Raising Healthy Children Bedford County

Raising Healthy ChildrenOverview

A major initiative of Unified Family Services Systems, Bedford County's Collaborative Board, Raising Healthy Children was a four-year, scientifically tested, comprehensive school-based program in every county elementary school that provided:

  • Parenting workshops every year in every school district within Bedford County for parents of primary grade students (K-3) and middle-level students (ages 9-14)
  • Training and coaching for all Bedford County elementary teachers to strengthen classroom-management and instructional strategies in order to promote school commitment and raise academic performance.
  • Social skills training for all Bedford County elementary school students.

The program, funded in Bedford County through a 2006 grant from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, is the culmination of the Seattle Social Development Project, a 30-year study conducted by Dr. J. David Hawkins and Dr. Richard F. Catalano of the University of Washington in schools throughout the United States.

Read about a December 2007 visit to the program by Dr. Catalano, Kevin Haggerty and Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchack.

Read about how RHC strategies at Everett Elementary is being showcased on a United States Department of Educaiton website.


The goal of the Raising Healthy Children program in Bedford County was to promote positive youth development and academic success, and the program is based on the belief that:

  • Every teacher makes a difference in the life of a child
  • Every child can succeed
  • The family is an important partner in learning.


Recent follow-up evaluations have found that students in Raising Healthy Children schools showed significantly greater commitment to school and significantly better academic achievement than students who had not participated. For example, in follow up 15 years after implementation, students in RHC schools were:

  • More likely to have graduated high school
  • More likely to have completed 2 or more years of college
  • 21% less likely to have been referred to school authorities because of misbehavior.
  • Have stronger emotional and mental health, with significantly better regulation of emotions, compared with controls, as well as significantly fewer symptoms of social phobia and fewer thoughts about suicide.
  • Be 39 percent less likely to engage in heavy drinking, less likely to be involved in crime, sold illegal drugs or be involved in a wide variety of other crimes.

Because of its proven record for bettering children’s lives, the Raising Healthy Children program has been honored with these citations of excellence:

  • Model Program (the highest possible rating), Center for Substance Abuse Prevention
  • Effective Program, National Institute on Drug Abuse
  • Promising Program, U.S. Department of Education, Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program’s Expert Panel
  • Promising Program, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Want to learn more? Read Frequently Asked Questions about Raising Healthy Children.

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