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Children &
Family Support

Working together is the first step to recovery, and that's what having a peer in your corner to help each other along the way is all about. We understand the value shared experiences have in recovery, personal growth, and overall wellness.

Learn more about 
Strengthening Families Program

The Strengthening Families Program is a 7 or 14 week group session with evidence-based family support education.

Parents or caregivers and their child(ren) have the opportunity to build life skills, parenting skills, and training to strengthen parenting and family functioning.

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Resources

About the Courses

The Strengthening Families Program (SFP) is an evidence-based family skills training program, developed for high-risk families. The SFP family relationship skills are useful for all families - not just those at risk. The course is recognized both nationally and internationally, and has proven success in increasing family bonding and reducing risk factors that can lead to both substance use and mental health challenges.

Courses are taught in a 7 or 14 week period and divided into groups by the child's age:

  • Birth - 3 years old

  • 3 - 5 years old

  • 6 - 11 years old

  • 10 - 14 years old

  • 12 - 16 years old

Note: Slight adjustments to the ages may be possible due to the number of participants and family needs, however, the course content is designed to be geared toward these different age groups.

Sessions begin with a family meal that includes informal family practice time and coaching. Following dinner, parents and children have a 1 hour breakout class to work and learn separately, then come together for another hour as a family class.

Why is this essential 
What the Course Teaches

Why SFP is Essential

The wellbeing of communities everywhere depends on strong and loving families. They have the job of producing the next generation of emotionally healthy, responsible, educated citizens who are addiction-free and prepared to maintain the physical and social infrastructure of a society. Research shows well-trained parents help youth avoid substance abuse and have better life outcomes.

Substance Use Prevention

Addiction has a devastating effect on families and is a major health crisis across the U.S. It costs the nation more than $500 billion a year in social clean-up costs and causes unimaginable human suffering. Yet most addiction begins in adolescence where it is preventable.

Fortunately, research shows most youth substance use can be prevented by parents who are well-trained in three types of skills:

  • Bonding - creating warm, loving relationships

  • Boundaries - setting clear boundaries against substance use

  • Monitoring - monitoring youth's activities to see that they always stay in an alcohol and drug-free social environment

Brain Development & Growth

Adolescence is a critical period of brain development. In addition to alcohol and drug use harming the child's brain development, children learn and form life skills that can form positive or negative long term behaviors. When children are neglected or abused, suffering adverse childhood experiences, it negatively affects their developing brain.

 

This puts them at risk for:

  • Social problems

  • School failure

  • Depression

  • Delinquency

  • Substance use

  • or other mental health challenges

Skills That Thrills

SFP is effective because it was specifically crafted to increase protective factors and reduce the risk factors that lead to both substance abuse and youth depression.

SFP teaches - and has parents and youth practice - skills involved in bonding (creating warm, loving relationships), setting clear, firm boundaries (rules against antisocial behavior, including drug and alcohol use), and monitoring their children's emotional wellbeing and activities to see that they always stay in an alcohol and drug-free social environment.

Skill practice creates new prosocial habit patterns in the brain, which helps improve behavior, strengthens the parent-child relationship, and helps a child feel loved.

Child maltreatment also decreases as parents learn better parenting skills, and practice stress and anger management techniques.

Adults Must Protect Children

Youth are targeted by alcohol, marijuana, and nicotine product purveyors because they know if they can get kids addicted as youth, they will have steady-paying customers for life.

All adults have a responsibility to help protect children from neglect, abuse, and alcohol, tobacco, and drug use. SFP offers an array of enjoyable and free prevention skill training to protect our youth.

Parents make all the difference 
Benefits of the Course

As children age, it is important to build trust with them and keep the lines of communication open so that if at any point they begin to feel increased pressure to experiment with smoking, drinking, or using drugs, they can feel comfortable talking to you about it.

Every day activities, such as having family dinners together, helping your children with their homework, or attending their school activities can have a lasting effect on your children.

Research has shown that children with active, hands-on parents, are less likely to engage in negative behaviors.

Outcomes for Parents:

The Strengthening Families Program uses proven training and evaluation tools that are effective in reducing multiple risk factors for later alcohol and drug abuse, mental health problems, and delinquency. Participants have reported:

  • Increased family bonding

  • Increased parental involvement

  • Increased positive parenting skills

  • Increased positive communication

  • Decreased family conflict

  • Setting constructive limitations

  • Effective ways to improve child's behavior

  • Better understanding of the negative impact of substance abuse on family relationships

Outcomes for Children:

Strong families avoid many adverse outcomes as the child develops, such as substance abuse, teen pregnancy, school failure, aggression, and delinquency. Children participating in the program have seen:

  • Decreased depression

  • Decreased aggression

  • Increased cooperation

  • Increased number of prosocial friends

  • Increased social competencies

  • Increased school grades

  • Increased resistance to peer pressure

  • Better understanding of their feelings

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