Strong Extended Families (SEF)

Colorado State University Extension’s DARE to be You program announces a newgrandparent with toddler curriculum (Strong Extended Families) to support youth living with extended family because of methamphetamine (meth) and other substance addictions of their parents. DARE to be You has a long history of developing and evaluating curriculum for families.

Strong Extended Families is a four-unit, eight-hour family-based curriculum.  A two-volume set of curriculum is available for purchase for $35 plus shipping and handling. (Order Form) Contact us at 970-491-2666 or susan.sidinger@colostate.edu if this is the curriculum you have been looking for!  Training is provided upon request.

One of the most rapidly moving social problems that families and public agencies face today is the rapid increase in addiction to methamphetamines and the devastating effects addiction has on the children and families of addicted young adults.  It is such a rapidly emerging problem that even finding firm statistics on the issue is difficult.  

In 2000 in the USA, 4.5 million children lived with their grandparents, up 30% from 1990.  In rural states that have collected this data (Montana, Iowa and Oregon), the majority of foster care cases are due to meth usage.  The burden of care is falling heavily on the parents (and other family members) of meth-addicted young parents. These adults then end up raising their grandchildren as well as dealing with the addiction issues of their own children.  The situation facing the grandparents is obviously complex and varies widely among family situations.  Many agencies across the state are struggling to catch up with the growing problem.  Grandparents raising grandchildren, especially in meth affected families, is a rapidly growing, underserved population. Our goal is to provide a solid, research-based foundation for communities to support the youth and their grandparents. 

A module containing four workshops, 2 to 2 ½ hours each, has been developed with separate tracks for adult family members (grandparents and other kin raising children) and the youth in the families.  For adult family members the curriculum covers:

  • basic grandparenting skills in the 21st century including communication and limit setting;
  • special issues for the meth-addicted young adults and for grandchildren who have experienced the trauma of living in a meth house, or with any type of addiction;
  • understanding addictions, and specifically meth addictions, and surviving family addictions;
  • building a support system among trained professionals and other affected grandparents.

Children in this situation are considered as a high-risk population. They have often experienced a highly disorganized household under their meth addicted parents, self-esteem issues (they often blame themselves for the family problems), and/or disruption of normal school routines which interferes with school success. Therefore, a developmentally appropriate module for children has been developed to be used with family-based programs.  The lessons and activities cover building on personal strengths, self-management, communication, problem solving, understanding addictions and family roles. Both the grandparents and children must have information, skills and support to achieve the best possible outcomes for the children in these families.  Strong Extended Families is designed for use with existing family-based programs (i.e., DARE to be You), other parent training programs, or as a “stand alone” program for use by community-based meth task forces and coalitions.  

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