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Coping and Support Training (CAST)

PO Box 20343
Seattle, WA 98102
Contact Information
Beth E McNamara
Director of Programs and Training

Program Specifications


Prevention, Intervention

Age/Grade Level:

Middle School, High School





Target Settings:

Rural, Urban, Suburban, Inner City, Tribal

Target Groups:

Individuals, Clusters/Groups

Other Participation Criteria:



Coping and Support Training (CAST) is a school-based prevention program that targets young people in either middle school or high school. CAST is a 12-session, small group skills training intervention designed to enhance personal competencies and social support resources. CAST may be implemented as a "selective" or an "indicated" prevention program, targeting groups or individuals at higher risk for school dropout (and/or suicide). The CAST program goals are to decrease suicide risk and emotional distress, drug involvement, and school problems. When implemented with fidelity, the program is likely to be effective for 1) increasing school satisfaction and attendance, and decreasing potential for dropout; as well as 2) decreases in multiple, co-occurring problems common among high-risk youth, including depression and suicide-risk behaviors, drug involvement, and anger control problems; while 3) enhancing protective factors, such as personal control, problem-solving coping, and family support.

Program Descriptors Include:

Academic Improvement, Attendance/Truancy, Behavior Management/Discipline, Bullying/Violence, Community Collaboration, Counseling/Advisors/Coaches, Credit Recovery, Extended-School/Summer Program, Extra Curricular, Family/Parental Involvement, GED, Homeless, Mentoring/Tutoring, Study Skills, Substance Abuse, Alternative Education, Life Skills Training

Program Rating:

Strong Evidence

Starting Year:


Students Served Per Year:


Last Verified:

December 2nd, 2010

Strategies for Locating Students:


Reenrolled Students with Disabilities:


Risk Factors

Program addresses the following:

Individual Factors

  • High number of work hours
  • High-risk peer group
  • High-risk social behavior
  • Highly socially active outside of school
  • Low achievement
  • Retention/overage for grade
  • Poor attendance
  • Low educational expectations
  • Lack of effort
  • Low commitment to school
  • No extracurricular participation
  • Misbehavior
  • Early aggression

Family Factors

  • Low educational expectations
  • Low contact with school
  • Lack of conversations about school

School Factors

  • Limited resources: expenditures per student/ teacher salaries/ student-teacher ratios
  • Race/ethnicity
  • School policies and practices
  • Student engagement
  • Teacher expectations

Community Factors

  • Youth social attitudes

Protective Factors

Program promotes the following:


  • Presence and involvement of caring, supportive adults
  • Opportunities and rewards for pro-social involvement
  • Clear social norms
  • Good relationships with parents, peers, and teachers
  • Involvement with positive peer activities
  • Perception of support from adults and peers


  • Healthy/conventional beliefs and standards
  • Positive/resilient temperament


  • Social competencies
  • Self efficacy


  • Problem-solving skills
  • Flexibility


  • High expectations by community, family, school, and self
  • Optimistic

Program Resources

Annual Cost:

The annual cost range of the program is less than $25,000 or less than $500 per student.

Funding Sources Include:

Federal, State, Local/City/County, District, Foundations, Faith Based, Organizations/Agencies

Program Staff Includes:

Teachers, Counselors, Social Workers, Parents, School Administrators

Materials Used:

Instructional Texts/Manuals

Supporting/Partner Organizations:

Evaluation Information

Description of Program Impact:
Research findings illustrate the efficacy of CAST. When implemented with fidelity (i.e., delivered as designed), the program is likely to be effective for multiple, co-occurring problems common among high-risk youth. When compared to a school-as-usual comparison group, CAST students showed significantly: greater decreases in missed classes, school dissatisfaction and likelihood of dropping out; greater sustained declines in depression; lower levels of suicide-risk behaviors; declines in anger control problems; reduced hard drug use and alcohol use; fewer drug use control problems; and greater increases in enhancing protective factors: personal control, problem-solving coping, and family support. To implement the CAST program with fidelity and replicate these results, developer-sponsored training is highly recommended.

How Evaluation Data Was Collected:
Data collected and analyzed at school/district level
Data collected and analyzed at state or organizational level
Outside experimental studies

Additional Evaluation Information:
Relevant URL: