SNAP™ Under 12 Outreach Project

Intervention; Ages 6–12


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

Risk Factors

Antisocial/delinquent beliefs
Conduct disorders (authority conflict/rebellious/stubborn/disruptive/antisocial)
Early and persistent noncompliant behavior
Early onset of aggression/violence
General delinquency involvement
High alcohol/drug use
Hyperactive (impulsive, attention problems)
Lack of guilt and empathy
Low intelligence quotient
Low perceived likelihood of being caught
Low psychosocial maturity (low temperance, responsibility, and perspective)
Mental health problems
Poor refusal skills
Victim of child maltreatment
Victimization and exposure to violence
Abusive parents
Antisocial parents
Broken home/changes in caretaker
Child maltreatment (abuse or neglect)
Family poverty/low family socioeconomic status
Family violence (child maltreatment, partner violence, conflict)
High parental stress/maternal depression
Parent proviolent attitudes
Parental use of physical punishment/harsh and/or erratic discipline practices
Poor parental supervision (control, monitoring, and child management)
Poor parent-child relations or communication
Unhappy parents
Frequent school transitions
Frequent truancy/absences/suspensions; expelled from school; dropping out of school
Identified as learning disabled
Low academic aspirations
Low achievement in school
Low school attachment/bonding/motivation/commitment to school
Old for grade/repeated a grade
Poor student-teacher relations
Poorly defined rules and expectations for appropriate conduct
Student failure in the first grade
Availability of firearms
Community disorganization
Economic deprivation/poverty/residence in a disadvantaged neighborhood
Feeling unsafe in the neighborhood
Low neighborhood attachment
Neighborhood youth in trouble
Association with antisocial/aggressive/delinquent peers; high peer delinquency
Peer rejection


The Child Development Institute’s (formerly Earlscourt Child and Family Centre) Under 12 Outreach Project (ORP) was developed as an intervention for child delinquents. In Canada, children under 12 who commit offenses fall under the authority of provincial child welfare agencies rather than the juvenile justice system. ORP serves boys ages 6–11 who have had police contact or are referred from other sources and who also are clinically assessed as engaging in above-average levels of aggressive, destructive, and/or other antisocial behavior. Under ORP leadership, 14 agencies across Toronto and the police joined together in 1998 to coordinate services for delinquent children with treatment anchored in the ORP. The program’s screening and assessment procedures involve two interviews at intake—one with the child, another with the parent—in addition to an objective risk assessment using the Early Assessment Risk List for Boys (EARL-20B), a validated, structured, clinical decision-enhancing risk assessment tool for use with aggressive and delinquent boys under age 12. ORP employs a multisystemic approach, combining interventions that target the child, the family, and the child-in-the-community. The program uses a variety of established interventions: skills training; training in cognitive problem solving, self-control strategies, and cognitive self-instruction; family management skills training; and parent training.

ORP is a 12-week outpatient program with five primary components: (1) SNAP Children’s Club—a structured group that teaches children a cognitive-behavioral self-control and problem-solving technique called SNAP (Stop Now and Plan); (2) a concurrent SNAPP Parenting Group (Stop Now and Plan Parenting) that teaches parents effective child management strategies; (3) one-on-one family counseling based on SNAPP; (4) in-home academic tutoring to assist children who are not performing at their age-appropriate grade level; and (5) individual befriending for children who are not connected with positive, structured community-based activities and require additional support. Examples of specific therapeutic SNAP topics (that match presenting problems of children) include “Stop Stealing,” “Peer Pressure,” “Dealing With Angry Feelings,” and “Avoiding Trouble.”

SNAP is the cornerstone of ORP and its parallel gender-sensitive program for girls, Earlscourt Girls Connection (EGC). ORP has been in operation and extensively researched for 20 years; the EGC began in 1996 and has also proved effective. Both programs are fully manualized and are in various stages of replication. Thirty-nine full or modified replications of the SNAP model are currently in operation in Canada, the United States, Europe, and Scandinavia.

Two of the five key ORP studies to date conducted at the program development site in Toronto employed control groups. The first of these used a randomized control trial to assess the effects of ORP on treated children and their families, compared with a wait-list control group. The experimental sample consisted of 32 children (24 boys and 8 girls) referred to ORP during the summer of 1994. The two groups did not differ on most measures of problem severity or risk level, but the experimental group was more likely to have come from higher-income and intact families. The control group received a nonclinical activity/recreation program, at the same time that the experimental group participated in ORP. Measures were selected to elicit information from parents about aggressive and delinquent behaviors of their children. In addition, official criminal records were obtained for follow-up on recidivism. Data was collected at five points over the 18-month duration of the study.

The second controlled study examined the effects of ORP on a sample of 379 boys and compared a subgroup who received the “standard” ORP program with another subgroup who received an “enhanced” version of ORP. As intended, the “enhanced” program group was significantly higher-risk than the “standard” group, but they did not differ on pre- and post-ORP delinquency measures. A general growth-mixture modeling approach was used to examine the overall ORP program effect in reducing delinquency. Data was analyzed over three time points: pre-, post-, and at 6 months follow-up. This study demonstrated that the amount of treatment received influences treatment effectiveness in terms of immediate decreases in delinquency and aggression and that enhanced services made a huge difference in the treatment effects for highly delinquent boys.

Studies of the ORP and EGC have consistently demonstrated positive treatment effects using rigorous scientific procedures and standardized measurement tools, including two evaluations of independent replications of ORP. Overall, studies of ORP and EGC show:

  • Significant improvements after treatment, with maintenance of treatment gains at 6, 12, and 18 months in terms of three standard outcome measures: internalizing (e.g., anxiety, depression), externalizing (e.g., aggression, delinquency), and social competency (e.g., peer relations, participation in activities).
  • Seventy percent of the treated high-risk children did not have a criminal record by age 18.
  • Treated children improved significantly more than children receiving an attention only or delayed treatment; effect sizes are larger for boys (exceeding 1.1) and moderate (0.38) for girls.
  • Parents experienced less stress in their interactions with their children and increased confidence in managing their children’s behavior.
  • Children reported a less positive attitude towards antisocial behaviour, associated with fewer peers whom their parents consider a “bad influence,” and demonstrated more prosocial skills after treatment with teachers, peers and family members.

The average cost of providing ORP services for a low-risk child is approximately $1,000 (4-month program), $2,300 for a moderate-risk child (6-month program), and $4,300 for a high-risk child (12-month program).


National Gang Center and OJJDP Model Programs Guide: Effective program


Leena K. Augimeri, Ph.D.
Child Development Institute
46 St. Clair Gardens
Toronto, ON M6E 3V4
Phone: (416) 603-1827, Ext. 3112
Fax: (416) 654-8996


Augimeri, L. K.; Koegl, C. J.; Levene, K.; and Slater, N. (2006). A Comprehensive Strategy: Children Under 12 in Conflict With the Law, “The Forgotten Group.” Toronto, CA: Center for Children Committing Offenses, Child Development Institute.

Pepler, D.; Levene, K.; and Walsh, M. (2004). “Interventions for Aggressive Girls: Tailoring and Measuring the Fit.” In M. M. Moretti and C. L. Odgers (eds.), Girls and Aggression: Contributing Factors and Intervention Principles, Vol. 19. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum, pp. 41–56.

Walsh, M. M.; Pepler, D. J.; and Levene, K. S. (2002). “A Model Intervention for Girls With Disruptive Behavior Problems: The Earlscourt Girls Connection.” Canadian Journal of Counseling, 36(4):297–311.

Augimeri, L. K.; Koegl, C. J.; and Goldberg, K. (2001). “Children Under Age 12 Years Who Commit Offenses: Canadian Legal and Treatment Approaches.” In R. Loeber and D. P. Farrington (eds.), Child Delinquents: Development, Interventions, and Service Needs. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, pp. 405–414.

Webster, C. D.; Augimeri, L. K.; and Koegl, C. J. (2002). “The Under 12 Outreach Project for Antisocial Boys: A Research-Based Clinical Program.” In R. R. Corrado et al. (eds.), Multi-Problem Violent Youth. Amsterdam, Holland: IOS Press, pp. 207–218.

Hrynkiw-Augimeri, L.; Pepler, D.; and Goldberg, K. (1993). “An Outreach Program for Children Having Police Contact.” Canada's Mental Health, 41(2):7–12.

Day, D. M., and Hrynkiw-Augimeri, L. (1993). Serving Children at Risk for Juvenile Delinquency: An Evaluation of the Earlscourt Under 12 Outreach Project (ORP). Toronto, Ontario: Earlscourt Child and Family Centre.

Augimeri, L. K.; Farrington, D. P.; Koegl, C. J.; and Day, D. M. (2006). The Under 12 Outreach Project: Effects of a Community-Based Program for Children With Conduct Problems. Toronto, Ontario: Centre for Children Committing Offences, Child Development Institute.

Augimeri, L. K.; Jiang, D.; Koegl, C. J.; and Carey, J. (2006). Differential Effects of the Under 12 Outreach Project (ORP) Associated With Client Risk and Treatment Integrity. Toronto, Ontario: Centre for Children Committing Offences, Child Development Institute.

Lipman, E.; Kenny, M.; and Sniderman, C. (2006). Banyan Community Services Under 12 Outreach Program. Hamilton, Ontario: Offord Centre for Child Services.

Day, D. M. (2003). Addressing Antisocial Behavior in Children: An Evaluation of the Durham Under Twelve Pilot Project. Oshawa, Ontario: Kinark Child and Family Services.

Available from the Child Development Institute

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