Strengthening Families Program (SFP)

Brief Description

The Strengthening Families Program (SFP) aims to reduce problem behaviours, delinquency, alcohol and drug abuse in children and youth and to improve social competencies and school performance.

The program is centered on conflict resolution; counselling and social work; family therapy; leadership and youth development; mentoring – tutoring; parent training; skills training; social emotional learning; and substance prevention/treatment.

Goals

The main goals of the SFP are to:

  • Reduce youth’s behavioural problems (violence, delinquency, aggression, etc.);
  • Decrease the use and temptation to use drugs, alcohol and tobacco; and
  • Increase family cohesion, communication, and organization.

Clientele

The appropriate clientele for the SFP is high-risk children and youth aged 6 to 16 years old as well as their parents or caregivers; parents/caregivers include biological parents, step- and adoptive parents, foster parents, and grandparents. The SFP 6-11 targets children and youth aged 6 to 11 years old and SPF 12-16 targets youth aged 12 to 16 years old. The risk factors for youth in the program include behavioural issues, poor family cohesion (relationships), poor academic performance, and drug use in the family.

Core Components

The SFP consists of 14 consecutive weekly sessions (which can be adapted to fit the school setting, among others), including the following three core components:

  • Child/youth classes, which include skills training content (i.e., communication skills to improve parent, peer, and teacher relationships), resiliency skills, problems solving, resistance to peer pressure, anger management, and coping skills;
  • Parenting classes, which review appropriate developmental expectations and teach parents to interact positively with children, create positive family communication, including active listening and reducing criticism, and establish family meetings to improve order, organization, and effective and consistent discipline including consequences and time-outs; and
  • Family practice classes, which allow the parents and children time to practice what they learn in their individual classes in experiential exercises. This is also a time for the group leaders to coach and encourage family members to improve parent/child interactions.

Implementation Information

Some of the critical elements for the implementation of this program or initiative include the following:

  • Organizational requirements: It is important to incorporate the youth’s families in the program. This will help parents acquire the information necessary to improve their parenting and family management skills.
  • Partnerships: Organizations should collaborate with schools, school boards, police services, and other community-based organizations.
  • Training and technical assistance: Limited information on this topic.
  • Risk assessment tools: Limited information on this topic.
  • Materials & resources: Limited information on this topic.

International Endorsements

The most recognized classification systems of evidence-based crime prevention programs have classified this program or initiative as follows:

  • Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development: Promising
  • Crime Solutions/OJJDP Model Program Guide: No effects (more than one study)
  • SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices: 2.8 - 3.3
  • Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy: Not applicable.

Gathering Canadian Knowledge

Canadian Implementation Sites

In total, from 2010 to 2022, 15 organizations will have been supported by Public Safety Canada’s National Crime Prevention Strategy to implement the SFP. As of 2018, 13 organizations are still implementing the SFP.

Programs are classified alphabetically:Footnote1

  • Community-Based Replication of a Best Practice Model of Family Strengthening to Reduce Substance Abuse and Drug related Activities (Côte des Neiges Black Community Association) (Quebec) (2011-2016) (process evaluation completed)
  • Crime Prevention through the Strengthening of Youth, Families and the Community (City of Prince George) (British Columbia) (2014-2019) (performance monitoring and assessment in progress)
  • Early Intervention Police (Saskatoon Police Service) (Saskatchewan) (2016-2021) (performance monitoring and assessment in progress)
  • Ensemble pour prévenir (Aux Trois Pivots) (Québec) (2017-2022) (process and outcome evaluation in progress; see study #1)
  • Expanding Community Led Prevention Capacity (Côte des Neiges Black Community Association) (Québec) (2016-2021) (performance monitoring and assessment in progress)
  • Iliqusittigut Makigiarniq SFP project (The Iqaluit Community Tukisigiarvik Society) (Nunavut) (2015-2020) (performance monitoring and assessment in progress)
  • La Loche Strengthening Families Program (La Loche Friendship Centre) (Saskatchewan) (2014-2019) (performance monitoring and assessment in progress)
  • Le projet Appui aux familles: une adaptation francophone du programme Strengthening Families pour les enfants de 6 à 11 ans (Centre Dollard-Cormier Institut universitaire sur les dépendances – CDC-IUQ) (Quebec) (2010-2015) (completed process evaluation)
  • Our House Your House (East Metro Youth Services) (Ontario) (2016-2019) (process and outcome evaluation in progress; see study #2)
  • Strengthening Families Program (Boys and Girls Club of Summerside Inc.) (Prince Edward Island) (2016-2020) (performance monitoring and assessment in progress)
  • Strengthening Families Program (SFP) for At-Risk Youth (Uncles and Aunts at Large Society) (Alberta) (2014-2019) (process and outcome evaluation in progress; see study #3)
  • Strengthening Families Quesnel (North Cariboo Aboriginal Family Program Society) (British Columbia) (2014-2019) (process and outcome evaluation in progress; see study #4)
  • The Journey Home (Muslim Resource Centre for Social Support & Integration) (Ontario) (2017-2021) (performance monitoring and assessment in progress)
  • The Pas Strengthening Families Project (The Pas Family Resource Centre Inc.) (Manitoba) (2014-2019) (performance monitoring and assessment in progress)
  • Wahkohotowin – Strenthening Families Project (Ka Ni Kanichihk, Inc.) (Manitoba) (2016-2021)  (performance monitoring and assessment in progress)

Main Findings from Canadian Outcome Evaluation Studies

Study 1

Ensemble pour prévenir (Aux Trois Pivots) in Québec has been selected by Public Safety Canada for a process and outcome evaluation. This evaluation is currently in progress; results are not yet available at this time.

Study 2

Our House Your House (East Metro Youth Services) in Ontario has been selected by Public Safety Canada for a process and outcome evaluation. This evaluation is currently in progress; results are not yet available at this time.

Study 3

Strengthening Families Program (SFP) for At-Risk Youth (Uncles and Aunts at Large Society) in Alberta has been selected by Public Safety Canada for a process and outcome evaluation. This evaluation is currently in progress; results are not yet available at this time.

Study 4

Strengthening Families Quesnel (North Cariboo Aboriginal Family Program Society) in British Columbia has been selected by Public Safety Canada for a process and outcome evaluation. This evaluation is currently in progress; results are not yet available at this time.

Cost Information

No information available.

References

There is no Canadian reference available at this time.

For more information on this program, contact:

Department of Health Promotion and Education, University of Utah
Karol Kumpfer
1901 East South Campus Drive, room 2142
Salt Lake City, Utah 84112
Telephone: (801) 582-1562
E-mail: karol.kumpfer@health.utah.edu
Website: http://www.strengtheningfamiliesprogram.org/


Record Entry Date - 2018-03-13

  1. 1

    For specific information about each replication of the program, communicate with the Research Division, Public Safety Canada.

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