The Strengthening Families Program builds communications and bonding skills between parents and their elementary school-age children

It starts with gathering as a family for dinner

The Strengthening Families Program (SFP) serves families with children ages 6 to 11 through local partners in settings that include community centers, schools, and churches. SFP is designed to help families develop positive discipline practices, stay resilient in tough times, reduce conflict, improve parenting skills, and assist children with social skills, relationships, and school performance. All of these factors play an important role in keeping families strong while protecting against potential abuse or neglect and adverse childhood experiences.

Participants complete a 14-session weekly program. The sessions, which always begin with a family meal, typically last 2½ hours and include parents and children meeting separately to work with group leaders before coming together for shared activities to finish. Participants who successfully complete the program graduate in a celebratory style.

Reaching those who need it the most


families participate in each program cycle


families served in 2016-2017


counties in South Carolina have at least one SFP program site

What makes the program work


Children’s Trust provides one-on-one support and technical assistance for our local partners.

Two generation strategy

Children ages 6-11 and their parents work on parallel activities, designed to improve family relationships and break generational cycles of dysfunction.

Evidence-based program

Children's Trust implements this proven program and exceeds the national standards of model developer Ahearn-Green Association.

En Espanol

The program helps Hispanic/Latino families to assimilate the American culture through bilingual sites and sessions. By reaching Spanish-speaking families in underserved populations, SFP can make a greater impact for all of South Carolina’s residents and broaden diversity and inclusion efforts in South Carolina.

What they're saying

“I learned a lot about structure and how to implement that into our lives. I knew that we had some challenges around the way I disciplined. I’d yell a lot. Apparently, that wasn’t getting my point across so I’ve learned to pull back, take a breath, maybe not yell as much, and be more clear in my directions.”

SFP graduate and mother to two sons

Bring the Strengthening Families Program to your community

Are you interested in bringing SFP to your community, perhaps even to serve a niche population?

See our application for partnership or email Sherri Caldwell.

View our Application for Partnerships

Public-private partnership at work for South Carolina's children

Our funding partners have fueled its rapid expansion. We started in 2014 in four counties. Today, there are 20 partners now running the program in 23 counties.

For more information

Due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus/COVID-19, Children’s Trust is moving events to virtual platforms or postponing to a more suitable time. Please check your event listings or inquire with the appropriate staff person. View our events.