Brightside for Families and Children is establishing the Family TRUSTS (Teaching Resistance to the Use of Substances Through Skills) Project to test the feasibility and effectiveness of an enhanced, in-home, family-based prevention program for children of substance abusing parents (COSAPs). The project will be conducted in Holyoke and Springfield, Massachusetts which are two urban areas characterized by high rates of poverty, violent street crime, domestic violence, substandard or unaffordable housing, teen pregnancy, drug trafficking, prostitution, and a disproportionate number of persons suffering from alcoholism, substance abuse, and AIDS. The Family TRUSTS Project has identified 9-11 year-old youth within the African American and Latino communities as its primary target population, and seeks to prevent or delay the initiation of substance use in these groups through a multifaceted approach. Because many families have significant other needs or problems that can affect their ability to engage in the treatment process, the initial intervention strategy will involve ten weeks of in-home, intensive case management to promote stability. This will be followed by six weeks of group-based refusal skills training, using the Here's Looking at You, 2000 prevention curriculum and twelve weeks of the Strengthening Families Program which is a successful family-focused prevention program which targets both parents and youth. The Strengthening Families Program was selected as the foundation of this prevention effort because: 1) It targets both parents and children, 2) Is appropriate for the 9-11 year-old age group, 3) It has been replicated on numerous occasions, and
4) It has been demonstrated to be effective with African American and Latino youth. However, the Family TRUSTS Project is introducing one major change in the Strengthening Families Program, and that is to conduct the program as a home-based, outreach program rather than using the traditional group format. This adaptation was made to address some of the common barriers to parental or family involvement in prevention efforts (i.e., lack of transportation, lack of childcare). Using an "institutional cycles design" in which program participants are compared with other non-participating COSAPs who are currently at the age participants will be at the post-treatment follow-up point, the Family TRUSTS Project will address the following questions: First, do the prevention interventions and associated services prevent, delay, and/or reduce COSAP substance use as compared to COSAPs who do not receive these interventions? Second, do the prevention intervention and associated services improve parents' behavior with regard to substance abuse? Third, do the interventions and associated services improve parental commitment and bonding as well as their ability to parent effectively their high-risk children?