Program planning and family recruitment should begin at least two months prior to the seven week program.


Three facilitators are needed:

  • one for the parent sessions
  • two for the youth sessions

Facilitators teach from materials provided during youth, parent, and family sessions.

  • During family sessions, facilitators engage in less teaching as their role changes to facilitator and coach.
  • Each facilitator is responsible for three or four families and works with the same families each week.
  • Facilitators for SFP 10-14 should have strong presentation and facilitation skills and experience working with parents or youth and they must attend a 3-day certified training by ISU-approved National Trainers.

Schedule Facilitator Training

Professional training by Iowa State University National Trainers is required in order to be certified to facilitate the Strengthening Families Program: For Parents and Youth 10-14 (SFP 10-14) with families in your community. Get more information on scheduling a training.


A school, house of faith, or community center are appropriate locations. At least two rooms (one for youth and one for parents) are required for each session, with family sessions taking place in the larger of the two rooms.


  • Groups are scheduled with at least 5 -6 families attending. In order to achieve this number, you will want to recruit about 10 families to allow for some that may have conflicts once they have agreed. Activities will NOT work well with less than 5 or 6 youth and if some families have a conflict and you only have 2 or 3 attending, you will not have the same results.
  • Many facilitators who have taught this program have found the months of October to November or January to March to be ideal times for scheduling the necessary seven consecutive weekly classes. 
  • Many sites have found 6:00-8:00 p.m. with a family meal served at 5:30 p.m. to be a successful time to attract families. Also, Sunday late afternoon/early evening is another common time. Friday nights have been successful nights for programming with Latino families.
  • Consider sporting and school activities, religious activities, and holidays when scheduling the program.
  • The program was written to allow time for families to practice the skills learned over a 7 week period. Thus the time frame for the delivery of the program should not be shortened.

Attendance Incentives

  • Providing meals can be a powerful attendance incentive if you have funds to provide them or if you have donations from a local food establishment.  
  • Free child care may make the difference in program participation for families with younger children.
  • Transportation may be necessary for families without cars or who do not have access to public transportation.
  • Other incentives may include store coupons or gift cards for parents and/or youth. There are some small inexpensive items on the ordering page that you can use during the program and then give to them such as pens, sticky notes, stress cards, and conversation cards.

Remember -- incentives only work when participants know about them ahead of time!