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Disseminating Effective Community Prevention Practices: Opportunities for Social Work Education.

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In the United States about 17% of adolescents meet diagnostic criteria for mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders. Six million young people receive treatment services annually for mental, emotional, or behavioral problems. These problems affect 1 in 5 families and cost $247 million annually (O'Connell, Boat, & Warner, 2009). Some strategies for preventing mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders in young people have been developed, tested, and found to be effective in preventing the onset, persistence, and severity of psychological disorders, drug abuse, and delinquency. Unfortunately, tested and effective prevention policies, programs, and practices are not widely used (O'Connell, Boat, & Warner, 2009). This paper highlights recent advances in prevention science and describes some opportunities and challenges in advancing the use of science-based prevention in communities. The chapter concludes by exploring the potential role of social work education in developing a workforce ready to increase community access to effective prevention strategies.

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