Strengthening Families, Strengthening Communities (SFSC) is an inclusive evidence-based parenting programme, designed to promote protective factors which are associated with good parenting and better outcomes for children.

SFSC has enjoyed success with parents from a number of backgrounds, including black and minority ethnic parents, teenaged parents, parents with learning disabilities and parents from marginalised communities, including those with experience of drugs, alcohol or violence. The programme has been extensively evaluated and has received the CANparent Quality Mark.

About the programme

Strengthening Families, Strengthening Communities (SFSC) is a 13 week parenting programme, which has been used extensively to reach, retain and have an impact on parents from marginalised communities, including black and minority ethnic parents, teenaged parents and fathers.

SFSC is a universal programme, which helps parents with children aged up to 18 years to think about how their actions and experiences may influence their parenting style.

In particular, SFSC helps parents to:

  • Gain a better understanding of child development
  • Use positive discipline techniques
  • Promote children’s social skills and self-discipline
  • Achieve positive change in family relationships
  • Explore and develop strategies to deal with factors that risk poor outcomes for children, such as harsh and/or inconsistent discipline
SFSC draws on social learning theory and uses interactive learning methods, such as encouraging parents to share their experiences and values and undertaking practical activities practiced in the session and then implemented at home.
Fidelity is ensured through a structured quality assurance process which includes data collection (demographic and impact evidence), the collation of an evidence portfolio and/or observations by our team of experienced Programme Officers.

The online six week Strengthening Families parenting programme gives a taster of some of the issues and techniques covered in the full 13 week Strengthening Families, Strengthening Communities programme.

We offer three programmes each based on a different age group: birth to 6; 7-11, and 12 years upwards. The individual learning sessions run alongside weekly facilitated online discussions ensure that parents can cover experiential elements of the SFSC programme, and give opportunities to share the challenges and successes that they have undergone in parenting.

The online programme is not a replacement for the SFSC programme, but is instead meant as an introduction to the parenting techniques from the 13 week programme. It may be suitable for parents who have struggled to attend more traditional parenting programmes, due to work, study, or distance from programme venues.  The online course might also suit parents who lack the confidence to join a face-to-face group. The course costs £100.

To find out more and register for the online course please click here.

The Strengthening Families, Strengthening Communities programme is structured into five component areas. Information from the different component areas is integrated throughout the 13 sessions of the curriculum.

    • SFSC seeks to assist parents and children in understanding the family/cultural components that influence their beliefs, values and behaviour. Parents and children are encouraged to reconnect to positive aspects of their past as a way of assisting them to develop the strength and motivation they may need to achieve healthy lifestyles.
    • SFSC provides parents with information and activities to assist their children’s development in ten ‘rite of passage’ areas (personal, spiritual, physical, mental, cultural, historical, emotional, economic, social and political). This allows them to acquire the social competencies they need to successfully make the transition from childhood to adulthood.
    • This component area consists of three separate topic areas:
      • Enhancing the Parent–Child Relationship
      • Developmental Information
      • Violence Prevention Techniques

      The programme presents a variety of positive communication strategies and information that prepare parents to ‘respond’ instead of ‘react’ to their children’s attitudes and behaviours.

    • The SFSC programme helps parents to understand how they can use a variety of different techniques by reviewing a process of discipline to help children develop high self-esteem, self-discipline and social competence.This component area can be broken into three segments:
      • Increasing Respectful Behaviour
      • Parent and Child ‘Choices’
      • Decreasing Disrespectful Behaviour
    • The SFSC programme seeks to enhance parent awareness of:
      • violence against the self (drugs/alcohol, depression/suicide)
      • violence against the family (child abuse, domestic violence and abuse)
      • violence in the community (gangs, crime)

      To empower parents to become more involved in community violence prevention efforts, parents are guided in accessing and utilising community resources and in developing leadership skills to actively participate in community groups which promote violence-free, healthy lifestyles.

Programme delivery

In order to effectively deliver SFSC managers and commissioners need to be aware both of the fidelity requirements of the programme as well as what needs to be in place to make sure programmes are successful.

Once a week For
3 hours 13 weeks
2 facilitators 8-12 participants
Learn more

Quality assurance & support

Quality assurance processes apply to all programmes, taking place through some or all of the following:

  • phone calls from members of the SFSC team
  • a paper data collection exercise
  • a self assessment portfolio
  • and/or programme observations

Programme observations, whilst being the preferred method of assessing standards have been met are now only offered as part of paid for packages or as a result of a random sample of programmes observed each term.

Race Equality Foundation offers a range of support to ensure successful delivery of SFSC and the most positive experience for facilitators and parents alike.

Evidence and evaluation

There is a great deal of evidence on the efficacy of the SFSC programme, from research reports based on pre- and post-test measures, to qualitative studies involving video. SFSC has received the CANparent Quality Mark.

How do we measure impact?
A significant number of the written studies are based on data collected from each programme. This includes:

  • demographic data on all parents
  • pre and post-test questionnaire responses
  • facilitator reports reviewing programmes

In addition, studies have been produced using other measures including a number of standardised measures such as the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ).

What is the impact of SFSC?
Studies using data gathered from pre- and post-test questionnaires completed by parents have reported statistically significant change in:

  • parents’ self-esteem
  • parents’ confidence in their parenting
  • family relationships
  • relationships with children
  • child’s self-esteem
  • their child’s ability to control their own behaviour
Learn more


The following resources are available from the Race Equality Foundation order line:

  • Parent Manuals are £13 each and come in a number of formats and community languages including:
    • Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Farsi, French, Gujarati, Polish, Punjabi, Somali, Spanish, Turkish, Urdu, Vietnamese
    • Large print and easy words and pictures.
  • Large A1 laminated delivery posters
    • Building blocks
    • Process of discipline
    • Foundational circles
  • DVDs (suitable for recruitment and information provision)

Please use the order line 0207 428 1880 or complete and return the SFSC materials order form to Angela Azubuike.