Strengthening Families Program

Strengthening Families Program is a nationally and internationally recognized parenting and family-strengthening program. The program is evidence-based and grows family skills to significantly reduce problem behaviors, delinquency, and alcohol and drug abuse in children. The program is also designed to improve social competencies and school performance. Child maltreatment also decreases as parents strengthen bonds with their children and learn more effective parenting skills.

The program is a multi-session, science-based parenting skills, children’s life skills, and family life skills training program specifically designed for at-risk families. Parents and children participate in Strengthening Families Program, separately and together. The program is focused on children ages 6 – 11.

Children’s Trust provides funding to local agencies to deliver the sessions and become a Strengthening Families Program site. Those local partners will work directly with families. Children’s Trust provides training, collect data and implement continuous quality improvement to ensure the program reaches its maximum potential.

The Duke Endowment and the S.C. Department of Social Services are our partners in this effort.

Background and Program Details

For nearly 20 years Strengthening Families Program has been implemented in schools, drug treatment centers, family and youth service agencies, community mental health centers, public housing communities, shelters, churches and drug courts.

The Strengthening Families Program courses are delivered in 14 sessions (2 ˝ hours each). Typically the sessions are preceded by a meal that includes informal family practice time and group leader coaching. Each group may include up to 14 families. Participants gather three groups: parents, children, and then come together as a family. The sessions will focus on developing positive family strengths, teaching families how to stay resilient, improving parenting skills, decreasing the use of corporal punishment, reducing family conflict and reducing parent drug use. The program will also help children with social skills and relationships.

Based on positive outcomes and reported successes in other states using the Strengthening Families Program, Children’s Trust is working with the National Implementation Research Network (NIRN) and the Lutra Group to achieve the following results:

  1. Reduce the number of first time victims of abuse and neglect
  2. Reduce the number of confirmed cases of child abuse and neglect
  3. Increase family communication skills
  4. Increase parents’ appropriate discipline practices
  5. Decrease parents’ harsh discipline practices
  6. Increase positive parenting practices
  7. Improve parents’ clear expectations of their children’s behaviors
  8. Improve parents’ understanding of child development
  9. Decrease problematic behaviors of participating children

Application for Partnerships

Strengthening Families Program Data Brief (PDF)

View our Program Partners

For more information on Strengthening Families

Sherri Caldwell
Strengthening Families Program Coordinator

Karen Dukes Smith, M.Ed, OCL
Strengthening Families Program Coordinator

Please note: Children’s Trust uses the Strengthening Families with Protective Factors framework developed by the Center for the Study of Social Policy. While similarly named, the two are separate and distinct programs. Learn More