STRIVE (Support to Reunite, Involve and Value Each Other) is a 5-session family-based intervention intended to reduce sexual risk behaviors, substance use and delinquency among youth who have recently run away from home. The intervention requires participation from both the adolescent and at least one parent. It is delivered to individual families in a community-based setting or in the home by a trained specialist.

Category Program Features
Setting Community based or in home

Program Length

7.5–10 hours/year | 1 year
5 sessions total
Age Group Ages 12–17
newly homeless youth
Look Inside

Table of Contents
Sample Session


Overview | Description | Population | Author | Who's Using


STRIVE is a 5-session family-based intervention intended to reduce sexual risk behaviors, substance use, and delinquency among youth who have recently run away from home. The intervention requires participation from both the adolescent and at least one parent. It is delivered to individual families in a community-based setting or in the family home by a trained specialist.



STRIVE seeks to improve the stability and quality of residential life, reduce the number of runaway episodes, and minimize HIV-related sexual and substance use risk behaviors among recently homeless adolescents. The intervention is designed to improve family functioning, reduce family conflict, and build problem solving, negotiation and coping skills.

STRIVE is grounded in cognitive-behavioral and family-systems theories and stresses the importance of establishing a positive family climate to reduce the risk of chronic homelessness and associated adolescent risk behaviors. The program is delivered to each family individually through a series of interactive, semi-structured tasks.

  • Session 1: Participants are encouraged to create a positive family atmosphere and to make a commitment to the program and not running away from home. Families learn how to anticipate, identify and plan for situations and events that may trigger the adolescent to run away.
  • Session 2: Participants learn and practice problem-solving skills. Families are encouraged to develop a positive family environment by prioritizing problems and solving them as a team.
  • Session 3: Participants learn how to analyze and frame problems, and how to articulate the intentions behind their behaviors. The session also provides factual information about HIV risk among runaway and homeless youth.
  • Session 4: This session focuses on coping and negotiation skills. Families learn strategies to cope with stressful situations and how to negotiate solutions. They practice applying these skills to their real-world problems.
  • Session 5: In this session, families apply what they have learned in prior sessions to solve an ongoing family conflict. The facilitator observes the discussion and provides feedback on the process.


Population Served & Setting

The program is designed for newly homeless youth ages 12 to 17.


About the Author

Norweeta G. Milburn, PhD, is a Professor-in-Residence in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at the UCLA Semel Institute Center for Community Health and Director of Research and Evaluation at the Nathanson Family Resilience Center. She received her Ph.D. in Community Psychology from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor). Prior to coming to UCLA, she was an Associate Professor of Psychology at Hofstra University in New York and Assistant Director of the Psy.D. program in School/Community Psychology. Her research interests include homelessness, substance abuse, mental health and family-based behavioral interventions.

Dr. Milburn has been a principal investigator for National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) research on homeless adults and youth, and African American youth. She has examined paths into and out of homelessness, as well as the risk for HIV among homeless youth in the U.S. and Australia. She has designed and implemented a behavioral intervention for homeless adolescents at risk for HIV and their families, and she also has designed and tested recruitment strategies for behavioral substance abuse interventions. She has also served as a co-principal investigator on U.S. Department of Education (DOE) and NIMH investigations of coping and adaptation, and anxiety and depression in older African Americans, and as co-investigator on a number of NIMH grants including the training of the next generation of HIV investigators. She has numerous publications and presentations in the areas of homelessness, substance abuse, HIV/AIDS and mental health. She has been both a standing and ad hoc member of peer review committees at NIMH.

Dr. Milburn is a Fellow in the American Psychological Association (APA). She has been a member of the APA Committee on Children, Youth and Families, and recently chaired the APA 2009 Presidential Task Force on Psychology’s Contribution to End Homelessness. Her honors include being an inaugural member of the Leadership Institute for Women in Psychology and the Community, Culture and Prevention Science Award from the Society for Prevention Research.


Length | Elements | Staffing

Length of Program

The 5 STRIVE sessions are delivered weekly and last between 1.5 to 2 hours. Facilitators can work with up to two youth and their families per day if the intervention is delivered in the home, and more than two per day if families come to the facilitator's location.


Program Elements

The STRIVE Basic Set includes the implementation manual, evaluation assessments, monitoring tools and recruitment and retention materials.


Staffing Requirements

Facilitators should have experience working with at-risk adolescents. A degree such as a BA, BS or MFT is recommended, but not required.

Evidence Summary | References

Evidence Summary

Research Design

The study was conducted in community settings in Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties, California. Newly homeless adolescents were recruited for a randomized controlled trial on a rolling basis over a three-year period through community-based organizations and study flyers and advertisements. About half were randomly selected to receive the STRIVE intervention and half were selected for a control group that received only referral services.

The participant group consisted of 151 newly homeless adolescents ages 12 to 17 years and their families. The mean age of the adolescents was 15 years; 66% were female and 34% were male; 62% were Hispanic and 21% were African American.

Data Gathering

Surveys were administered before the intervention (baseline) and at follow-ups conducted 3, 6 and 12 months after the intervention.


Twelve months after the intervention:

  • Adolescents participating in the intervention reported having significantly fewer sexual partners in the previous three months.
  • The study found no statistically significant program impacts on measures of vaginal or anal sex, unprotected sex, or frequency of sex in the previous three months.



Milburn, N. G., F. J. Iribarren, E. Rice, M. Lightfoot, R. Solorio, M. J. Rotheram-Borus, K. Desmond, A. Lee, K. Alexander, K. Maresca, K. Eastmen, E. M. Arnold, N. Duan. 2012. A family intervention to reduce sexual risk behavior, substance use, and delinquency among newly homeless youth. The Journal of Adolescent Health 50 (4): 358–364.

General Adaptation Guidance | Policy

Adaptation Guidance

ETR is a leader in developing adaptation guidelines to enable professionals to adapt evidence-based intervention programs for implementation in underserved communities, while maintaining fidelity to the intervention's core components. To produce the best adaptation tools, ETR works directly with the developer of each intervention to ensure that these tools are of the highest quality and meet the different needs of the field and end users, e.g., teachers, trainers, program mangers/staff, research teams, and funders.

STRIVE can be adapted for other at-risk populations and is currently being adapted for adolescents who are re-entering the community from the juvenile justice system.

See ETR’s General Adaptation Guidance

For answers to Frequently Asked Questions about program adaptations, please visit our Program Support Help Desk.

Read ETR's Adaptations Policy.

Training & TA

For over 30 years, ETR has been building the capacity of community-based organizations, schools, school districts, and state, county and local agencies in all 50 states and 7 U.S. territories to implement and replicate evidenced-based programs (EBPs) to prevent teen pregnancy, STD/STI and HIV. Our nationally recognized training and research teams work in partnership with clients to customize training and technical assistance (TA) to address the needs of their agencies and funding requirements.


A minimum of three full days of training is required. Training is provided by trainers with advanced degrees (MSW, PhD or PsyD) who helped develop the intervention. Training can be provided at UCLA or onsite at the implementer's location.

Technical assistance (TA), coaching and ongoing support

ETR provides in-person and web- or phone-based TA before, during and/or after program implementation. TA is tailored to the needs of the site and is designed to support quality assurance, trouble-shoot adaptation issues, and boost implementation.

Enrichment Training

To support a holistic approach to teen pregnancy and HIV prevention programs, ETR offers a number of additional training and technical assistance opportunities, including content-specific workshops, skill-based trainings, organizational development consultation and much more. To learn more about these opportunities, visit our Training & TA pages >>


Adaptation support materials, training and/or TA are available to assist educators/staff in meeting the needs of individual communities by implementing EBPs effectively and consistently with core components. All adaptation support is based on ETR's groundbreaking, widely disseminated adaptation guidelines and kits for effective adaptations.


ETR also provides evaluation support for EBP implementation. ETR uses well-established tools for measuring fidelity and outcomes. ETR's evaluation support blends participatory approaches with cutting-edge evaluation science. Services address process and outcome evaluation and include assistance with evaluation planning, instrument design and development, implementation fidelity, data management and analysis, performance measurement, continuous quality improvement (CQI) protocols, and effective tools and strategies for reporting results.