In 2014/2015, the Saskatoon Police Service began a collaborative process with relevant stakeholders to look at a prevention initiative for children, youth and families who were at risk of criminality and gang activity. At that time, this group of concerned public service agencies called themselves “The Early Intervention” committee.
The initial committee included: The City of Saskatoon, Saskatoon Police Service, Child and Family Program-Ministry of Social Services, Saskatoon Health Region, Saskatoon Public Schools and Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools.
Through diligent research, the committee determined that the evidence-based Strengthening Families Program™ (SFP), developed by Dr. Karol Kumpfer met their goals of prevention for vulnerable children, youth and families. The Saskatoon committee then undertook the task of applying for funding from the National Crime Prevention Centre (NCPC).
The Strengthening Families Program™ has been successfully implemented in over 35 countries. This family focused model encourages improvements in caregiver, children and youth interactions. The program will attempt to improve social competencies and school performance among the child and youth participants.
The program will encourage improvements in social and life skills for all family members. Other improvements are excepted in the areas of caregiver/youth relationships, family cohesion and parenting skills.
Families participate in a 14 week program that is held one evening a week. Sessions focus on three key components.
Child and Youth Classes:
- Communication skills to improve caregiver, peer, and teacher relationships;
- Resilience skills;
- Peer resistance;
- Anger management; and
- Coping skills.
Parenting classes include:
- Mentoring caregivers to interact positively with youth;
- Caregivers communicate using active listening and learn to reduce criticism;
- Establishing family meetings to improve order and organization; and
- Discipline techniques including consequences and time-outs.
Family classes include:
- Allow caregivers and youth time to practice what they learned in their individual sessions; and
- Facilitators to coach and encourage family members while they make improvements in caregiver/youth interactions.