Program Goals/Target Population
The Family Solutions Program (FSP) is a family intervention program designed to establish positive family influences on at-risk youth behavior and build social skills for youth well-being in preparation for a successful adulthood. The goal of the FSP is to help first-time juvenile offenders and their families find solutions, in a group setting, to family conflict and poor decision-making that will prevent repeat criminal behavior and improve personal and family well-being. FSP promotes group social support and community networking, successful parenting practices, and skill-building such as anger management and improved decision-making. The FSP is an intervention that involves the immediate and extended family of the targeted child.
Program Activities/Key Personnel
Eligibility of targeted youth for the program is determined by either the adjudication process in juvenile court, informal adjustment by juvenile justice staff, or school personnel addressing truancy. Participation is primarily based on parent willingness to attend with the target child and ability to participate in a multiple-family group experience. A risk assessment is administered by either the referral source or FSP representative to establish baseline data for evaluation and to help FSP Certified Leaders become familiar with the characteristics of the families referred.
FSP consists of 10 weekly 2-hour sessions in a multiple-family group intervention (MFGI) format. MFGI typically consists of three phases: (1) creating conditions for a learning laboratory including group formation and trust-emotional support; (2) group-involvement through role plays, activities and discussions, breakout skill building and exploration, and homework; and (3) closure, celebration, and future-planning.
The FSP structure is approximately 6–8 families and two FSP Certified Group Co-leaders. College interns or adult volunteers can supplement the group composition to assist leaders. The FSP group co-leaders are guided by an FSP Leader Manual including session topics, goals and objectives, description of activities, suggested group discussion questions, materials needed, and case illustrations. Families receive a Family Notebook in which they compile materials distributed by FSP co-leaders in each session. Leaders are required to have a college degree in a human service or social science discipline. In addition to learning the FSP Leader Manual, FSP leaders are trained in specific group techniques on managing a MFGI including time management, negative emotion of a participant, FSP session content, and evaluation procedures.
FSP session topics focus on building a support system within the group, family cooperation, building family–school partnerships, parenting skills including monitoring and communication, family contracting, anger-management skills, the process of good decision-making, community service, and graduation (session 10). FSP co-leaders can select optional topics from the FSP Leader Manual as appropriate for the group members including: gang awareness, healthy relationships, career planning, and positive parenting.
14 to 17
Quinn and Van Dyke (2004) found that 19.9 percent of Family Solutions Program (FSP) completers reoffended compared with 36.6 percent of FSP dropouts and 54.7 percent of probation comparison youths. Bivariate analysis showed the differences were statistically significant.
Logistical regression analysis also found that juvenile offenders in the FSP program were significantly less likely to reoffend. Youths on probation were 9.3 times as likely to reoffend as youths who were referred to FSP and completed the program. In addition, probation youth were 4.4 times as likely to reoffend as youths who were referred to FSP but dropped out of the program.
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