Start Strong

About Start Strong Initiative

Start Strong: Building Healthy Teen Relationships (Start Strong) was a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) in collaboration with Blue Shield of California Foundation (BSCF) and Futures Without Violence. From 2008 to 2012, RWJF and BSCF invested $18 million in 11 Start Strong sites across the country to promote healthy relationships among 11- to 14-year-olds and identify promising ways to prevent teen dating violence.

The core components of the Start Strong program were to: i) educate and engage youth in schools and out of school settings; ii) educate and engage teen influencers such as parents/caregivers, older teens, teachers and other mentors; iii) change policy and environmental factors; and iv) implement effective communications/social marketing strategies.

RWJF recently commissioned the independent research firm, RTI International to evaluate the Start Strong program. It is one of the few, and largest, studies to take an in-depth look at healthy relationship development and teen dating violence prevention efforts involving middle school students. View the full set of findings.

11 Start Strong Sites


why middle school matters
4 elements of success


4 elements of success


Our Funders