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IMPORTANT LEGACY NOTICE: Legacy Programs have not been reviewed by the current National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP). The programs in this database were reviewed only under the previous National Registry of Effective Prevention Programs system. This section is intended to be used for historical reference only. If you would like more information about a program listed here, please contact the program developer directly. The program developer of each Legacy Program listed here agreed to post program information on this site.

Focus on Families

Brief Program Description

Focus on Families (FOF) is a program that combines parent skills training and homebased case management services to reduce parent's risk for relapse and children's risk for substance use while enhancing protection. The intervention aims to improve opiate addicted parenting and relapse skills through systematic group training that follows a structured curriculum format.

Research suggests that parent training programs can reduce family-related risk factors, enhance family-related protective factors, and decrease children's antisocial behavior. This research also suggests that parent training interventions with substance-misusing parents should be of long duration, pay particular attention to recruitment and retention mechanisms, and offer other supportive services.

Program Strategies

Focus on Families includes a parenting curriculum, taught by professional team, where parents are taught different skills and provided with home practice activities during each session. Topics include relapse, communication, family management, and teaching your children skills.

In addition to the parenting curriculum, the program includes home-based case management to help parents and children generalize and maintain skills learned in the group sessions and assess clients' appropriate use of skills.

Population Focus

Participants were recruited from two methadone clinics. To meet eligibility requirements participants must (a) have been in methadone treatment at one of the two participating clinics for a minimum of 90 days before participating in the study, (b) have children between the ages of 3 and 14 years living at home with the participant at least 50% of the time, and/or (c) reside not more than 25 miles from the participating methadone clinic.

Suitable Settings

The intervention is suitable for a clinic-based setting.

Required Resources

Focus on Families Parent Training Curriculum.

Implementation Timeline

The FOF intervention lasted 9 months (4 months of parent training groups, 9 months of home-based services).


Major program outcomes included:

  • Experimental parents received higher scores on the Problem Solving Skills (PSI), drug-related situations across all time points (immediately, 6-month followup, 12- month followup, and 24-month followup).
  • Experimental parents used significantly less heroin at the end of parent training and at the 12-month followup.
  • Experimental parents used significantly less cocaine at the 12-month followup.

Contact Information

For indepth information on this program, please use the contact listed below.

Program Developer

Richard Catalano, Ph.D.
Bartley Dobb Professor for the Study and Prevention of Violence
Social Development Research Group
University of Washington
9725 3rd Avenue, Suite 401
Seattle, WA 98115
Phone: (206) 543-6382
Fax: (206) 543-4507
Web site:

In October 2001, this program was designated as a Promising Program under SAMHSA's previous National Registry of Effective Prevention Programs system.