The Basics of Communities that Care
Communities that Care (CTC) is a risk-focused and evidence-based approach for promoting positive development amoung youth. CTC works by empowering communities to gather at the grass-roots level in order to both enhance positive youth development and reduce risk factors that are shown to increase the likelihood that youth will be involved in such problem behaviors as delinquency, substance abuse, school drop-out violence and teen pregnancy.
Through a comprehensive process that brings members of the community together to evaluate community-wide data, Priority Risk Factors are identified and strategies including evidence-based programs are implemented to reduce those risk factors.
The Social Development Strategy is the cornerstone of the CTC process and demonstrates how protective factors promote positive youth development by buffering youth from teh effects of risk factors. Protective factors include:
- healthy beliefs and clear standards communicated by families, communities and peers
- bonding which consists of strong relationships with adults who demonstrate healthy beliefs and clear standards
- individual characteristics such as a postive social orientation, intelligence and a resilient temperament
The CTC process promotes positive youth development by enhancing comprehensive strategies to build protection, improve opportunities for meaningful youth involvement in communities and reduce risk factors as they exist in a community.
CTC began in Pennsylvania through seed grants from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD). These grants allowed the prevention boards in each community to convene, hire a community mobilizer, perform the risk and resource assessment and develop a community action plan which often included the opportunity to implement evidence-based programs.
Through the work of prevention boards across the commonwealth, CTC has become integral to the communities in which they serve. With strong community buy-in and commitment to proven strategies, CTC has become a viable process for community action planning surrounding positive youth development. This process provides the tools and resources for youth, community members at-large and youth-serving agencies to successfully engage together in the businnes of helping our youth grow into good citizens.