Blue Ribbon Foundation supports strengthening families program

| 29 Sep 2011 | 09:28

MILFORD - Penn State Cooperative Extension recently won a $42,000 grant to implement the Strengthening Families Program for Parents and Youth 10-14 in 2006-2007. The Blue Ribbon Foundation grant covers Carbon, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe and Pike counties. Strengthening Families is a seven week program designed to reduce adolescent substance abuse and other problematic behaviors in youth who are transitioning from middle school to high school. In tests, kids who completed the program were less likely to become involved in risky behaviors like drug and alcohol abuse. The free program includes dinner for the family, incentives for attendance and free child care for younger children. Parents and children begin each Strengthening Families session with a shared meal followed by break out sessions for adults and youth. During the last hour the families reunite to increase family bonding, positive communication skills and learn to solve problems together. Children learn to: prepare for their teen years, communicate with their parents, deal with stress and peer pressure, and avoid alcohol and drug problems. Parents and caregivers learn to set limits and show love, make house rules, encourage good behavior, protect their children from substance abuse, and handle stress. Economic analyses indicate that each $1 invested in alcohol prevention through partnership-based delivery of the Strengthening Families program could return an estimated $9.60 saving to society. These savings come from the reduced need for costly mental health, juvenile justice, and substance use rehabilitation treatment services. The program is coordinated by community-based teams that include: Penn State Cooperative Extension team leaders, school personnel, representatives from community service agencies, parents, youth, and other community stakeholders. Abuse. For more information, contact the Pike County Cooperative Extension office at 570-296-3400 .