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CADEkids was founded in 1987 as the Corporate Alliance for Drug Education. The organization was established following a needs assessment conducted by WCAU-AM with input from a wide range of community stakeholders. This included but was not limited to many community leaders, School District personnel, the Home and School Association, and school community advisory boards. Involvement from the business community was also sought, making this organization a unique public/ private sector sponsorship.

The program was fully implemented in elementary schools at the beginning of the 1988-89 school year. At the end of the 1989-90 school year, approximately 25,000 students and teachers in 57 schools received the “Here’s Looking at You 2000” curriculum. Today, our curricula have been updated to be evidence-based, state-standard aligned, and more directly target skills that function as protective factors as children grow.

In spring 2009, the board voted to change the name to CADEKids to underscore those we serve. Informally, CADEKids now stands for “changing attitudes, decisions, and environments for kids,” which encapsulates the impact of the organization on children, their school, their family, and their community.

That impact was quantified with an August 2010 study that demonstrated remarkable results for CADEkids’ programs. The study of more than 14,100 students found that those who participated in CADEkids were, on average, 72% more likely to characterize their friends as people who did not use drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes. Participants also changed their attitudes toward violence-related behavior on average 49% compared to the control. This included reduced approval of hitting back, pushing others around, and saying mean things. Participant school attendance rates exceeded those of the control group and students who identified as African-American, Latinx, Asian, and those with limited English proficiency improved math scores and reading achievement at greater rates than similar students who did not participate in CADEkids.

In 2022, CADEkids became a Student Assistance Program (SAP) provider for Philadelphia County. This evidence-based program is designed to assess students (grades K-12) for concerns related to emotional dysregulation, drug and alcohol use, and behavioral/ mental health issues.

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