Strenghtening Families Program

Grandmother, Mother & Daughter skill building project

Strengthening Families Program Description
The Strengthening Families Program I (SFP-I) involves elementary school aged children (5 to 17 years old) and their families in family skills training sessions. SFP uses family systems and cognitive- behavioral approaches to increase resilience and reduce risk factors for behavioral, emotional, academic, and social problems. It builds on protective factors by:

                                        ·         Improving family relationships
                                        ·         Improving parenting skills

·         Increasing the youth's social and life skills

·      SFP offers incentives for attendance, good behavior in
 children, and homework completion to increase program
 recruitment and participation.

Program Background
SFP-I was originally developed by Dr. Karol Kumpfer and associates with a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) from 1982 to 1986. It developed out of multiple existing science-based prevention programs. The Parent Training component includes basic behavioral parent training techniques developed by Dr. Gerald Patterson and used in many behavioral parent training programs. The Children's Social Skills component took elements from Dr. Myrna Shure's I Can Problem Solve, which is also used in the Seattle Social Development Project and Second Step Program. The Family Skills Training component uses family communication exercises based on Dr. Bernard Guerney's Family Relationship Enhancement Program, family meetings used in many effective programs, and child and parent game techniques developed by Dr. Robert McMahon and Dr. Rex Forehand for the Helping the Non- compliant Child Program. A new 2001 version of SFP-I, available on CD-ROM, was modified based on practitioner feedback.

How It Works
The SFP-I curriculum is a 12-session behavioral skills training program of 2 hours each. Parents meet separately with two group leaders for an hour to learn to increase desired behaviors in children by increasing attention and rewards for positive behaviors.
They also learn about clear communication, effective discipline, substance use, problem solving, and limit setting.

Children meet separately with two children's trainers for an hour, to learn how to understand feelings, control their anger, resist peer pressure, comply with parental rules, solve problems, and communicate effectively. Children also develop their social skills
and learn about the consequences of substance abuse.

During the second hour of the session, families engage in structured family activities, practice therapeutic child play, conduct family meetings, learn communication skills, practice effective discipline, reinforce positive behaviors in each other, and plan family activities together.

Booster sessions and ongoing family support groups for SFP-I graduates increase generalization and the use of skills learned.