Wyman's Teen Outreach Program® (WTOP®)

Scientific Rating:
3
Promising Research Evidence
See scale of 1-5
Child Welfare System Relevance Level:
Medium
See descriptions of 3 levels

About This Program

The information in this program outline is provided by the program representative and edited by the CEBC staff. Wyman's Teen Outreach Program® (WTOP®) has been rated by the CEBC in the area of: Teen Pregnancy Services.

Target Population: Male and female adolescents in grades 6-12 who may come from disadvantaged circumstances

For children/adolescents ages: 11 – 19

Brief Description

The Wyman's Teen Outreach Program® (TOP®) promotes the positive development of adolescents through curriculum-guided, interactive group discussions; positive adult guidance and support; and community service learning. TOP® is focused on key topics related to adolescent health and development, including building social, emotional, and life skills; developing a positive sense of self; and connecting with others. Specific curriculum lesson topics include health and wellness (including sexuality), emotion management, and self-understanding among many others. In addition, the development of supportive relationships with adult facilitators is a crucial part of the model, as are relationships with other peers in the program.TOP® has been adapted to fit the needs of special populations, including youth in foster care, justice involved youth, and LGBTQ youth. Any adaptations need Wyman's prior approval which can be requested through the program representative whose contact information is located at the end of this entry. Please note, the adapted versions have not been reviewed or rated by the CEBC.

Program Goals:

The goals of the Wyman'sTeen Outreach Program® (TOP®) are:

  • Improve social, emotional, and life skills
  • Support development of a positive sense of self
  • Strengthen connections to others
  • Improve academic outcomes and decrease risky behavior

Essential Components

The essential components of the Wyman's Teen Outreach Program® (TOP®) include:

  • TOP® Trained Adults: TOP® is delivered by a trained adult facilitator to a group of teens referred to as a “TOP Club.”
  • Weekly Peer Group Meetings: TOP Clubs meet for at least 25 weekly meetings across a program cycle, with a teen to facilitator ratio no greater than 25:1.
  • TOP® Curriculum: Facilitators provide at least 12 lessons from the TOP® curriculum with content tailored to teens’ needs and interests
    • Specific curriculum topics include:
      • Emotion management
      • Problem-solving
      • Decision-making
      • Goal-setting
      • Health and wellness (including sexuality)
      • Self-understanding
      • Social identity
      • Empathy
      • Communication
      • Relationships
      • Community
  • Community Service Learning: TOP® teens complete at least 20 hours of meaningful community service learning, which includes planning, action, and reflection.
  • Quality Assurance Plan to guide the monitoring of fidelity and quality

Child/Adolescent Services

Wyman's Teen Outreach Program® (WTOP®) directly provides services to children/adolescents and addresses the following:

  • Potentially risky behaviors including sexual behaviors; poor academics; poor relationships with adults and peers; poor social emotional and life skills

Delivery Settings

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Community Agency
  • Residential Care Facility
  • School

Homework

This program does not include a homework component.

Languages

Wyman's Teen Outreach Program® (WTOP®) has materials available in a language other than English:

Spanish

For information on which materials are available in this language, please check on the program's website or contact the program representative (contact information is listed at the bottom of this page).

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

Program materials including the Coordinator Work Plan, Sample TOP Calendar for Coordinators, and the Life Cycle of TOP for Coordinators; a meeting room for holding Club Meetings; Internet access both for utilizing online resources including Wyman Connect (online data management system) and to enhance student exploration of community service learning options, etc.; access to transportation for facilitators to aid in completion of community service learning opportunities

Minimum Provider Qualifications

There is no minimum educational level required before attending TOP® facilitator training. Adults who facilitate TOP® must be trained through completion of the 2½-day TOP® Training of Facilitators. The TOP Coordinator (person assuming responsibility for overall TOP® implementation) completes a 5-day TOP® Training of Trainers.

Education and Training Resources

There is a manual that describes how to implement this program, and there is training available for this program.

Training Contact:
Training is obtained:

Once an organization applies to become a Replication Partner, the organization identifies its coordinator (the person assuming responsibility for overall implementation of TOP®), who completes a 5-day TOP® Training of Trainers module. This equips the coordinator to train others in their organization or network to implement TOP®, and ensures their full understanding of the fidelity standards and process. The coordinator then trains TOP® facilitators (those who will directly implement the program with teens) through a 2½-day TOP® Training of Facilitators. Trainings of Trainers are held at Wyman headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri, on a quarterly basis. A Training of Trainers may also be conducted at a Replication Partner site with sufficient enrollment.

Number of days/hours:

2 ½ days for a total of 20 hours for Training of Facilitators; 5 days for a total of 40 hours for Training of Trainers

Implementation Information

Since Wyman's Teen Outreach Program® (WTOP®) is rated on the Scientific Rating Scale, information was requested from the program representative on available pre-implementation assessments, implementation tools, and/or fidelity measures.

Show implementation information...

Pre-Implementation Materials

There are pre-implementation materials to measure organizational or provider readiness for Wyman's Teen Outreach Program® (WTOP®) as listed below:

Wyman staff work directly with prospective Replication Partners to assess their readiness to implement TOP® through a screening process. Wyman also offers a tool, TOP Implementation Guidance and Readiness Self-Assessment, to assist potential partners with understanding the expectations and best practices for quality replication of TOP®, as well as to assess their readiness for replication.

Formal Support for Implementation

There is formal support available for implementation of Wyman's Teen Outreach Program® (WTOP®) as listed below:

TOP® is replicated through a Replication Partner process, which is designed to help partners provide TOP® at a large scale within their communities. Through this process, Wyman maintains an on-going training, technical assistance, and network support relationship with partners. TOP® Replication Partners are assigned a dedicated Partner Services Representative from Wyman to provide technical assistance, supplemental trainings, and additional resources that are needed to help support the partner in their replication of TOP®. A Partner Services Representative also conducts site visits to each Replication Partner in their first year of implementation and regularly thereafter.

Fidelity Measures

There are fidelity measures for Wyman's Teen Outreach Program® (WTOP®) as listed below:

Fidelity data is tracked by those who are implementing TOP® with youth. Implementation data are entered online into Wyman’s database (e.g., youth attendance, community service learning hours, curriculum lessons delivered, teen/facilitator ratio, etc.). Wyman Connect provides a live dashboard and reports to enable partners' monitoring and quality improvement activities.

Implementation Guides or Manuals

There are implementation guides or manuals for Wyman's Teen Outreach Program® (WTOP®) as listed below:

  • Training of Facilitators Participant Guide
  • Training of Trainers Training Guide
  • Coordinator Work Plan
  • Sample TOP® Calendar for Coordinators
  • Life Cycle of TOP® for Coordinators<
  • Please contact Wyman for assistance with obtaining these materials. See below for specific contact information.

Research on How to Implement the Program

Research has not been conducted on how to implement Wyman's Teen Outreach Program® (WTOP®).

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

This program is rated a "3 - Promising Research Evidence" on the Scientific Rating Scale based on the published, peer-reviewed research available. The practice must have at least one study utilizing some form of control (e.g., untreated group, placebo group, matched wait list study) establishing the practice's benefit over the placebo, or found it to be comparable to or better than an appropriate comparison practice. Please see the Scientific Rating Scale for more information.

Child Welfare Outcome: Child/Family Well-Being

Show relevant research...

Allen, J. P., Philliber, S., Herrling, S., & Kuperminc, G. P. (1997). Preventing teen pregnancy and academic failure: Experimental evaluation of a developmentally based approach. Child Development, 64(4), 729-742. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.1997.tb04233.x

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 695

Population:

  • Age — Mean=15.8 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — 67% Black, 18% White, 11% Hispanic, and 4% Other
  • Gender — 85% Female and 15% Male
  • Status — Participants were high school students in 9-12th grade.

Location/Institution: Not Specified

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study evaluated the effectiveness of the Teen Outreach Program (TOP) to addresses teenage pregnancy and school failure. Participants were randomized to either TOP or a control group. Measures included the self-reported questionnaires that reported demographic age, grade level, race, predominate household composition, parents education, and problem behaviors. Results indicate that rates of pregnancy, course failure and academic suspension at exit were substantially lower in the TOP group, even after accounting for student socioeconomic characteristics and entry differences between groups. Limitations include the high rate of attrition in control group, reliance on self-reported measures, unknown generalization to other unexamined TOP sites, and lack of follow-up.

Length of postintervention follow-up: None.

Allen, J. P., & Philliber, S. (2001). Who benefits most from a broadly targeted prevention program? Differential efficacy across populations in the Teen Outreach Program. Journal of Community Psychology, 29(6), 637-655. doi:10.1002/jcop.1040

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial (secondary data analysis)
Number of Participants: 3,277

Population:

  • Age — Mean=15.8 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — 45% Black, 37% White, 13% Hispanic, and 5% Other
  • Gender — 73% Male and 27% Female
  • Status — Participants were high school students in 9-12th grade.

Location/Institution: Not specified

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study thus utilized data collected over a 4-year period across over 60 Teen Outreach Program (TOP) sites nationwide to examine: 1) whether this broad-based competence-enhancing intervention may be most efficacious when serving higher risk adolescents, assessed in terms of both familial risk factors and behavioral risk factors; and 2) whether the program appears equally effective across different sociodemographic groups of young people. Participants were randomized to either TOP or a control group. Measures included the self-reported questionnaires that reported demographic age, grade level, race, predominate household composition, parents education, and problem behaviors. Results indicate that TOP appeared most effective as a prevention program with youths who were most at-risk of the specific type of problem behaviors being assessed. The program had the greatest impact in reducing future pregnancies among the group at highest risk of such pregnancies. The likelihood of an additional pregnancy was less than one-fifth as large in the TOP group as in the comparison group, even after accounting for other background factors that may have also affected pregnancy rates. For academic failure, TOP demonstrated greater efficacy for youths who had been previously suspended than for those who had not. The program was also found to be more effective for members of racial ethnic minority groups, who were also at greater risk for academic difficulty in this study. Limitations include the high rate of attrition in control group, reliance on self-reported measures, unknown generalization to other unexamined TOP sites, and lack of follow-up.

Length of postintervention follow-up: None.

Walsh-Buhi, E. R., Marhekfa, S. L., Wang, W., Debate, R., Perrin, K., Singleton, A.,...Daley, E. M. (2016). The impact of the Teen Outreach Program on sexual intentions and behaviors. Journal of Adolescent Health, 59(3), 283-290. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2016.05.007

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial (secondary data analysis)
Number of Participants: 7,976

Population:

  • Age — Mean=14.56 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — 60% White, 20% Hispanic, 11% Black, and 9% Other
  • Gender — 50% Male and 50% Female
  • Status — Participants were high school students in 9-12th grade.

Location/Institution: Florida

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study evaluated the effectiveness of the Teen Outreach Program (TOP) using baseline and follow-up survey data in decreasing pregnancy, risky sexual behavior, and sexual behavior intentions among youth living in nonmetropolitan Florida counties. Between 2012 and 2014, TOP was compared to standard school curriculum content using a cluster randomized controlled trial design with youth in two cohorts. Participants were randomized to either TOP or a control group. Measures included the self-reported questionnaires that reported demographic age, grade level, race, predominate household composition, parents education, and problem behaviors. Results indicate that in the cohort 1 sample, compared to the control condition, males and females receiving TOP showed lower odds of engaging in recent sex compared to control males and females. Cohort 1 treatment females who did engage in recent sex were less likely to have risky sex. There were fewer significant findings in cohort 2, though TOP females and combined gender had lower odds of risky sex intentions. Overall, cohort 1 females in the TOP condition were the group most likely to benefit from TOP. Limitations include reliance on self-reported measures, generalizability to other states is uncertain, and lack of follow-up.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 1 to 2 years.

Moore McBride, A., Chung, S., & Robertson, A. (2016). Preventing academic disengagement through a middle school–based social and emotional learning program. Journal of Experiential Education, 39(4), 370-385. doi:10.1177/1053825916668901

Type of Study: Pretest/Posttest with comparison group
Number of Participants: 218

Population:

  • Age — Not specified
  • Race/Ethnicity — 177 African American, 10 White, 1 Hispanic/Latino, 9 Multiethnic, 2 Native American/Alaskan Native, and 8 Other
  • Gender — 127 Females and 91 Males
  • Status — Participants were middle school students in 7th-8th grade.

Location/Institution: Two public, Midwestern middle schools

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study examined the effectiveness of the Teen Outreach Program (TOP) to reduce school disciplinary incidents and increase academic engagement for middle school students. Measures utilized include the Psychological Sense of School Membership Scale, the Engagement versus Disaffection With Learning (EvsD) Measure, the Patterns of Adaptive Learning Scale (PALS), and a 12-item scale on civic duty. Results from this study suggest that adolescents who participated in the yearlong intervention experienced statistically significant reductions in failing grades and skipping classes compared with the comparison group, even while controlling for a variety of demographic factors. Although adolescents from the comparison group did not differ significantly in initial rates of failing grades and skipping classes without permission, there were significant reductions in these negative school behaviors for adolescents from the intervention group by posttest. Limitations include nonrandomization of participants, the comparison school lost its accreditation shortly after the first intervention year. Therefore, underlying issues within the school may have affected students in ways that are unaccounted for in the design of this study, generalizability to other states is uncertain, and lack of follow-up.

Length of postintervention follow-up: None.

References

Chung, S. & McBride, A. M. (2015). Social and emotional learning in middle school curricula: A service learning model based on positive youth development. Children and Youth Services Review, 53, 192-200.

McBride, A. M., Robertson, A., & Chung, S. (2014). Assessing the impacts of service learning on middle school students: Wyman's Teen Outreach Program: 2012-2013 academic year report (CSD Research Report 14-09). St. Louis, MO: Washington University.

Contact Information

Name: Christina Donald
Title: Senior Director of Partner Services
Agency/Affiliation: Wyman
Website: www.wymancenter.org
Email: Christina. Donald@wymancenter.org
Phone: (314) 717-2071

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: August 2017

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: August 2017

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: August 2017