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Reconnecting Youth (RY) /
Coping and Support Training (CAST)

Reconnecting Youth Reconnecting Youth (RY) and Coping and Support Training (CAST) are Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) research validated curriculums. They have been recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as "model" programs. RY and CAST provide staff development and supportive services for students, teachers, and communities.

Recognizing that the goal of being "problem-free" is unattainable, CHOICES Prevention Programs focus on developing and strengthening the skills necessary to deal with life problems in a safe and healthy way.

RY and CAST Program Goals
  • Improved School Smarts
  • Decreased Drug Use / Maintain Non-Drug Use
  • Improved Moods


Reconnecting Youth (RY)

RY Program Structure
  1. The RY Curriculum
    There are 75 lessons in the RY curriculum that target youth in grades 7-12. RY is typically offered as a semester-long, for-credit class by a teacher/facilitator who works well with youth at risk and who is trained to implement the RY program. The RY curriculum focuses on four personal development skills:
    • Self-esteem Enhancement
    • Decision Making
    • Personal Control
    • Interpersonal Communication

  2. Social and School Bonding Activities
    An important component of RY and CAST Programs is increasing student involvement in healthy social activities and engaging them in activities that increase bonding to their school. The curriculum describes a variety of ways this can be done.

  3. School Crisis Response Plan
    A School Crisis Response Plan is the third component of the RY Program. Such a plan is necessary because many high-risk youth experience depression and suicide-risk behaviors. The RY School Crisis Response Plan prepares school staff members to identify and respond to students who are suicidal and to respond, if necessary, with post-suicide intervention strategies.
RY Students
An RY class is made up of 10-12 students who are INVITED to participate and who meet the following criteria:
  • behind in credits for their grade level, and
  • in the top 25th percentile for absences, and
  • a GPA of less than 2.3 or a precipitous drop in grades, OR
  • a prior dropout status, or
  • are referred by school personnel.
RY is an evidenced-based program
When tested with potential high school dropouts, RY had significant effects:
  • 35% reduction in dropout rates
  • 50% reduction in hard drug use
  • 75% reduction in depression/hopelessness
  • 80% reduction in suicidal behaviors
  • 18% increase in GPA for all classes (excluding RY)
  • 7.5% increase in credits earned per semester


Coping and Support Training (CAST)

Coping and Support Training (CAST) consists of 12 55-minute sessions facilitated by an adult who works well with at-risk youth and who is trained to implement the CAST program. The 12 CAST sessions are usually offered twice per week in a (middle or high) school setting as a pull-out program, or outside of the school setting by youth-oriented agencies, mental health professionals, and community centers.

CAST Participants
The CAST group is comprised of 6-8 students who are INVITED to participate. CAST can be offered to an entire population (as "universal" prevention), to a high-risk group ("selective" prevention), or to specific at-risk students ("indicated" prevention).

The CAST Curriculum
  1. Welcome and Orientation
  2. Group Support and Self-Esteem
  3. Setting and Monitoring Goals
  4. Building Self-Esteem, Beating the Blues
  5. Decision Making - Taking STEPS
  6. Anger Management #1
  7. Anger Management #2
  8. Drug Use Control - Making Healthy Decisions
  9. School Smarts
  10. Preventing Slips and Relapses
  11. Recognizing Progress and Staying on Track
  12. Celebrating Graduation
CAST is an evidence-based program
In NIH-funded studies, relative to controls, CAST youth evidenced significant and sustained changes:
  • 62% reduction in hard drug use
  • 44% reduction in depression
  • 65% reduction in suicide risk behaviors
  • 34% reduction (for females) and 27% reduction (for males) in anxiety
  • 16% reduction in alcohol use
  • 24% increase in problem-solving coping
  • 24% increase in personal control
  • 27% increase in family support



View our Reconnecting Youth brochure. (647kb pdf)


Reconnecting Youth Documentary

View the video about the Reconnecting Youth Program. See what teachers and parents have to say about the positive changes students have shown.
.wmv format (19 MB Windows Media Viewer)
.mov format (19 MB QuickTime)


RY Student-created PSAs View the Public Service Announcements created by Reconnecting Youth students.

Additional RY and CAST information and resources are available at www.reconnectingyouth.com.

For more information about the RY and CAST programs in Tulare County, contact Al Rodriguez at alr@tcoe.org or phone (559) 651-0155.

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Tulare County Office of Education
CHOICES Prevention Programs
7000 Doe Avenue, Building 300, Visalia, CA 93291

Adam Valencia, Extended Learning Program Director
(559) 651-0155 • fax: (559) 651-0172



Jim Vidak, County Superintendent of Schools
Tulare County Office of Education
All mail to: P.O. Box 5091, Visalia, CA 93278-5091
Physical address: 6200 S. Mooney Blvd., Visalia, CA 93277
phone: (559) 733-6300 • fax: (559) 737-4378

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