The First Strengthening Families Program

The first Strengthening Families Program was developed by Karol Kumpfer at the University of Utah and deemed effective by the National Institute of Drug Abuse in the early 1980s. The original version was created for children ages 6-11. Since that time the Utah Strengthening Families Program has been modified for younger children (ages 3-5) and young teens (ages 13-17).

Iowa Strengthening Families Program for Parents and Youth 10-14

Researchers and Extension faculty Virginia Molgaard at Iowa State University collaborated to adapt and study SFP for families with early adolescents (SFP for Parents and Youth 10-14). Extensive research on the Iowa version of the program has demonstrated that it is effective in delaying adolescents’ use of alcohol and tobacco; reducing aggression; and improving parents’ family management skills.

Dissemination of Strengthening Families Program in Washington

In 1999, Extension faculty at Washington State University identified early adolescence as a priority area for new programming. They adopted SFP for Parents and Youth 10-14 because it was an evidence-based program, developed by Extension faculty and considered a model or exemplary program by several federal agencies.

WSU then trained over 400 facilitators from 29 Washington Counties. We collected program evaluation data from well over 100 programs and over 2000 parents and youth. In 2003 an interagency team was formed with representatives of the Division of Alcohol and Substance Abuse (DASA), the Family Policy Council, Community Technology and Economic Development (CTED), the Department of Health, and a number of Educational School Districts. In 2004 the Spanish-language version of the program was incorporated nto the dissemination effort.

Highlights of SFP with WSU Extension


  • WSU Extension educators Drew Betz & Chris Koehler trained by SFP developers (Lee and Virginia Molgaard)


  • First programs implemented, first facilitator trainings conducted by Chris and Drew


  • WSU team formed to coordinate dissemination and evaluation of SFP in Washington


  • First WSU evaluations conducted and reported


  • First presentation of SFP data at national conference of the Society for Prevention Research
  • First meeting of State Interagency team


  • First training for Spanish-language version of SFP


  • DASA grant awarded
  • WSU, SFP & CTED combine evaluation efforts
  • Joint Spanish-English facilitator training in Yakima


  • Second joint Spanish-English facilitator training in Yakima
  • New website up and running
  • (WSU version of Spanish-language SFP manual published: November)
  • (Updated SFP videos issued by Iowa State University: December)


  • Iowa State University (ISU) issues curriculum revision
  • WSU SFP Facilitator Trainers recertified
  • WSU and ISU look critically at fidelity; retraining Washington State SFP facilitators


  • AnaMaria Diaz Martinez certified as an ISU SFP Master Trainer


  • AnaMaria Diaz Martinez has been instrumental in updating the Familias Fuertes curriculum with PAHO for ISU.