Development of the Strengthening Families, Strengthening Communities programme

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Strengthening Families, Strengthening Communities: An Inclusive Parent Programme is the UK version of an American programme called Strengthening Multi-Ethnic Families and Communities: A Violence Prevention Parent Training Program.

This page provides background information on the development of the programme.

Programme development in the United States

Strengthening Multi-Ethnic Families and Communities: A Violence Prevention Parent Training Program was an outgrowth of a programme originally developed in America in 1990.

Four professionals came together to train selected instructors to implement a parent programme that would address parent needs from within a cultural perspective.

  • Jerry Tello developed the Cultural/spiritual component. His focus on the positive development of family identity, rituals, customs and traditions guided us as we addressed the cultural and spiritual needs of various ethnic communities.
  • Ronald F. Johnson developed the Rites of Passage component, a modification of the programme that was introduced within the high schools.
  • Marilyn K. Marigna contributed the Community Involvement component, based on the Community Prevention Framework designed by the Office of Substance Abuse Prevention.
  • Marilyn L. Steele modified and integrated standard parent–child communication strategies, proven behaviourally based child management techniques, and basic anger management skills into the Process of Discipline component and the Enhancing Relationships component.

When this one-year project ended, Marilyn Steele and Marilyn Marigna developed a formal curriculum (Community Based Parent Training: A Violence Prevention Program, 1992) to integrate all component areas and to expand the focus on violence to include domestic violence and abuse, child abuse, juvenile crime, gang involvement, and drug/alcohol use. After one and a half years of piloting, Marilyn Steele enhanced the cultural component, integrated developmental information throughout the programme, expanded the number of sessions, revised and expanded facilitator training materials, developed parent pre-/post-evaluation instruments, and changed the name to Strengthening Multi-Ethnic Families and Communities: A Violence Prevention Parent Training Program.

Programme development in the United Kingdom

In 1999, the Race Equality Foundation (then known as the Race Equality Unit, REU) was awarded a grant by the Home Office to review existing materials around parenting and to develop parenting materials appropriate and sensitive to the needs of black and minority ethnic parents. The REU reviewed a range of parenting programmes both in the United Kingdom and in the United States and identified the ‘Strengthening’ model as one which could be adapted to meet the needs of Britain’s black and minority ethnic communities.

The programme has been adapted in consultation with Dr Marilyn Steele and a group of parents and professionals. The first facilitator training took place in the United Kingdom in February 2000 and the first set of parent programmes were delivered during the spring and summer of 2000 and these have fed into the development process. The programme was renamed for the United Kingdom and is called Strengthening Families, Strengthening Communities: An Inclusive Parent Programme (the SFSC programme).

The programme materials have been further developed since 2000 with the production of a number of translated Parent Manuals and materials produced in braille, large print and easy words and pictures (for use with parents with learning disabilities). In addition, a number of supplementary resources and training packages have been developed to support delivery of the SFSC programme to parents of young children, parents living in areas affected by gun, gang and knife crime, and parents of children affected by ASD.

In 2009 the website Strengthening Practice was launched to support the development of good practise within the programme.

In 2012. the first SFSC online programme was developed and serves as an introduction to the programme for parents of under fives.