CAPE has played a role in the growth and development of several community coalitions in Dutchess County. The Council currently functions as the lead agency guiding both the Southern Dutchess and Northern Dutchess Community Coalitions.

What is a community coalition?

The Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) defines a coalition as “a formal arrangement for collaboration among groups or sectors of a community, in which each group retains its identity but all agree to work together toward the common goal of a safe, healthy and drug-free community.”

As such, community coalitions are NOT prevention programs or traditional human services organizations that provide direct services. Rather, they are directed by local residents and sector representatives who have a genuine voice in determining the best strategies to address local problems.

Community members (stakeholders) who participate in the coalition are people who are affected by the problem or people who have the resources to contribute toward the solution. Ideally, it is a diverse cross-section of community members and people with influence (formal and informal).

Coalitions receiving funds from the Drug-Free Communities Support Program (DFC) are expected to work with leaders within their communities to identify and address local youth substance use problems and create sustainable community-level change through environmental strategies.

What is the DFC Support Program?

The Drug-Free Communities Support Program (DFC) is a Federal grant program that provides funding to community-based coalitions that organize to prevent youth substance use. The philosophy behind the DFC Program is that local drug problems require local solutions.

Since the passage of the DFC Act in 1997, the DFC Program has funded for than 2,000 community coalitions. With a small Federal investment, the DFC Program doubles the amount of funding through the DFC Program’s match requirement, to address youth substance use.

Recent evaluation data indicate that where DFC dollars are invested, youth substance use is lower. Over the life of the DFC Program, youth living in DFC communities have experienced reductions in alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana use.

Community Sectors

Parents Schools Media Businesses
Youth (18 or younger) Law Enforcement Healthcare Professionals Youth Serving Organizations
State/Local/Tribal Government Substance Abuse Organizations Civic/Volunteer Organizations Religious/Fraternal Organizations

Responsibilities of the Coalition:

Create and follow by-laws and policies
Formulate coalition goals and objectives
Oversee operations of activities, programs, and any paid staff (DFC-funded)
Continue to increase new membership of the coalition
Create a credible and relevant sustainability plan that includes volunteer membership and resources both financial and material
Respect the rights of coalition members to hold their own opinions and beliefs

Responsibilities of Coalition Members:

•Be a community leader amongst the represented sector
•Ensure clear communication between the sector represented and the coalition
•Act as a positive role model for youth, families, and peers
•Support the coalition’s mission
•Attend coalition meetings, which are held on a monthly basis
•Participate in a minimum of one subcommittee
•Attend coalition-sponsored training, Town Hall meetings, and community events
•Contribute to the strategic planning process
•Participate in sustaining the coalition’s capacity, involvement, and energy
•Participate in the DFC workstation, a communication vehicle used by the DFC Federal partners to provide timely information to coalitions
•Prevent youth substance use through environmental strategies


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