Communities That Care (CTC) guides the community's prevention efforts through a five-phase process which includes:
1. Get Started
Assessing community readiness to undertake collaborative prevention efforts.
2. Get Organized
Getting a commitment to the CTC process from community leaders and forming a diverse and representative prevention coalition.
3. Develop a Profile
Using data to assess prevention needs.
4. Create a Plan
Choosing tested and effective prevention policies, practices, and programs based on assessment data.
5. Implement and Evaluate
Implementing the new strategies with fidelity, in a manner congruent with the programs' theory, content, and methods of delivery, and evaluating progress over time.
CTC activities are planned and carried out by the CTC Community Board, a prevention coalition of community stakeholders who work together to promote positive youth outcomes.
Working through the five phases of CTC provides the opportunity to increase communication, collaboration, and ownership among community members and service providers invested in healthy youth development.
Read more about CTC on the EPIS website.
Pennsylvania initiated a comprehensive plan to implement CTC projects throughout the state in the mid-1990s. The effort was spearheaded by the Governor's Partnership for Children and the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD).
Family Services of Montgomery County, in partnership with key community leaders, received a grant in 2001 to replicate the CTC model in the greater Norristown area (Norristown Municipality, East Norriton Township and West Norriton Township) of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.
Recruitment of interested community stakeholders is ongoing.
The Norristown CTC Prevention Board has identified four priority risk factors that can lead youth in the greater Norristown area to engage in problem behaviors:
1. Perceived Availability of Handguns
The perceived availability of drugs, alcohol, or handguns in a community is directly related to the prevalence of delinquent behaviors. In schools where youth believe that drugs are available, a higher rate of drug use has been found to occur. If students believe that acquiring a handgun is or would be difficult, they are less likely to become involved with the unauthorized and unsupervised use of firearms.
2. Family Management Problems (substance abuse, delinquency, teen pregnancy, school drop-out, violence)
Poor family management practices include a lack of clear expectations for behavior; failure of parents to supervise and monitor their children (knowing where they are and whom they’re with); and excessively severe, harsh, or inconsistent punishment. Children exposed to these poor family management practices are at higher risk of developing all five problem behaviors.
3. Favorable Parental Attitudes to the Problem Behavior
Parents’ attitudes and behavior toward drugs, crime, and violence influence the attitudes and behavior of their children. Children whose parents approve of or excuse them from breaking the law are more likely to become involved with juvenile delinquency. Children whose parents engage in violent behavior inside or outside the home are at greater risk for violent behavior.
4. Early Initiation
The earlier that young people use drugs, commit crimes, first drop out of school or become sexually active, the greater their chances of having chronic problems with the respective behavior. Aggressive behavior at ages 4-8 predicts later violent behavior, and truancy in the elementary grades predicts school drop-out. For example, research shows that young people who start drug use before age 15 have twice the risk of drug problems than those who start after 19.
Norristown Area CTC brings together community residents and leaders to prevent substance use and violence in order to secure a more safe, caring and educated environment in which youth can live and grow to be productive members of our community.