Strengthening Families for the Future is a prevention program for families with children between the ages of seven and 11 who may be at risk for substance use problems, depression, violence, delinquency and school failure. Strengthening Families is effective because it involves the whole family. The goals of the program are to:
- reduce children’s or adolescents’ intention to use alcohol and/or other drugs, and reduce other behaviour problems
- increase children’s resilience and life skills
- increase positive and effective parenting
- increase family communication.
How the program works
The Strengthening Families program is presented in 14 consecutive weekly sessions. Sessions last about three hours, and include a communal meal. At the beginning of each session, parents and children meet together to share a meal. This is followed by separate one-hour sessions for parents and children. Finally, the families come back together for the family session, where they practise skills they learned in their separate sessions. The sessions are fun and are activity based.
The parent and child sessions are each led by two co-facilitators. All four facilitators are present for the family session.
The Strengthening Families resource
The Strengthening Families resource includes:
- everything you need to know to start a program and to keep families coming back—sample consent forms, promotional materials, job descriptions and more
- outlines for 14 parent, child and family sessions, complete with background information for facilitators, session objectives, presentation scripts and handouts for participants (in English and French).
Although the resource is a complete “how to” guide, training and program consultation is available from your local CAMH consultant.
What are the results?
Strengthening Families for the Future is modelled on a successful program developed in 1988 by Dr. Karol Kumpfer, of the University of Utah. The original program was updated, with input from treatment agencies in Ontario, and has undergone an extensive evaluation funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Preliminary results show that Strengthening Families is a promising intervention for fostering significant improvements in family functioning, parenting and children’s psychosocial functioning. While the evaluation was conducted with families at risk, the effective parenting skills and positive life skills learned in the program can benefit all families.
Strengthening Families has been listed as a best practice program by Health Canada.
- ISBN 978-0-88868-527-8 • kit
- $90.00 • published 2006 • product code P5607
- 4 English manuals - Getting Started, Child Manual, Parent Manual, Family Manual
- 1 French manual - translated extracts from the 4 English manuals
- 2 children's books - 1 each of Wishes and Worries and Can I Catch It Like a Cold?