Strengthening Families Program (SFP)

The Strengthening Families Program (SFP 13-17) is an evidence-based prevention program for parents and children 13-17 in low/high risk families. SFP consists of parenting skills, children's life skills, and family skills training courses taught together in thirteen 2-hours group sessions preceded by a meal that includes informal family practice time and group leader coaching. SFP was designed in 13 sessions to assure sufficient dosage to promote behavior change in high risk families.


Program Goals

Strengthening Families Program: For Parents and Youth 13–17 is an adaptation of the Strengthening Families Program for parents and their adolescent children. The adapted program aims to reduce substance use and behavior problems during adolescence through improved skills in nurturing and child management by parents and improved interpersonal and personal competencies among youths.


Program Components

SFP consists of thirteen 2-hour sessions for parents and youths conducted weekly. The parents and youths attend separate skill-building groups for the first hour and spend the second hour together in supervised family activities. Parent group sessions clarify expectations based on child development norms, teach appropriate disciplinary practices, teach skills on managing strong adolescent emotion, and teach effective communication skills for dealing with their youths. Youth group sessions teach refusal skills for dealing with peer pressure and personal skills such as dealing with stress. During the joint family sessions, families are taught conflict resolution and communication skills. The sessions also involve games and activities designed to increase cohesiveness and introduce positive involvement of the youths in the family. In all sessions, videotaped presentations are used to introduce the topics and form discussions. Additionally, youths are shown 15-minute videotapes that look at dealing with and resisting peer pressure.


Strengthening Families Program Lessons

Parent Lesson are listed in bold; Teen Lessons in italics

  1. Intro, Group Building, Noticing teens’ positives
    Class Rules; Having Goals & Dreams

  2. How to Handle Stress
    Communication, appreciating parents

  3. Encouraging Good Behavior using Rewards
    Dealing with stress, conflict, anger

  4. Goals and Objectives for Teens
    Rewarding & ignoring

  5. Communication for Better Relationships
    Speaking & Listening

  6. Communication and Family Meetings
    TEENS Communication, Family Meeting

  7. Helping Teens Handle Peer Pressure
    Peer pressure and temptation

  8. Alcohol, Drugs and Families; Risk Assessment
    Harms of Alcohol and Drugs

  9. Problem Solving & Giving Directions
    Problem Solving

  10. Relationships, Love, and Sexuality
    Friends, dating & sexuality

  11. Setting Limits – Noticing and Ignoring
    Managing Emotions

  12. Setting Limits – Consequences & Punishments
    Handling Criticism

  13. Contracts for Changing Behavior
    Coping with Anger

  14. Review and Graduation

  15. Review and Graduation


Lou Martinez

Life Coach/Mentor (Director)

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Leon Carter

Life Coach/Mentor (Families)

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Bernard Haynes

Life Coach/Mentor (Boys)


Betsy Martinez

Life Coach/Mentor (Girls)


Nigel Herbert

Life Coach/Mentor (Families)