The original Strengthening Families Program (SFP 6-11) was created in 1984 for high-risk “selected or indicated” children ages 6 to 11 and their families. Growing requests led in 2004 to SFP12-16, an adaptation of SFP for high-risk teens. Resilience lessons on dreams and goals from SFP10-14 for general/universal populations were retained and adapted for higher risk youth. This program was tested on a SAMHSA/CSAT grant with youth in foster care and residential drug treatment in multiple sites in New Mexico and Utah. The Trimbos Institute also tested SFP12-16 for youth in residential drug treatment in multiple sites in the Netherlands and found positive outcomes similar to SFP6-11. A recent analysis of results in Ireland showed even larger effectiveness (effect sizes averaging d = .80) in their population of indicated youth involved in probation or mental health services. Implementations in Canada, Italy, and Thailand are expected to produce publishable results.

Core skills of SFP12-16 for parents and teens are essentially the same as in SFP6-11, but presentation, exercises, and language have been adapted for early teens. A lesson preparing parents and teens to talk about relationships and sexuality has also been added. Because teens have a more nearly adult understanding, parents and teens usually work on the same or similar skills in each session (compared to roughly half the sessions in SFP3-5 and SFP6-11).

SFP12-16 returns frequently to the theme of helping teens identify their goals and dreams and helping parents support pursuing those goals. Peer resistance skills also receive expanded treatment in SFP12-16. Peer resistance is presented as encouraging teens to make their own choices, determining what they will do and who they will be.

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