Healthy Youth Central Area Network

Supporting healthy youth choices in   Seattle's Central Area

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HYCAN Upcoming Events



Healthy Youth CAN (Central Area Network) strives to increase community strengths through prevention and intervention strategies that support youth in making healthy life choices. Central Seattle's initiative is facilitated by a network of community stakeholders, youth and partnering youth-serving organizations.


The Healthy Youth Central Area Network (HYCAN) program’s focus is to increase healthy youth development in Seattle’s Central Area though Prevention, Intervention, Community Building and Youth Asset Development; building strengths in families, schools and neighborhoods.

HYCAN is funded by the Community Prevention and Wellness Initiative (CPWI), a partnership of state agencies, counties, schools and local prevention coalitions supporting communities in preventing alcohol and other drug abuse and its negative consequences. 

Implementing the University of Washington School of Social Work Risk and Protective Factor Theory, program priorities are developed through data evaluation from surveys, anecdotal information from the community and members' individual knowledge, identifying priority risk factors.  Using this data these strategies are identified to increase these protective factors:  


Deliver Evidence-Based programs to empower & support youth


Partner & engage community to support Central Area youth


Pro-social youth involvement & positive empowerment


Facilitating school drug education, prevention & intervention practices


         Healthy Youth CAN key partners: 


Teaching artist and former student, Gabrielle Abbott  worked with over 100 students and community volunteers to design and paint this new Washington Middle School wall mural, July 2018. 


Our Story

Founded in 2008 as the Central Seattle Drug-Free Communities Coalition (CSDFCC), the program addressed the lack of prevention services in the schools and community following the elimination of the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities grant.

In 2011, CSDFCC became a CPWI community, allowing the Coalition to fund direct services in addition to environmental strategies originally funded under CSDDFCC. Board members met to re-brand the program and CSDFCC became Healthy Youth Central Area Network, with a goal to support all Central Area youth, including students that attend Meany and Washington Middle Schools and Nova and Garfield High Schools.

Network coalition members represent community-based organizations, treatment providers, law enforcement, businesses, youth and faith-based entities and have an ongoing commitment to increase healthy youth development.

The Central Area

Seattle’s Central Area is located in the East-Central district of the city and is experiencing gentrification, gun violence, criminal activity and substance abuse issues. Rising housing costs have displaced long-term residents; with that have decreased community attachment.

Healthy Youth Central Area Network (HYCAN) focuses on this geographic area:

  • East Republican Street on the North

  • South Massachusetts Street on the South

  • 34th Avenue on the East

  • 12th Avenue on the West


Strategic Prevention Framework

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF), is a systemic community-based approach which aims to ensure that substance abuse prevention programs can and do produce results.


The  idea behind SPF is to use the findings from public health research along with the evidence-based prevention programs to build capacity within the States and the prevention field. This in turn will promote resilience and decrease risk factors in individuals, families and communities.The SPF has sustainability and cultural competency as overarching areas for the 5-Step Framework:

1. Assess Needs Priority risk factors are identified, informed by the Healthy Youth, Community and Coalition Surveys. Local conditions and community data from Network Coalition are additionally considered.

2. Building Capacity Community organizations with similar issues are engaged in cooperative efforts to address priority concerns and identify strategies to reduce risks.Neighborhood volunteer groups, community councils, local government representatives and other area entities are also invited to support HYCAN goals and objectives by participating in the Network Coalition.

3. Plan Strategies that are targeted to reduce priority risk factors are evaluated and considered in the planning process.Relevant evidence-based programs/practices from the Athena Forum “Excellence in Prevention” recommendations as well as other innovative practices are selected as strategies to reduce risk and increase protections.

4. Implementation With the support of HYCAN’s Network Coalition, as well as community partner collaborations, strategies and programs are then implemented to target populations.

5.Evaluation Select programs and strategies are evaluated for effectiveness and reducing risk factors, informed by the annual and biennial surveys, feedback and community-level change.