Wednesday, May 29, 2019
Pacific D/L (Hyatt Regency San Francisco)
* noted as presenting author
Family is undoubtedly one of the most influential social institutions. Specific parental faculties and functions are particularly important in preventing negative social outcomes, however require proper implementation, orientation and practice through training. A growing number of families is living in challenged and humanitarian settings with very few programmes availed to support a harmonious family relationship for those living in such circumstances, despite the dire and imminent need. In line with the UNODC WHO International Standards on Drug Use Prevention, the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC), together with experts in the field, recently developed a family skills programme (Strong Families) to target families living in challenged settings. Strong Families provides an evidence-based public health intervention that has been proven to effectively benefit the mental health of children from both genders as well as their parents. This prevention programme is designed to be cost-effective and was conceived to be easily adaptable in low resource settings. It was initially piloted in Afghanistan but has now been piloted in Serbia with refugees stranded in transit and in Zanzibar and in the Dominican Republic in remote and difficult accessible areas. The same pilot methodology has been applied in all countries via 3 brief parental, child and joint family sessions delivered through trained facilitators. The same data collection tools have been used to obtain demographic data as well as baseline, 2 week and 6 weeks follow up assessment of parenting practices and family adjustment and children’s assessment of emotional and conduct problems, hyperactivity, peer problems and prosocial behaviour. These indicators have been found proxies to assess the long-term impact of the programme such as reduction in violence, substance use, risky behaviour and improved mental health for caregivers and their children.
The methodology and the first results will be presented. Focus will be placed on the presentation of key issues preventing groups of people from receiving adequate prevention interventions due to their ethnic group, socioeconomic status, geographic location, gender and/or living circumstance due to migration. The feasibility of adaptation and implementation will be shown with the aim to encourage policy makers in low resourced and challenged settings worldwide to consider the implementation of this (cost-)effective intervention. This aligns with international humanitarian principles and approaches to strengthening families in such settings worldwide.