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About Building Blocks for a Healthy Future

Building Blocks for a Healthy Future is an early childhood substance abuse prevention initiative developed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) that educates parents and caregivers about the basics of prevention in order to promote a healthy lifestyle. Designed for parents and caregivers of children ages 3 to 6, Building Blocks will help you open up the lines of communication with young children—and make it easier to keep those lines of communication open as they grow older.

The materials and the website, which are designed for parents and caregivers to use with their children, are based on six action steps that relate directly to what researchers and substance abuse prevention professionals term family-related "protective factors." These are situations and conditions that decrease a child's chances for engaging in drug-related and other risky behaviors. The site also includes information about "risk factors" that increase children's risk for using alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs. With content focusing on children aged 3 to 6, the site includes topics such as how to better communicate with children, activities for promoting "family time," and what to say when discussing difficult issues.

SAMHSA considers this just one tool that can be used to influence children's lives. Indeed, family life is but one area of a child's life that affects his or her behavior. Children, peers, schools, communities, and society all play a role as well. Accordingly, SAMHSA maintains and supports other initiatives that can help reduce children's risk. Learn more about SAMHSA and the research and programs it supports.

To obtain SAMHSA's materials and publications, please visit the SAMHSA Store. For more information about Building Blocks for a Healthy Future or to share your comments, please send an e-mail to Building Blocks.

Sign up for the Building Blocks Bulletin. It will provide you with highlights of what's new on the website. The update will be sent directly to your e-mail address on a regular basis.

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Updated on 10/23/2013