Model Family Programs for Delinquency Prevention
Rating * Exemplary Target * 6-10 Speciality * Family Skills Training
Program * Strengthening Families Program
Description *

  The Strengthening Families Program (SFP) is a family skills training program designed to reduce risk factors for substance use and other problem behaviors in high-risk children of substance abusers including behavioral problems, emotional, academic and social problems. SFP builds on protective factors by improving family relationships, parenting skills, and improving the youth's social and life skills. It is designed for families with children ages 6 to 10 and has been modified for African-American families, Asian/Pacific Islanders in Utah and Hawaii, rural families, early teens in the Midwest, and Hispanic families. Although originally developed for children of high-risk substance abusers, SFP is widely used for non-substance abusing parents.

SFP provides 14 weekly 2 hour meetings. It includes three separate courses: Parent Training, Children's Skills Training and Family Life Skills training. Parents learn to increase desired behaviors in children by using attention and reinforcements, communication; substance use education; problem solving; limit setting and maintenance. Children learn communication; understanding feelings; social skills; problem solving; resisting peer pressure; questions and discussion about substance use; and compliance with parental rules. Families practice therapeutic child-play and conduct weekly family meetings to address issues, reinforce positive behavior and plan activities together. SFP uses creative retention strategies such as transportation, child care and family meals.

Positive outcomes have been found in a number of independent program evaluations. Outcome results based on pre- post- and 6 month follow-up measures show that the three component design is most powerful. SFP improved child risk status in three areas 1) children's problem behaviors, emotional status and prosocial skills; 2) parents parenting skills; and 3) family environment and family functioning. SFP significantly improved family relationships, family organization, reduced family conflict and increased family cohesion were found. Also, sibling relationships, ability to think of family-oriented activities, clarity of rules and less social isolation by parents were found. Parents reported significantly decreased drug use, depression, use of corporal punishment and increased parental efficacy. Children showed improvements in impulsivity, behaving well at home and fewer problem behaviors in general. Children also report less intention to use tobacco and alcohol.

    Contact * Karol L. Kumpfer, Ph.D. 
    Address* University of Utah, 215 HPER-N 
        Salt Lake City, UT  84112
    Phone * 801 581-8498
    Email  * 
    Dept. of Health Promotion and Education

Funded by - Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention