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The Strengthening Families Programme: Prevention of drug use, HIV/AIDS and crime amongst youth through family skills training programmes in low- and middle-income countries

The Strengthening Families Programme (SFP 10-14) that UNODC-ROPAN is implementing in Central American and the Caribbean is based on scientific evidence that proves the effectiveness of targeting parents and adolescents to prevent drug abuse, crime and other risk behaviours in youth. This programme was initiated in Panama, and then extended to the other countries of the region, in particular Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic, with the aim of contributing to the ongoing efforts in the fields of drug prevention, HIV/AIDS, and crime amongst the juvenile population through the participation of the family as a fundamental unit in prevention programmes.

"Strengthening Families Programme" is directed at parents with children between the ages of 10 and 14. The programme consists of a curriculum of skills development for parents, adolescents and the family as a whole, divided into seven sessions which employ the use of videos, analysis workshops, educational games and family activities.

The programme was designed by the University of Iowa, United States, adapted for Latin America by the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) and implemented under the stewardship of UNODC ROPAN to ensure that the project produces results by building the capacity of local institutions to develop, implement, monitor and evaluate family skills training programmes.

Special attention has also been paid to strengthening the capacities of both governmental and non-governmental organizations to allow family-oriented prevention programmes like the SFP 10-14 to be sustainable over a long period of time.

This programme is being implemented in accordance with the UNODC International Standards on Drug Use Prevention in Panama, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic with satisfactory results.