SNAP® (Stop Now And Plan) Model Programs

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  • Children (ages 6-12) icon
  • Teens (ages 13-18) icon
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Overview

SNAP® is an evidence-based, gender specific, manualized, multi-component cognitive behavioral program for at-risk children age 6 to 11 with serious disruptive behaviour concerns (aggression, rule-breaking, and conduct problems) and their families. SNAP focuses on teaching children (and their parents/caregivers) emotion regulation, self-control, and problem solving skills with a special emphasis on challenging cognitive distortions , replacing with realistic thinking, and helping children make better choices in the moment. The goal is to improve social competencies, reducing disruptive behaviour, risk of police contact, and discipline issues while improving effective parent management skills.

SNAP utilizes a structured curriculum, role plays, and facilitated discussions to help children learn to identify triggers and make connections between their bodies’ physiological responses (or “body cues”), thoughts, feelings, and emotional responses. This helps foster the development of effective emotion regulation skills to help them calm down and come up with an effective plan of action. To ensure success, these plans need to: a) keep the children’s problems small, b) make them feel like a winner, and c) avoid hurting anyone, anything, or themselves (Augimeri et al., 2014).

Guiding the use of the technique are the nine principles with specific indicators that have been identified to describe the approach to service delivery and guide SNAP programming. Those principles include the scientist-practitioner paradigm, being client centered, gender specific, eco-systemic, collaborative, community responsive, strength and skill based, and offering continuing services and accountable service excellence. Further, there are five core treatment theories based on a developmental approach that form the theoretical underpinnings of the SNAP model; they are Systems, Social Interactional Learning, Cognitive-Behavioral, Attachment, and Feminist Theories.

The Early Assessment Risk List (EARL-20B for boys or EARL-21G for girls), a structured clinical risk/need assessment device for use with aggressive and delinquent children, is also completed to provide a comprehensive framework for evaluating risk factors known to influence a child’s propensity to engage in future antisocial behavior. Informed by the eco-systemic assessment, the risk assessment takes into account multi-informant perspectives (child, parent, teacher, and clinician), identifies the unique treatment needs of children and their families, and assists clinicians with treatment planning in order to mitigate these risks.

The core program components of SNAP include manualized 13-week gender-specific SNAP Children’s Groups (SNAP Boys; SNAP Girls) with concurrent SNAP Parent Groups. Typically, children’s and parent’s groups is where the SNAP technique is taught and lays the foundation for additional SNAP treatment components based on risk and need (e.g., Stop Now And Plan Parenting – Family Counseling, School Support, Individual Counseling/Mentoring, Community Connections/Advocacy, and Youth Leadership). In addition, the SNAP Parent Group provides the caregivers with effective child management strategies with a special emphasis on challenging cognitive distortions or thinking errors, reducing isolation, and enhancing parent-child relationships. For girls that have completed the SNAP Girl’s group, there is also a manualized mother-daughter group called Girls Growing Up Healthy (GGUH; core component for girls) that focuses on enhancing relationship capacity, healthy relationships, and physical and sexual health. Also, there is a SNAP Youth Leadership Club – a component offered in both the boys’ and girls’ programs for youth who have completed the core components of the SNAP program but continue to be high risk. Staff provide group, individual, and family work to prepare at-risk youth for self-sufficiency, increase motivation for school involvement and success, improve their workforce career trajectories, and reduce their Involvement with the law.

Lastly, the SNAP model has undergone several stringent research and evaluation protocols targeting this population. It has been evaluated and re-evaluated using the scientist-practitioner paradigm to ensure both that there are no iatrogenic effects and that the necessary program components are delivered in the appropriate intensity to maximize treatment gains based on the child and family’s individual level of risk and need. Summary of key findings include: SNAP can improve executive functioning (thought processes) in just 13 weeks (Lewis et al, 2008; Woltering et al., 2015); “out performs treatment as usual” (Burke & Loeber, 2015); and the “monetary benefits greatly exceed monetary costs, reduces crime by 33% and saves money” (Farrington & Koegl, 2015).

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