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Community Alliance for a Safer Tomorrow (CAST) is a risk and protective factor focused approach to reducing problem behaviors in youth through community mobilization, awareness, and planning.  Risk factors are those conditions that increase the likelihood that a child will develop one or more behavior problems during their developmental years.  These risk factors increase the risk of children in our community using drugs and alcohol.  Protective factors are strengths in our community that protect children from alcohol and drug usage.  CAST identifies risk and protective factors from the information received from the Pennsylvania Youth Survey, which is administered every two years to students in grades 6, 8, 10, and 12.  Using the survey results, CAST focuses its efforts on decreasing these risk factors and increasing the protective factors that already exist.

The risk factors identified from the 2017 PAYS are:
1. PARENTAL ATTITUDES FAVORABLE TOWARDS ANTISOCIAL BEHAVIOR: 47% of UMASD students are at risk because they believe their parents would not be terribly upset if they got caught engaging in behaviors such as fighting, graffiti, or stealing.  
2. PERCEIVED RISK OF DRUG USE: 44% of our students are at risk because they don’t believe that drug use is high risk. 
3. DEPRESSIVE FACTORS: 41% of UMASD students are at risk because they feel sad or depressed often, and at times feel that they are “no good at all.”

Click here to see Risk Factors from previous years.

The protective factors identified from the 2017 PAYS are:
1. FAMILY ATTACHMENT: 64% of our students are protected because they feel close to their parents.
2. FAMILY OPPORTUNITIES FOR PROSOCIAL INVOLVEMENT: 64% of our students are protected because they believe that their families involve them meaningfully in the responsibilities and activities of the family.
63% of our students are protected because they believe their school involves them in meaningful activities and recognizes and rewards them for their contributions.

To see statistics and results from previous surveys, click here.



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This website was developed,  in part, under a grant number SP 14395-07 from the Office of National Drug Control Policy and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The views, policies, and opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of ONDCP, SAMHSA or HHS.