Strengthening Families Program

Strengthening Families is a selective multicomponent, family-focused program that provides prevention programming for 6-10-year-old children of substance abusers. The program began as an effort to help substance-abusing parents improve their parenting skills and reduce their children’s risk factors. The program has been culturally modified and found effective (through independent evaluation) with African-American, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Hispanic families. The Strengthening Families program contains three elements: a parent training program, a children‘s skills training program, and a family skills training program. In each of the 14 weekly sessions, parents and children are trained separately in the first hour. During the second hour, parents and children come together in the family skills training portion. Afterward, the families share dinner and a film or other entertainment. Parent training improves parenting skills and reduces substance abuse by parents. Children‘s skills training decreases children’s negative behaviors and increases their socially acceptable behaviors through work with a program therapist. Family skills training improves the family environment by involving both generations in learning and practising their new behaviors. This intervention approach has been evaluated in a variety of settings and with several racial and ethnic groups. The primary outcomes of the program include reductions in family conflict, improvement in family communication and organization, and reductions in youth conduct disorders, aggressiveness, and substance abuse.

Source: Kumpfer et al. 1996

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