About Communities that Care ® (CTC)


Developed by Dr. David Hawkins and Dr. Richard Catalano of the Social Development Research Group in Seattle, Washington and facilitated by the U.S. Department of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the CTC system is a way for members of a community to work together to efficiently and effectively promote positive youth development and prevent youth problem behaviors such as substance abuse, delinquency, teen pregnancy, school drop-out and violence.

The CTC system is based on successful public health models of community action. It has been designed to guide communities through the five most critical and challenging steps in this process, from community mobilization through outcomes evaluation. 

These five steps (or phases) are:

1. Getting started — assessment & identification of key individuals & organizations to lead effort;
2. Organizing, introducing, involving;
3. Developing a community profile;
4. Creating a community action plan; and
5. Implementing & evaluating the community action plan.

The system is inclusive (involves all parts of the community), proactive (targets predictors of problems rather than waiting until the problems occur), and identifies and addresses priority predictors specific to a community to promote positive development before young people become involved in problem behaviors. It is grounded in rigorous research from a variety of fields, and customized to each individual community. It takes a systematic approach to:

  • Community building;
  • Promoting positive youth development & preventing problem behavior; and,
  • Helping communities collect the right data, prioritize predictors, match prioritized predictors to tested effective programs/policies/practices, as well as implement and evaluate a community action plan.

If you would like to learn even more about the Communities That Care® prevention-planning system, please visit the SAMHSA website.