Program Goals/Target Population
The SNAP® (Stop Now And Plan) Under 12 Outreach Project (SNAP® ORP) is a specialized, family-focused intervention for boys under age 12 who display aggressive and antisocial behavior problems. The primary goal of the program is to keep at-risk boys in school and out of trouble.
The SNAP® model provides a framework for teaching children and adults self-control and problem-solving and is grounded on the following principles: Scientist–Practitioner Model, Client-Centered Assessment, Gender Sensitive, Skill Acquisition and Generalization, Strength Focused, Continued Care, Collaborations and Partnerships, Community Based, Fidelity, and Accountability. The SNAP® model framework has been incorporated into various SNAP® programs based on needs and risks of different populations of children, youth, families, and communities such as SNAP® ORP, SNAP® Girls Connection, and SNAP® for Youth in Custody.
The program was originally developed in Ontario, Canada, in response to juvenile justice reforms made in 1984, when the minimum age of criminal responsibility was raised from 7 to 12 under the Young Offenders Act (now the Youth Criminal Justice Act). In Canada, children under 12 who commit offenses are handled by the provincial child welfare agencies, rather than by the juvenile justice system. SNAP® ORP serves boys ages 6–11 who have had police contact or are referred from other sources (e.g., schools, child welfare, parents) and who also are clinically assessed as engaging in above-average levels of aggressive, destructive, or other antisocial behavior. Typical referral behaviors include stealing, lying, truancy, assault, bullying, and aggression.
The conceptual framework of the program draws on several different theoretical models, including social interactional learning (parent management training), cognitive–behavioral, emotional regulation, self-control, social skills training, cognitive problem-solving, developmental, ecological, and attachment theories.
SNAP® ORP employs a multisystemic approach, combining interventions that target the child, the family, the school, and the community. The program uses a variety of established interventions that are organized around SNAP®: skills training, training in cognitive problem-solving, self-control strategies, cognitive self-instruction, family management skills training, and parent training. The program’s screening and assessment procedures involve two interviews at intake—one with the child and one with the parent/guardian. In addition, boys are evaluated with the Early Assessment Risk List for Boys (known as EARL–20B), a risk-assessment tool for use with aggressive and delinquent boys under 12. The assessment determines the unique treatment needs of boys and their families.
A menu of 10 possible components is available to children and families based on their level of risk and need. Some of the primary components of the SNAP® ORP are:
- SNAP® Boys Group, which is a structured group that teaches children the cognitive–behavioral self-control and problem-solving technique called SNAP®. The sessions are group discussion, modeling, behavioral rehearsal/role-playing, home practice exercise, in-vivo learning opportunities, and relaxation training. Using group manuals, the structured groups are facilitated by trained, designated staff. The boys groups consist of seven children placed according to developmental needs and ages. Specific topics, such as dealing with anger and avoiding trouble, are addressed. All SNAP® boys attend once a week for 1½ hours for at least one 12-week consecutive group session.
- SNAP® Parent Group, which runs concurrently with the boys group and teaches parents self-control, problem-solving skills, and effective child management strategies with a special emphasis on monitoring skills based on SNAP® principles.
- Individual Befriending/Mentoring, which provides children with individualized support from a SNAP® worker to enhance skills learned in the SNAP® Children’s Group and goal attainment. Children are also connected with volunteers to help the youths join structured recreational activities within their communities.
- Stop Now And Plan Parenting (SNAPP—Individualized Family Counseling), based on strategies learned in the SNAP® Parent Group. It helps parents who are unable to attend the parent group and families who need additional parenting support. Continuing service after the parent group ends may take the form of ongoing individual family counseling or monthly Family Support Nights.
- SNAP® School Advocacy/Teacher Support, which ensures that SNAP® children receive the best possible education. Where possible, teachers of all SNAP® children are contacted at the start of the program to introduce the program and SNAP® strategy and to offer behavior management support if needed.
- SNAP® Long Term Connections/Continued Care: Families may continue to be involved in SNAP® as long as there is a need and interest. In addition to previously listed components, this may also include activities such as: SNAP® Parent Problem Solving Groups; Leader-In-Training Club; and participation as a Peer or Parent Mentor.
Available if needed are other program components, such as victim restitution, crisis intervention, Arson Prevention Program for Children (TAPP–C), and academic tutoring.
6 to 11
Average Delinquency Scores
Augimeri and colleagues (2007) found that over time the experimental group improved significantly, according to the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) Delinquency scores. Between Time 1 and Time 2, when the experimental group received the SNAP® Under 12 Outreach Project (SNAP® ORP) intervention, children in the experimental group decreased by 4.0 points on average on the Delinquency scale, while children in the control group decreased by 0.5 points. At Time 2, the experimental group had an average Delinquency score of 4.9, while the control group had an average score of 8.4—a statistically significant difference. By Time 5, the experimental group had an average score of 3.1, compared with the control group, which had an average score of 6.5. The differences in average scores remained significant through all five time periods.
Average Aggression Scores
The average scores on the CBCL Aggression scale showed a similar pattern. Between Time 1 and Time 2, the scores of the experimental group decreased by 3.3 points, while the scores of the control group decreased by 0.4 points. At Time 2, the experimental group had an average Aggression score of 15.5, while the average score of the control group was 19.0—a statistically significant difference. By Time 5, the experimental group had an average score of 11.0, while the control group had an average score of 18.1—also statistically significant. The differences in average scores remained significant through all five time periods, except at Time 4 (12 months following Time 1).
Official Criminal Involvement
The percentage of children with at least one criminal conviction up to the 18th birthday was nearly twice as high for the control group compared with the experimental group (57 percent versus 31 percent); however, this difference was not statistically significant. There were also no significant differences between the groups in terms of the total number of convictions or the average number of convictions by offense type.
Child Behavior Checklist
Lipman and colleagues (2008) found that boys in the SNAP® ORP treatment group and comparison group significantly improved on all measures on the CBCL from baseline to the 6-month follow-up. Multivariate analyses showed significant group differences favoring the SNAP™ ORP treatment group on targeted behaviors such as rule-breaking, aggression, conduct problems, and the total problems scale on the CBCL. However, there was no significant difference between the groups on the competence scale.
Teacher’s Report Form
Treatment group boys showed no significant improvements on the Teacher’s Reporting Form (TRF) measures, except for adaptive functioning. Comparison group boys showed no significant improvements on any of the TRF measures. Multivariate analyses showed no significant group differences on TRF scales, including rule-breaking, aggressive, conduct problems, total problems, and adaptive functioning.
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