Strengthening Families Program
The Strengthening Families Program (SFP) is a family skills training program designed to increase resilience and reduce risk factors for behavioral, emotional, academic, and social problems in children 3-16 years old. SFP comprises three life-skills courses delivered in 14 weekly, 2-hour sessions. The Parenting Skills sessions are designed to help parents learn to increase desired behaviors in children by using attention and rewards, clear communication, effective discipline, substance use education, problem solving, and limit setting. The Children's Life Skills sessions are designed to help children learn effective communication, understand their feelings, improve social and problem-solving skills, resist peer pressure, understand the consequences of substance use, and comply with parental rules. In the Family Life Skills sessions, 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. Participation in ongoing family support groups and booster sessions is encouraged to increase generalization and the use of skills learned.
|Areas of Interest||
Mental health promotion
Substance use disorder prevention
1: Children's internalizing and externalizing behaviors
2: Parenting practices/parenting efficacy
3: Family relationships
American Indian or Alaska Native
Black or African American
Hispanic or Latino
Rural and/or frontier
|Implementation History||The Strengthening Families Program was initially developed and evaluated in a National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) randomized controlled trial (RCT) with children of addicted parents. Later independent replication studies with cultural adaptations for high-risk, culturally diverse families were conducted in Alabama, Colorado (Denver), Hawaii, Michigan (Detroit), New Mexico, and Utah with SAMHSA/Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) and Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) 5-year grants. NIDA and National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) RCTs were conducted by independent investigators in Maryland, New York, Virginia, Washington, DC, and Canada with more than 1,300 families. SFP is currently offered by local agencies in every State nationwide and in 35 countries. Statewide evaluations have been conducted in Florida, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Virginia. LutraGroup, Inc., the prior authorized distributor, trainer, and evaluator of SFP with offices in Salt Lake City, Utah, and the new distributor, Ahearn Green Associates in Washington, DC, estimates that it has trained more than 12,500 individuals to deliver SFP to about 250,000 families in the last 10 years. SFP is currently being tested for the prevention of child abuse in Delaware, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, North Carolina, and Oklahoma with several tribes with funding from the Federal Administration for Children and Families. A new SFP 7-17 DVD video version is now being tested with high risk families in the regular family group curriculum version, but also a very low cost 12- to 14-week Home or Clinic Use version with excellent outcomes. An SFP family physical activity and nutrition education curriculum also is being tested with Utah and Colorado tribes for the prevention of obesity and diabetes.|
|NIH Funding/CER Studies||
Partially/fully funded by National Institutes of Health: Yes
Evaluated in comparative effectiveness research studies: Yes
|Adaptations||SFP has been adapted for African American, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic, and American Indian families. Recently, independent researchers have developed language- and culture-specific versions for the Australian, Austrian, Canadian, Dutch, French, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Slovenian, Swedish, and Thai governments. Translations into Arabic and Farsi are underway.|
|Adverse Effects||No adverse effects, concerns, or unintended consequences were identified by the developer.|
|IOM Prevention Categories||
Quality of Research
Readiness for Dissemination
The cost information below was provided by the developer. Although this cost information may have been updated by the developer since the time of review, it may not reflect the current costs or availability of items (including newly developed or discontinued items). The implementation point of contact can provide current information and discuss implementation requirements.
Small agencies may find it economical to attend a training hosted by a nearby agency. Lutra Group, Inc., the entity that coordinates SFP training and technical assistance, can help in locating other trainings. Training in the United States is available in English and Spanish. Implementation requires a minimum of five trained staff: two group leaders for the parents, two group leaders for the children, and a site coordinator.