Thursday, May 30, 2019
Marina Room (Hyatt Regency San Francisco)
* noted as presenting author
Family skills interventions have been promoted by the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) in line with the UNODC WHO International Standards of Drug Use Prevention for the prevention of drug use, violence and other social outcomes. Overall, these programmes support caregivers in being better parents and strengthen positive age-specific and age-appropriate family functioning and general interactions. Parental support has been shown to be a strong modifiable predictor of children’s psychological wellbeing in conflict and displacement settings, supporting a child’s adjustment not only through their individual responses but through a life-long, constant and most influential guidance. In reality though, parental support in areas of war, conflict or displacement is hampered due to separation from social groups and support networks, leaving caregivers lonely and struggling. The provision of support to parents increases children’s resilience and promote positive developmental trajectories and long-term health. The need for a public health set of evidence-based family skills interventions is recognised in reducing engagement in risky behaviours and promote positive mental health. UNODC supports, develops and promotes open-access family skills programmes worldwide and an overview and results of three different resource-intense programmes will be shown. A very light resource, a self-read leaflet, was built on the experience by the University of Manchester and was piloted on 3000 Syrian families living in a conflict zone. Slightly more resource-intense, an interactive booklet linked with a brief seminar was piloted through an RCT in Nablus, Palestine. The third, developed by the UNODC, is the Strong Families programme, an open sourced, brief family skills intervention, for vulnerable populations in low resource settings consisting of 3 sessions for caregivers and their children. It was initially piloted in Afghanistan but has now been taken ahead and will be implemented as an RCT. Further, Strong Families was piloted in Serbia with refugees stranded in transit. These interventions will be presented briefly together with preliminary results from their pilots. The presented family skills interventions offer brief, integrated support for families in humanitarian and low resource settings, enabling integrated, coherent information to be disseminated depending on local resources and needs. Feasibility of implementation through RCTs will be shown, as well as first fidelity data to ensure possible integration into other programmes and curricula and hence to guarantee sustainability at low cost in the field.