A few miles south of the University of Washington is one of the most diverse communities in the country—Southeast and Central Seattle, where 59 languages are spoken, many families have low household incomes, and young people face numerous obstacles to achieving success in and out of school. During a five-year period, the School of Social Work sponsored an initiative to promote healthy behaviors and prevent the most persistent social problems among young people. 

Many social services are available in this area, but community members wanted to see more coordination among them and a greater focus on evidence-based practices. They found a willing partner in the UW School of Social Work, which pioneered a preventive strategy, called Communities That Care, which has achieved striking results around the country: on average, a 25 percent reduction in crime, 32 percent reduction in alcohol use, and 33 percent reduction in tobacco use among youth. 

Path to Prevention Graphic