The Strengthening Families Program (SFP) is a nationally and internationally recognized parenting and
family strengthening program for high-risk and general population families. SFP is an evidence-based
family skills training program found to significantly improve parenting skills and family relationships,
reduce problem behaviors, delinquency and alcohol and drug abuse in children and 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 original 14-session evidence-based SFP for high-risk families with children ages 6 to 11 years
(SFP6-11) was developed and tested in the mid 1980s by Dr. Karol L. Kumpfer on a NIDA research
grant with children of substance-abusing parents. Subsequent randomized control trials (RCTs) have
found similar positive results with families in many different ethnic groups. Both culturally adapted
versions and the core version of SFP have been found effective with African-American, Hispanic, Asian,
Pacific Islander, and First Nations families. SFP is in 36 countries.
In the early 1990's, Drs. Kumpfer and Molgaard, Co-PIs on an Iowa State University grant, developed a shorter 7-session version for rural low-risk families with pre- and early teens (SFP10-14). In the 2000s new 14-session versions for high-risk families with both younger children (SFP3-5) and early teens (SFP12-16) were developed by Drs. Kumpfer and Whiteside and replicated in multiple agencies in the USA and Europe with better results than the research RCT studies (Kumpfer, Greene, Whiteside & Allen, 2010, Kumpfer, Xie, & O'Driscoll, 2012; Kumpfer & Magalh„es (2015). In 2014 a new Strengthening Christian Families (SCF12-16) was developed and tested and found effective for five different major denominations (DaRe & Kumpfer, 2014).
In order to make SFP skills available to every family, in 2011 a new low-cost SFP Home-Use DVD for ages 7-17 was developed by Dr. Karol Kumpfer and Jaynie Brown. Sold for $5 each, the DVD has ten 30-minute lessons, plus an Intro segment, and is for parents and children to watch together at home. It can also be used in a clinic or agency setting with a trained Discussion Leader or Family Coach. The SFP DVD has also been used as part of the Health Class curriculum in Middle and High Schools. Handouts for each lesson can be printed off the DVD.
A new corresponding group class curriculum (SFP7-17) with lessons for Parents, Children, Teens, and
Family Practice was also developed and has been pilot tested with high risk families with
excellent results that are equivalent to the prior tested SFP versions (Kumpfer & Brown, 2011). The
curriculum can be taught in 10, 12, or 14 sessions depending on family risk factors. These two new
universal prevention versions of SFP teach the same research-proven skills as the original, with added
material on Mindfulness, the impact of alcohol and drugs on the developing teen brain and the
parenting skills needed to prevent it. To order, click on the ORDER page or Home-Use DVD page.
In the more than 30 years since its development, SFP has been evaluated in many RCTs and field
studies by independent research teams and rated as a Model or Exemplary Evidence-Based Program.
It has been approved for implementation with government funds by:
Contact information is available here, on the Contact Page.