Strengthening Families, Changing Lives

By Betsy Finklea
The Pee Dee Community Action Partnership’s Strengthening Families Program held a “Chat and Chew” at the City of Dillon Wellness Center recently.
Anita Stevenson Magwood, the Strengthening Families Program Manager, led the event. As the event started, “No Failure,” played in the background. The reason why this song was chosen is because there is “no failure for our families.”
Prayer was given by Pastor Larry McCallum of Hazy Grove Baptist Church.
Magwood explained that the program is under the umbrella of Pee Dee Community Action Partnership, which has always worked to help people and change lives. She said they have a dynamic group of people working in Dillon County, who are passionate about what they do. “It’s not just a job,” she said.
She said the program is what it says, “strengthening families.” She said they identify risk factors and building upon strengths in the family. They have 14 different sessions and meals are provided.
Candace Bethea, a graduate of Strengthening Families, spoke to the group about her positive experience with the program. She spoke about the methods she was taught to get the desired results out of the child. She said as a result of the methods she learned, it strengthened her bond with her children, and she noticed a change in their behavior. She said Strengthening Families was “a light for me in a dark place.”
Chevella German, site coordinator, and other staff members spoke about the benefits of the program and the importance of having both mothers and fathers involved.
Mrs. Magwood said that Strengthening Families was “good soil” and a “good investment.”
The community can support the program with donations such as cleaning supplies, gift cards, providing meals, or making other donations. Use the contact information in the box at the left to contact Mrs. Magwood about ways the public can help and get involved.

The Strengthening Families Program-6-11(SFP 6-11) is a parent and family skills training program designed to serve families with children ages 6-11. The program is designed to serve the general and at-risk families, including families experiencing parental substance use issues and child behavioral problems. SFP 6-11 aims to help parents increase their children’s protective factors, such as coping skills, and reduce their children’s risk factors, such as behavioral problems.
SFP 6-11 consists of multi-family group sessions. Before each session, families and trained group leaders have a sit-down meal together where group leaders provide support, guidance, and praise and get to know families on a more personal level. Each session contains three components: parental skills training, children’s skills training, and family skills training. During the first half of each session, parents and children meet separately for parent skills training and children’s skills training.

The goal of SFP is an evidence-based program in which families are provided the opportunity to learn, practice, and develop parenting skills from a strengths based, positive perspective. The SFP is a 14 week curriculum whereby families learn to enhance communication skills, manage difficult behaviors appropriately, and reward positive behaviors. The program is appropriate for all families and has proven successful in various demographic areas across the nation. The SFP encourages families to engage in a safe, nurturing environment. Over the course of the program, participants are provided a nutritious, home style meal, transportation to and from the program, and incentives to remain involved. SFP enables families to learn, grow, and establish healthy bonds amongst themselves and others. Demographics Target Settings: Urban, rural, suburban. Target Groups Served: Target groups served are families with at least one child between the ages of 6-11 years old. Siblings of the 6-11 year olds are encouraged to attend and child care is provided for them during the program. PDCAP is currently serving Marion and Dillon Counties. Any additional funding could expand current sites’ work or be used to target under-served, rural counties for implementation of the Strengthening Families Program.
Research and Evaluation: SFP is rated at the top of the list for parenting curricula by international and national review groups including the prestigious World Health Organization, Cochrane Collaboration Reviews in Oxford, United Nations Office of Drugs and Crimes in Vienna, White House, National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) Sponsor of the initial SFP research, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP).
Evaluation: Evidence shows the SFP is successful for families. Outcomes include increased family strength and resilience and reduced risk factors for problem behaviors in high risk children, including behavioral problems, emotional, academic and social problems. SFP is now widely used as a universal primary prevention intervention in schools, churches and communities offering SFP, hoping thereby to attract more high risk families. SFP builds on protective factors by improving family relationships, parenting skills, improving the youth’s social and life skills. Randomized control trials and health services research also showed positive results in reducing substance abuse and delinquency risk factors by improving family relations.

Children’s Trust of South Carolina is now partnering with Pee Dee Community Action Partnership (PDCAP) to deliver the Strengthening Families Program (SFP) in Dillon County. Strengthening Families Program is a nationally and internationally recognized evidence-based program that works closely with families to teach effective parenting techniques that reduce problem behaviors and conflict through positive discipline. Through a partnership with The Duke Endowment and the S.C. Department of Social Services, Children’s Trust is providing multi-year funding to the PDCAP along with designated partners to deliver program sessions and work with families in their respective communities.
Here is what our SFP Program provides:
—14 weekly educational skills training sessions for both parents and their children age 6-11
—Child care services for non-participating children
—A delicious family meal during each training session
—Transportation provided for families, if needed
—Prizes and program incentives i.e., gift cards, gas cards, household items, etc.
—Incentives for families who successfully complete and graduate from the program by attending 12 or more training sessions
—Incentives for families with perfect attendance attending all 14 sessions.
—A maximum of 15 families will be allowed to participate during this cycle.
SFP is a program of Children’s Trust of South Carolina, funded in partnership with the Department of Social Services and The Duke Endowment.

Children’s Trust of South Carolina is the only statewide organization focused on the prevention of child abuse, neglect and injury. The organization trains and educates professionals who work directly with families, and it funds, supports and monitors proven prevention programs. Children’s Trust is the voice for South Carolina’s children and advocates for strong, well-founded policies that positively impact child well-being. Children’s Trust is home to Prevent Child Abuse South Carolina. KIDS COUNT South Carolina and Safe Kids South Carolina.

For information regarding referrals, donations
and volunteer efforts, contact:
Anita Stevenson Magwood
Program Manager
803-269-8136 or 843-678-3404, Ext 114.

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