Strengthening Families Program I (SFP-I)

Prevention; Ages 6–12


(Read the criteria for this rating)
  • Effective delinquency program

Risk Factors

Antisocial/delinquent beliefs
Conduct disorders (authority conflict/rebellious/stubborn/disruptive/antisocial)
General delinquency involvement
High alcohol/drug use
Antisocial parents
Child maltreatment (abuse or neglect)
Delinquent siblings
Family violence (child maltreatment, partner violence, conflict)
Having a teenage mother
High parental stress/maternal depression
Low parental attachment to child/adolescent
Parental use of physical punishment/harsh and/or erratic discipline practices
Poor parental supervision (control, monitoring, and child management)
Poor parent-child relations or communication
Frequent school transitions
Frequent truancy/absences/suspensions; expelled from school; dropping out of school
Identified as learning disabled
Low academic aspirations
Low achievement in school
Low school attachment/bonding/motivation/commitment to school
Old for grade/repeated a grade
Poor student-teacher relations
Poorly defined rules and expectations for appropriate conduct
Student failure in the first grade


The Strengthening Families Program I (SFP-I) involves elementary school-aged children and their families in family skills training sessions. SFP was originally developed and tested in 1983 with 6- to 12-year-old children of parents in substance abuse treatment. Since then, culturally modified versions with new manuals have been evaluated and found effective for families with diverse backgrounds: African-American, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic/Latino, Native American, Canadian, and Australian. SFP is also now widely used with non-substance-abusing parents in elementary schools, faith communities, housing communities, mental health centers, jails, homeless shelters, protective service agencies, and social and family services agencies.

SFP uses family systems and cognitive-behavioral approaches to increase resilience and reduce risk factors for behavioral, emotional, academic, and social problems. Incentives are offered for attendance, good behavior in children, and homework completion to increase program recruitment and participation.

Results include:

  • Improved resilience, assets, and protective factors in children and parents.
  • Decreased risk factors in parents and children.
  • Decreased children’s behavioral problems and conduct disorders.
  • Improved family cohesion, communication, and organization.
  • Decreased family conflict and stress.

Details of outcome studies are available at the Strengthening Families Program Web site:


Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Model program

National Institute on Drug Abuse: Model program

OJJDP Blueprints Project: Promising program


Karol Kumpfer, Ph.D
Department of Health Promotion and Education
University of Utah
250 South, 1850 East, Room 215
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0920
Phone: (801) 581-7718
Fax: (801) 581-5872
Web site:


Kumpfer, K. L., and Alvarado, R. (1998). “Effective Family Strengthening Interventions.” Juvenile Justice Bulletin. Washington, DC: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

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