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Rural Health Information Hub

Rural Project Examples: Children and youth

Evidence-Based Examples

Helping Kids PROSPER

Updated/reviewed January 2023

  • Need: An approach to support sustained, quality delivery of evidence-based programs for youth and families in rural communities.
  • Intervention: PROSPER, a program delivery system, guides communities in implementing evidence-based programs that build youth competencies, improve family functioning, and prevent risky behaviors, particularly substance use.
  • Results: Youth in PROSPER communities reported delayed initiation of a variety of substances, lower levels of other behavioral problems, and improvements in family functioning and other life skills.

keepin' it REAL Rural

Updated/reviewed March 2022

  • Need: A drug and alcohol prevention program for middle school students that is specific to rural culture.
  • Intervention: An adaptation of the evidence-based keepin' it REAL curriculum was customized for rural middle school students.
  • Results: Students showed a reduction in all substance use and less personal acceptability of substance use.

Effective Examples

I Got You: Healthy Life Choices for Teens (IGU)

funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

Updated/reviewed January 2024

  • Need: To improve awareness of behavioral and mental health issues by students in rural, east central Mississippi.
  • Intervention: An intensive community mental health outreach program was implemented for students in rural Mississippi.
  • Results: As of 2018 and on a yearly basis, 6,000 7th and 8th grade students receive mental health education on a variety of topics which improves their ability to recognize mental health issues, high risk behaviors, and manage their own choices.

Strong African American Families-Teen Program

Updated/reviewed May 2023

  • Need: There is a lack of interventions that addresses teenager behavioral problems, particularly for rural African American adolescents.
  • Intervention: Rural, locally trained leaders administered five 2-hour meetings for teenagers and their primary caregivers. Trainings focused on reducing risks that prevent positive development, specifically sexual risk-taking that can lead to HIV and other STIs.
  • Results: Teens reported reduced conduct problems, depressive symptoms, and substance abuse. Families were strengthened, and SAAF-T reduced unprotected intercourse and increased condom efficacy.

Parent Partners

Updated/reviewed March 2023

  • Need: To support parents whose children have been removed from the home so that the parents can make the changes needed for the children to return safely home.
  • Intervention: A statewide program in Iowa pairs these parents with mentors who have successfully navigated their own child welfare cases.
  • Results: Participants' children were more likely to return home than non-participants' children and participants were less likely to have another child removal within a year of the child coming home.

Perinatal Health Partnership Southeast Georgia

funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

Updated/reviewed February 2023

  • Need: In 12 rural southeast Georgia counties, high-risk pregnant individuals potentially face adverse birth outcomes, including maternal or infant mortality, low birthweight, very low birthweight, or other medical or developmental problems.
  • Intervention: An in-home nursing case management program for high-risk pregnant individuals in order to maximize pregnancy outcomes for mothers and their newborns.
  • Results: Mothers carry their babies longer and the babies are larger when born, leading to improved health outcomes.

Promising Examples

Communities that Care Coalition

Updated/reviewed April 2023

  • Need: To improve the health, well-being, and equity of young people in the rural area of Massachusetts's Franklin County and North Quabbin, and to reduce youth drug and alcohol use.
  • Intervention: A community-based prevention coalition was formed to improve youth health, well-being, and equity and reduce youth drug and alcohol use use. The coalition brings together stakeholders from across the community and uses the Communities That Care evidence-based community planning system.
  • Results: CTC has seen significant reductions in substance abuse among local youth in the 30 rural towns they serve.

Healthy Connections, Inc. Healthy Families Arkansas

funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

Updated/reviewed December 2022

  • Need: High poverty rates and lack of access to healthcare make caring for unborn and newborn children difficult for young mothers in Arkansas's Polk and Garland Counties.
  • Intervention: An Arkansas-based program provides a national healthcare service to expectant and young mothers. Prenatal check-ups, education, transportation, well-baby checks and child immunizations are all provided by the Healthy Connections, Inc.
  • Results: The program's results demonstrate an increase in first trimester prenatal care rates and child immunization rates, as well as a dramatic decrease in confirmed cases of child abuse.

Healthy Early Learning Project (HELP)

funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

Updated/reviewed August 2022

  • Need: An ongoing health need to alleviate early childhood obesity in the rural Kansas counties of Marshall and Nemaha.
  • Intervention: 5 distinct physical and nutritional programs were introduced to 9 preschool sites through the overarching Healthy Early Learning Project (HELP).
  • Results: HELP comprehensively increased children's physical activity and healthy food consumption and established a sustainable presence at each preschool site.

Schools That Care

funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

Updated/reviewed August 2022

  • Need: To provide mental health services to rural Kansas students and their families.
  • Intervention: The Schools That Care project provides mental health treatment and case management as well as community education events.
  • Results: From 2018 to 2021, 3,456 individuals participated in health education and counseling activities offered to the public, and 964 individuals and 303 families received direct services through the Family Advocate.