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.
The SHF program can be presented in a workshop series consisting of five to seven weekly sessions. The series is geared to the target population with each session lasting two and a half hours. Like the 14-week curriculum, the series includes three components: parent training, children’s skills training, and family skills training. Sessions begin with the parents and children together for energizer activities, multicultural stories, goals/objectives, dinner, and family skills activities. Parents and children then attend separate sessions for learning activities and skills training. The entire group reconvenes at the end to share what they learned, practice skills, and bond with other families. The learning activities enable families to clarify family-cultural values that form the foundation for family practices; develop skills specific to children, parents, and the family; and strengthening family relationships. The concepts and skills taught in SHF, together with the process of reflection, awareness, and learning from each other will enable families to translate their values into the practice of building strong families.
SHF Family Nights are tailored for the community or population to be served, with each session lasting two and a half hours. Family Night offers children and families opportunities for positive family involvement and bonding activities. Family Nights follow the same format as SHF sessions and feature sample SHF activities and family games such as ‘ohana bingo with incentives such as dinner, giveaways, and family prizes. It is a time when children can enjoy the caring, nurturing, and fun culture of the SHF program; parents/caregivers can find mutual support from other parents/caregivers; and families can connect with SHF facilitators, project staff, and staff from other partner agencies.