CMHS’s Multicultural Family Strengthening to Improve Learning and Development Program focuses on effective interventions for low-income immigrant and refugee families who reside in the Washington, D.C.-Northern Virginia metropolitan area.
According to research, infants and young children are most at risk for abuse and neglect. At this age, it is critical to address parenting skills and family environment so that children can grow and develop in a healthy way. This program focuses on teaching parenting skills and addressing domestic violence among parents with children 0-6 years old.
For school-age children, the program focuses on group therapy and a new group therapy modality. These groups teach communication, problem-solving, and conflict resolution skills to children ages 6-12 and 12-18; their parents attend groups that teach the same skills on the same night.
Outcomes anticipated for these groups include improved academic and social functioning, for example, higher grades and more responsible decision-making. These services aim to remove obstacles that prevent children from learning effectively and developing their full potential.
This project focuses specifically on limited-English-speaking families in which family conflict, including violence, has already occurred or is likely to occur. This is one of the few fully state-certified batterers intervention programs that targets non-English-speaking batterers. This program is unique in that it takes a family approach, and contacts the spouses and victims of batterers to offer support and therapy to them and to their children.
Children who are not performing well in school or have gotten into trouble with the law will receive services aimed at strengthening families and directly addressing their academic and behavioral problems.
Intensity and Duration
Parenting groups, batterer’s groups, and the Victim’s Support Group meet weekly for 18 weeks, as does the group for children 6-12. The pre-teen group meets weekly for 12 weeks. Individual therapy sessions continue for 12 weeks, usually weekly, as needed.