Five years of ‘strengthening families’

2018-09-25 06:01

More than 1076 families have participated in the Strengthening Families programme, an initiative hosted by City of Cape Town’s Social Development and Early Childhood Development Department.

The programme, which includes working with both child and parent to recognise the value of familial relationships, was first piloted in Cape Town in April 2013 when 63 families from Scottsdene, Elsies River, Manenberg, Lavender Hill and Bonteheuwel attended the course.

The eight-week course comprises 10 sessions and uses practical and interactive methods to broach topics like love and limits, house rules, encouraging good behaviour, and consequences.

It also teaches children how to have goals and dreams, how to appreciate their parents, how to deal with stress, how to resist peer pressure and how to associate themselves with good friends.

The programme aims to assist parents in understanding their children better and thus help prevent their children from falling into antisocial behaviour and activities.

Another layer that has been added in the City’s execution of the programme is to secure temporary work opportunities for some of the parents through the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP).

“This programme is one of the City’s many social crime and substance abuse interventions. Very often problems at home are blamed for social ills such as substance abuse, gang involvement, truancy and other negative behaviours,” explains JP Smith, Mayco member for safety, security and social services.

“This programme starts at the root. It aims to improve relationships and the overall climate in the home environment and build resilience in young people so that they are able to make good life choices.”

The before and after assessments comprise 54 questions which are grouped into four themes, namely “My child and I”, “Disciplining tactics”, “Child’s behaviour” and “Child’s behaviour toward others”.

The evaluations reflect notable improvements in positive responses around behavioural change in parents and children, as well as improved communication skills and quality time spent together. “A child who is guided along the right path and who receives care and attention at home is less likely to become a problematic adult,” adds Smith.

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