Difficulties with Strengthening Families
Hello CPWI, Tribal, and CBO partners,
I recently had an interaction with a subcontractor providing Strengthening Families for our two CPWI communities, and they shared some of the challenges associated with providing these classes. I was wondering if any of you have experienced similar challenges, and more importantly, what you might have done to overcome them.
- Childcare: Our provider offers free childcare at SF, but they struggle to find qualified and willing staff to handle this aspect. They report the behaviors of the kids are very difficult to manage, so they need two staff just for this component, and those that are often available are not sufficiently trained in how to handle children appropriately.
- Overall Staff Size: Our subcontractor tells me an SF class takes seven staff - 2 parent educators, 2 youth instructors, a coordinator, and 2 childcare. This just gets into a logistical challenge with conflicting schedules, other classes, family conflicts, health issues, etc. They often run classes short staffed, and then the quality of instruction suffers.
- Consistent Attendance: Even when they get some families to show up for the first class, they often peter out by week 2 or 3, often with no explanation as to why. I know that if the classes were truly engaging they would keep showing up, but I am wondering how others have handled consistent attendance in their communities.
This class is very popular across the state and nation, with many coalitions including it in their plans, so are these problems I mention just as common, or are we an outlier? One suggestion from my subcontractor was switching to a program like Family Matters, which is a mail-and-call program on the EBP list, as a way to increase the reach and efficiency of our parenting efforts. Has anyone made a switch like this in the past, and what prompted it? We are a fairly rural county, so perhaps they have a point.
If anyone has any advice on this, I would greatly appreciate it.
Lewis County Public Health & Social Services