Skills, Opportunities, and Recognition (SOAR)

Prevention; Ages 6–12


(Read the criteria for this rating)
  • Effective delinquency program

Risk Factors

Antisocial/delinquent beliefs
Drug dealing
Early dating/sexual activity/fatherhood
Few social ties (involved in social activities, popularity)
General delinquency involvement
Lack of guilt and empathy
Poor refusal skills
Child maltreatment (abuse or neglect)
Family history of problem behavior/criminal involvement
Family violence (child maltreatment, partner violence, conflict)
Poor parental supervision (control, monitoring, and child management)
Sibling antisocial behavior
Low achievement in school
Low school attachment/bonding/motivation/commitment to school
Availability of firearms
Community disorganization
Economic deprivation/poverty/residence in a disadvantaged neighborhood
Low neighborhood attachment
Association with antisocial/aggressive/delinquent peers; high peer delinquency
Association with gang-involved peers/relatives


The Skills, Opportunities, and Recognition (SOAR) program was designed for the general population and high-risk children (those with low socioeconomic status and low school achievement) who are attending grade school and middle school. This multidimensional intervention decreases juveniles’ problem behaviors by working with parents, teachers, and children. It intervenes early in children’s development to increase prosocial bonds, strengthen attachment and commitment to schools, and decrease delinquency.

Teachers receive instruction that emphasizes proactive classroom management, interactive teaching, and cooperative learning. When implemented, these techniques minimize classroom disturbances by establishing clear rules and rewards for compliance; increase children’s academic performance; and allow students to work in small, heterogeneous groups to increase their social skills and contact with prosocial peers. In addition, first-grade teachers teach communication, decision making, negotiation, and conflict resolution skills, and sixth-grade teachers present refusal skills training. The project’s success lies in its combination of parent and teacher training.

Parents receive optional training programs throughout their children’s schooling.

  • When children are in first and second grades, seven sessions of family management training help parents monitor children and provide appropriate and consistent discipline.
  • When children are in second and third grades, four sessions encourage parents to improve communication among themselves, teachers, and students; create positive home learning environments; help their children develop reading and math skills; and support their children’s academic progress.
  • When children are in fifth and sixth grades, five sessions help parents create family positions on drugs and encourage children’s resistance skills.

Evaluations have demonstrated that the project improves school performance, family relationships, and student drug/alcohol involvement at various grades.

At the end of Grade 2, SOAR students, compared with control students, showed:

  • Lower levels of aggression and antisocial, externalizing behaviors for white males.
  • Lower levels of self-destructive behaviors for white females.

At the beginning of grade 5, SOAR students, compared with control students, had:

  • Less alcohol and delinquency initiation.
  • Increases in family management practices, communication, and attachment to family.
  • More attachment and commitment to school.

At the end of Grade 6, high-risk youths, compared with control youths, were more attached and committed to school, and SOAR boys were less involved with antisocial peers.

At the end of Grade 11, SOAR students, compared with control students, showed:

  • Reduced involvement in violent delinquency and sexual activity.
  • Reductions in being drunk and in drinking and driving.

Researchers found that the benefits of SOAR lasted through age 21. The students, now young adults, were engaged in less risky sexual behavior and had less history of violence and less heavy use of alcohol.


OJJDP Model Programs Guide: Effective program

OJJDP Blueprints Project: Promising program


Mr. Karl G. Hill, Project Director
Seattle Social Development Project
9725 Third Avenue, NE, Suite 401
Seattle, WA 98115-2024
Phone: (206) 685-3859
Fax: (206) 543-4507
Web site:


Hawkins, J. D.; Smith, B. H.; Hill, K. G.; Kosterman, R.; Catalano, R. F.; and Abbott, R. D. (2007). “Promoting Social Development and Preventing Health and Behavior Problems During the Elementary Grades: Results From the Seattle Social Development Project.” Victims & Offenders, 2:161–181.

Hawkins, J. D.; Kosterman, R.; Catalano, R. F.; Hill, K. G.; and Abbott, R. D. (2005). “Promoting Positive Adult Functioning Through Social Development Intervention in Childhood: Long-Term Effects From the Seattle Social Development Project.” Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 159:25–31.

Go directly to the main content section. Go directly to the main navigation menu.
Privacy Policy    Plug-Ins    Notice of Federal Funding and Federal Disclaimer    Accessibility
Access keys help