t Smoke Your Future are intended to increase public awareness to pressing community issues.

Social Media – Our e-mail-based Google group, Norristown Positive Youth Network, shares local news and events from greater Norristown area organizations. Norristown CTC is also active on several social networks, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Strengthening Families Program 10-14/Familias Fuertes 10-14– National model, seven-week family strengthening program for parents and youth ages 10-14 that helps families reduce the risk for serious problems by guiding youth through the teen years.



Join Us!

You can help make a difference in the lives of our youth by joining our CTC Youth Prevention Board; lending your expertise; spreading the word about CTC to your friends and family; or donating your services to support youth-based organizations. For more information, contact Viviann Schorle, CTC community mobilizer, at 610-630-2111 ext. 257 or

Family Services is proud to be the lead agency/fiscal agent for Norristown Area CTC for Youth. Family Services is a nonprofit social service agency that serves children, seniors and families throughout Montgomery County, Pa.


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