In honor of SAMHSA’s National Prevention Week, Workers Assistance Program has gotten several of its program directors together to share their thoughts on prevention, their programs, and how substance abuse prevention and mental health promotion are improving our workplaces, schools, and communities. This post focuses on the Creating Lasting Family Connections Program through the words of its director Melissa Rios.
I recall my mother telling me the same thing every time I walked out the door as a teenager “vale mas que no tomes” (you better not drink). I didn’t understand what she was trying to say until I saw how drinking affected my peers and their decision making. I knew then I did not want to follow that path.
Hello, I am the program director for Creating Lasting Family Connections. CLFC is a substance abuse prevention program that uses evidence-based interventions to prevent or reduce the onset of substance use in at risk youth of Travis County. Our program follows a family strengthening approach attempting to enhance family bonds and increase resilience in youth. CLFC currently works with youth ages 13 thru 18 who have at least one of the following:
- Substance use or experimentation
- Interpersonal social problems
- Antisocial behaviors
- Psychological problems
Creating Lasting Family Connections is an approved curriculum through the National Registry of Evidence-based Program and Practices (NREPP) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA). CLFC was created by the Council on Prevention and Education: Substance, Inc. (COPES), and is provide free of charge to the Travis County community through funding from the Texas Department of State Health and Human Services, and Travis County Health and Human Services.
Over the past seven years CLFC has delivered the curriculum of over 450 youth in Travis County with 73% completing the program successfully by increasing their refusal skills.
CLFC successfully promotes strong and dynamic personal and interpersonal skills development and health promotion activities. Also, CLFC works towards preventing of negative outcomes, including:
- Reducing substance abuse by youth and adults
- Reducing violent behavior
- Reducing HIV transmission
- Reducing prison recidivism
- Enhancing communication and refusal skills
- Enhancing emotional awareness and expression skills
- Enhancing family bonding
A prevention specialist works with the entire family and conducts screenings for eligibility into the program. In addition, our Prevention Specialist connects families with community resources to help address all of the needs of the family. CLFC staff is fully bilingual and culturally sensitive program. Groups are held in both English and Spanish.
For me substance abuse prevention is the key to building healthy successfully adults. Our young people are growing up in a world that has drastically transformed over the past couple of decades, where drugs and alcohol are social norms. We must fight back to protect the well-being of our youth and ensure that they have an opportunity at grow up in a health environment.