Evidence-Based Family Skills Training Program in Central Asia
UNODC global project "Prevention of drug use, HIV/AIDS and crime among young people through family skills training programmes" implemented in three geographical regions: Central Asia (4 countries: Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan), Central America (Panama) and South East Europe (Albania and Serbia). The project donors are Sweden, USA, France Japan and Spain. As a result of a review of existing, evidence-based family skills training programmes, UNODC has selected Families and School Together (FAST) programme to be implemented through GLOK01 in Central Asia. FAST was chosen for its qualities such as adaptability and suitability for the region as well as for the long, rigorous research evidence that the programme is based on. FAST is an after-school multi-family group programme offered for eight weeks to all children within the same grade and their families. The multisystem intervention brings together family, home, school and community to increase child well-being by strengthening relationships and factors that protect against stress. Under the programme, the whole family comes to the school building after school hours to take part in family activities and share a family meal. In Central Asia activities are undertaken in collaboration with the Governmental counterparts concerned. Depending on the country, the Ministries of Health and/or Education are partnering in the plan of action through selection of a representative to be part of the national cultural adaptation teams, assist in selection and mediation with schools and selection of the facilitators. They are being supported by UNODC ROCA in translating and systematically adapting FAST program to fit the local culture and language. Team of International Consultants led by developer of the FAST educational program Ms. Lynn McDonald, (Professor of Social Work Research at Middlesex University, Great Britain, London) was contracted by UNODC to support setting up the program, deliver training to team members and the staff and the supervisors of the local implementing agencies on supervising implementation of the program, provide support throughout programme implementation (including emails, teleconferences and possible video conferences etc. The first phase of the project, which will be completed by the end of 2011, consists of two implementation cycles. To date three Central Asian countries Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan have completed activities planned for both implementation cycles (autumn sessions 2010 and spring sessions 2011). As Turkmenistan joined the project in December 2010 by the end of May the first implementation cycle was successfully conducted. For the purpose of the first cycle of implementation in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, 48 family facilitators (16 in each country) have been recruited and trained to deliver the program. The training was over a period of 5 days facilitated by the developer of FAST (September - October, 2010). During the first cycle, the family facilitators reached 122 families, (369 family members) to benefit from programme. The programme was delivered over 8 weeks at a rate of one day a week in 6 pilot schools (2 per each country) . 24 professionals (schools teachers and psychologists), parent partners and members of cultural-adaptation group who participated in the first cycle were trained as Intern-FAST Trainers, under the supervision of FAST certified supervisors (January, 2011). For the purpose of the second cycle of implementation in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, 64 family facilitators have been recruited and trained by 16 Intern-FAST Trainers under the supervision of FAST certified supervisors. During the second cycle, the family facilitators reached 160 families (508 family members) to benefit from programme. The programme was delivered over 8 weeks at a rate of one day a week in 7 pilot schools. For the purpose of the first cycle of implementation in Turkmenistan, 16 family facilitators have been recruited and trained to deliver the material. During the first cycle, the family facilitators reached 40 families, (113 family members) to benefit from programme. The programme was delivered in 2 pilot schools.