Striving Together to Achieve Rewarding Tomorrows (CASASTART)

Prevention; Ages 8–13


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

Risk Factors

High alcohol/drug use
Life stressors
Makes excuses for delinquent behavior (neutralization)
Poor refusal skills
Broken home/changes in caretaker
Family history of problem behavior/criminal involvement
Low parental attachment to child/adolescent
Poor parental supervision (control, monitoring, and child management)
Poor school attitude/performance; academic failure
Poorly organized and functioning schools/inadequate school climate/negative labeling by teachers
Availability and use of drugs in the neighborhood
Neighborhood youth in trouble
Association with antisocial/aggressive/delinquent peers; high peer delinquency
Peer alcohol/drug use
Peer rejection


Striving Together to Achieve Rewarding Tomorrows (CASASTART) is a community-based, school-centered “effective” program designed to keep high-risk 8- to 13-year-old youths free of substance abuse, delinquency, and gang involvement. To be eligible for services, children must display multiple risk factors, such as gang membership itself and family members involved with gangs. The CASASTART partnership centers around three main agencies: the lead agency (that drives the collaborative process), schools, and the police. Each case manager serves 15–18 children and their families for a two-year period. There are eight program components.

Community-Enhanced Policing/Enhanced Enforcement—increases police presence and involvement in the community and working with youth.

Case Management—small caseloads (13–18 families) ensure close attention to the needs of participating youth and their families and implementation of plans to meet their needs.

Criminal/Juvenile Justice Intervention—communication between case managers and the juvenile justice and probation departments ensures enhanced supervision and planning for youth who become involved with the courts.

Family Services—parent programs, counseling services, organized activities, and family advocacy by case managers increase positive involvement of parents in the lives of their children.

After-School and Summer Activities—offer prosocial activities with peers. These types of activities include not only recreation and entertainment but also personal social development programs, particularly those aimed at self-esteem, cultural heritage, and social problems.

Education Services—strengthen individual skills by offering tutoring and homework assistance, as well as work preparation opportunities.

Mentoring—group or one-to-one relationships are fostered to promote positive behaviors.

Incentives—both monetary and nonmonetary incentives for participation in CASASTART activities.

Compared with control group youth, at follow-up, CASASTART clients were less likely to report use of any drugs and gateway drugs, involvement in drug trafficking, and self-reported violent acts.


OJJDP Blueprints Project: Promising program


Lawrence F. Murray, CSW
National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse
633 Third Avenue, 19th Floor
New York, NY 10017-6706
Phone: (212) 841-5200


Harrell, A.; Cavanagh, S.; and Sridharan, S. (1998). Impact of the Children at Risk Program: Comprehensive Final Report. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute.

Harrell, A.; Cavanagh, S.; and Sridharan, S. (1999). “Evaluation of the Children at Risk Program: Results One Year After the End of the Program.” Research in Brief. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice.

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