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Program aims to support families, reduce risks

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Parenting, under the best circumstances is a tough job. Raising a family while serving in the military presents its own challenges. To help families meet and overcome those challenges a new prevention program, Family Check-Up, is offered through the Family Advocacy Outreach Program.

The Family Check-Up is an evidence-based family support program motivating parents to engage in parenting practices supporting child and adolescent competence and mental health. The program also helps reduce risks for substance use.

Dr. Martina Porter, Family Advocacy Program manager, said positive behavioral support and reinforcement are offered through the program. The exact direction and what is addressed is different for each family. A series of three assessment meetings take place in the family's home to determine needs and what exactly the family wants to work on, Porter explained.

"It is important in parenting practices that the parent chooses what they want to work on," she added. "Research shows that's more successful. We provide guidance and it's up to the family to follow through."

Following the assessment meetings families can choose to move on to the Every Day Parenting Program, an individualized, in-home family therapy. During those sessions the family works on things like parenting techniques, positive behaviors, and helping to set healthy limits. It is designed to build parenting skills and reduce existing problems. This portion involves an additional three to 15 direct contact hours.

"It's based on their practical needs. It's very interactive," Porter said.

Any family with a child between the ages of three and 17 is eligible to participate. The FCU is designed to promote mission readiness by strengthening parenting skills and enhancing family resilience.

Over the last two decades the findings of several studies link the FCU to early childhood outcomes such as reductions in child problem behavior, emotional distress, decrease in maternal depression, and increases in positive parenting. During adolescence the program shows a reduction in problem behavior, long-term arrest rates, and substance use over time. It also increases parental monitoring, student achievement, and school engagement.

For further information or to schedule a family check-up contact the Peterson Family Advocacy Program at 556-7023.

Peterson SFB Schriever SFBCheyenne Mountain SFSThule AB New Boston SFS Kaena Point SFS Maui