Strengthening Hawai`i Families (SHF)
CDFH’s Strengthening Hawai`i Families (SHF) program offers culturally relevant learning for children ages 8-11 and their families. The program works with the entire family to clarify values, improve parenting skills, and build family cohesion aimed at supporting resilience against substance abuse and related problems. SHF brings family members together to help them discover what works best for them. Parents, siblings, grandparents, aunties, uncles, and/or anyone considered part of their ohana are encouraged to attend. A team of four facilitators work with a group of 6 to 10 families to cover: exploring and practicing family values; cultural and generational continuity; goal-setting; personal and family resilience; communication; problem-solving; anger management; and wellness including substance abuse prevention and healthy lifestyle choices.
SHF is presented in 14 consecutive weekly sessions, each two and a half hours. The SHF program includes three training components: parent training, children’s skills training, and family skills training. Each session begins with the parents and children together for energizer activities, multicultural stories, goal and objectives, meals, and family skills training. Then the parents and children meet separately in their respective training groups for additional activities and skills training. The session ends with the parents and children reconvening to share what they learned, practice skills, and bond with other families.
SHF is an evidence-based program recognized as a Model Program in the Strengthening America’s Families: Effective Family Programs for Prevention of Delinquency publication listed in SAMHSA’s Guide to Evidence-Based Practices on the Web. CDFH adapted SHF from the exemplary Strengthening Families Program developed by Karol Kumpfer and Joseph DeMarsh (1985). The University of Hawaii conducted research and evaluation of the SHF program. The most recent findings indicate that when compared to parents who did not receive training, those who completed the SHF program reported significantly greater family cohesion and organization, less family conflict, more effective parenting skills, greater emotional control, and enjoyed a more satisfying life than parents in the no-treatment comparison group (Kameoka, Mobley, Thai, and Valdez, 2004).
The Strengthening Hawai`i Families program is age and developmentally appropriate and provides a cultural framework that allows communities to easily and effectively adapt and implement the program for diverse populations. A values- and assets-based program, SHF is appropriate for families in multicultural groups, inclusive and embracing of all ages, gender, ethnic, cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds.