mental School Health Program reported that the team approach cost $55 per student (Eimhovich and Herrington, 1993).

Student Assistance Programs

Student assistance programs (SAPs) are another genre of school-based programs that tend to be categorical in that they are aimed at specific behaviors, but they also provide services that are more comprehensive than the categorical classroom-based prevention programs. One example is the Student Assistance Model developed and implemented in Westchester County (New York) almost a decade ago. This program brings full-time professional counselors (social workers) into schools to provide alcohol and drug abuse intervention and prevention services targeted at students and their families. This program, one of five selected by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism as a model, has four basic components (National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 1984):

  1. group counseling sessions (eight to 20 sessions) for students with alcoholic parents, focusing on increased self-efficacy and improved academic, behavioral, social, and emotional functioning;

  2. individual, family, or group counseling services for students who are using alcohol or drugs disfunctionally; (referral to community treatment program if available);

  3. counseling services for students who exhibit poor school performance (and are therefore at high risk for alcohol or drug abuse); and

  4. collaboration with parent and community groups to develop ways of dealing with substance abuse problems.

Although based in schools, the counselors are all employed and supervised by, and receive intensive training from, an outside corporation, such as a county mental health department, and therefore do not operate under the same constraints as school guidance counselors (e.g., they can maintain confidentiality, and they have more time for individual attention). However, schools and their principals must be heavily committed to the program and provide space, equipment, open communication with the staff, and other supportive policies. An important aspect of this program is training teachers, parents, and other gatekeepers to be sensitive to student problems and to refer the students appropriately to counselors. Mandatory referral is required if students are found under the influence of alcohol or drugs on school grounds.

Teen Choice is another targeted program operated by outside professionals in public schools, this one focused on pregnancy prevention. It is



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement