The Ally Intervention Program
Age group: Late childhood (7-11)
Gender: Mixed (male and female)
Population served: No specific targeted population
Continuum of intervention: Secondary crime prevention
The Ally Intervention Program is a multimodal intervention program intended for youth who exhibit behavioural problems at school and at home and are considered to be at risk of school and social maladjustment. It is designed to enrich their repertoire of social and interpersonal problem solving skills.
To achieve long term benefits, this type of program requires the direct involvement of the people who have the most impact on the lives of youth. The program therefore proposes a combination of interventions among three main socialization agents: family, school, and peers. The Ally Intervention Program makes it possible to intervene in a consistent way that is better suited to life circumstances, and foster a sense of security in youth while creating a new form of solidarity between parents and the school.
The main goals of the Ally Intervention Program are to:
- Prevent the appearance and the aggravation of behavioural problems in school-age children;
- Enhance the potential for youth with behavioural problems to help them better adapt at school (by focusing on the development of cognitive, social, and behavioural skills); and
- Enhance the parents’ potential to help their children better adapt at home (by strengthening parenting skills) and build friendships with peers (by thwarting the affiliation with deviant peers).
The Ally Intervention Program is intended for elementary school students aged 8 to 12 years old who exhibit behavioural problems at school and at home and are considered to be at risk of school and social maladjustment.
Participants are selected for participation in the program based on indicators such as aggressiveness, opposition, provocation, difficulties in social relations, the attribution of hostile and negative intentions to others, social rejection by peers, and affiliation with deviant peers. Participants must demonstrate a minimum set of functional skills which enable them to benefit from group intervention.
The Ally Intervention Program features 2 intervention components facilitated by professionals in the field:
- Child component: In this first component, children with behavioural problems and some peer-helper classmates participate in a program that builds social and interpersonal problem solving skills through 16 meetings with the children, including roughly 30 activities to help them learn social behaviours such as controlling their emotions and conflict resolution strategies; and
- Parent component: The second component consists of 15 2-hour meetings with parents to improve their parenting and educational skills, and foster their collaboration with the school environment. This includes 30 activities that address various themes, such as managing difficult behaviours, resolving conflicts, and negotiating.
Some of the critical elements for the implementation of this program or initiative include the following:
- Organizational requirements: A steering committee composed of members of school staff oversees the implementation of the program.
- Partnerships: The participation of parents is crucial to the program’s effectiveness.
- Training and technical assistance: Training is offered by the program developers with the purchase of the Ally Intervention Program (available in both French and English). Additional services are also available from the developers (participation in various elements of the program, telephone support, etc.).
- Risk assessment tools: Limited information on this topic.
- Materials & resources: The educational package, which is available in both French and English (instructional materials, Ally newsletter, activity workbooks, behavioural assessment questionnaire, tool for compiling results, meeting review forms).
The most recognized classification systems of evidence-based crime prevention programs have classified this program or initiative as follows:
- Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development: Not applicable.
- Crime Solutions/OJJDP Model Program Guide: Not applicable.
- SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices: Not applicable.
- Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy: Not applicable.
Gathering Canadian Knowledge
Canadian Implementation Sites
The first pilot phase of the Ally Intervention Program was done between 2004 and 2006 – at that time, the program was implemented in six elementary schools in the Montreal region (see study #1).
After that, from 2008 to 2019, 2 organizations have been supported by Public Safety Canada’s National Crime Prevention Strategy to implement the Ally Intervention Program.
Programs are listed alphabetically:
- En partenariat sur la route du programme l’Allié (Centre de prévention de la violence dans Kent) (New Brunswick) (2014-2019) (process and outcome evaluation in progress; see study #3)
- L’Allié: A Multimodal Approach to Remedy Behavioural Problems and Prevent Violence in Schools (Faculté des sciences de l’éducation, Université de Montréal) (Quebec) (2008-2010) (process and outcome evaluation completed; see study #2)
Main Findings from Canadian Outcome Evaluation Studies
An outcome evaluation study of the Ally Intervention Program was conducted between 2004 and 2006 by Desbiens and colleagues. A quasi-experimental research design was used to assess the effects of the program using an experimental group (total n = 188), a normative group (n = 168) and a comparison group (n = 171) from eight elementary schools in the Montreal region.
Results from this evaluation showed the following:
- At the end of the two years of implementation, the experimental group of students were more likely to look for positive solutions to conflict (student evaluation), were more skilled in conflict resolution, and presented more prosocial behaviour (teacher assessment) than their counterparts in the comparison group;
- The results also suggested that girls with externalized behavioural problems benefited from the program more than boys. The evaluation shows that the girls also improved their emotion management skills and their ability for behavioural self-control; and
- Additionally, positive effects were also observed on school climate as perceived by students in difficulty; there was a decrease in victimization among girls and an increase in their sense of security, as well as a higher perception of support for students in difficulty.
For more information, refer to Desbiens et al.’s (2006) publication.
As part of Public Safety Canada's funding, an outcome evaluation studyFootnote1 of the Ally Intervention Program was conducted between 2008 and 2010 by Desbiens & Lévesque. A quasi-experimental research design was used to assess the effects of the program. Twenty schools in nine school boards participated in the Greater Montreal region. The teachers helped to measure the program’s impact on students’ behaviour through a behavioural evaluation based on a behavioural scale administered at the beginning and the end of the school year. A paired samples t-test was conducted based on pre- and post-test data from students.
Results from this evaluation showed the following:
- According to teachers, the program had positive impacts on children and young people, but those impacts are more at the cognitive than the behavioural level, in particular regarding knowledge of conflict resolution strategies;
- The program led teachers to change their practices and improve their relations with students with behavioural problems; and
- The program had statistically significant impacts on prosocial behaviour, behavioural self-control, conflict resolution skills, and the ability to control emotions. It also led to a slight decrease in aggressiveness.
For more information, refer to Desbiens & Lévesque’s (2011) publication.
En partenariat sur la route du programme l’Allié (Centre de prévention de la violence dans Kent) in New Brunswick has been selected for a process and outcome evaluation by Public Safety Canada. This evaluation is currently in progress; results are not yet available at this time.
No information available on the cost per youth or the total cost to implement the program. But cost information for training and educational resource kits is available on the Ally Intervention Program website.
Desbiens, N., et al. (2006). Réussite scolaire et sociale des élèves présentant des difficultés de comportement au primaire : rapport d’évaluation des impacts « volet parents » du programme multimodal l’Allié. Research report presented to Fonds québécois de recherche sur la société et la culture (FQRSC). Montreal, QC : Université de Montréal. Available from: http://programme-allie.ca/pdf/doc_desbiens_eval-allie2006.pdf
Desbiens, N., & Lévesque, J. (2011). L’Allié : une approche multimodale pour remédier aux difficultés de comportement et prévenir la violence en milieu scolaire. Final Evaluation Report. Submitted to the National Crime Prevention Centre, Public Safety Canada. Available from: http://programme-allie.ca/pdf/doc_desbiens_eval-allie2011b.pdf
National Crime Prevention Centre. (2012). L’Allié: A multimodal approach to remedy behavioural problems and prevent violence in schools. Evaluation Summary. Ottawa, ON: Public Safety Canada. Available from: http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/pblctns/2012-es-31/index-eng.aspx
For more information on this program, contact:
Ally Intervention Program, Faculté des sciences de l'éducation, Université de Montréal
Case postale 6128, succ. Centre-ville
Montreal, Quebec H3C 3J7
Telephone: (514) 343-7436
Record Entry Date - 2018-03-13
A process evaluation study of the program was also conducted through Public Safety Canada’s funding. For more information, communicate with the Research Division, Public Safety Canada.
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