Familias Unidas™ Preventive Intervention is a multilevel family-based intervention designed to prevent problem behaviors in Hispanic adolescents. The program engages Hispanic immigrant parents in an empowerment process in which they first build a strong parent-support network and then use the network to increase knowledge of culturally relevant parenting, strengthen parenting skills, and then apply these new skills in a series of activities designed to reduce risks frequently found in poor, urban environments. The program is designed to prevent conduct disorders; use of illicit drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes; and risky sexual behaviors by improving family functioning.
The program is also influenced by culturally specific models developed for Hispanic populations in the United States, and is delivered primarily through multi-parent groups, which aim to develop effective parenting skills, and family visits, during which parents are encouraged to apply those skills while interacting with their adolescent. The multi-parent groups, led by a trained facilitator, meet in 8 to 9 weekly 2-hour sessions for the duration of the intervention. Each group has 10 to 15 parents, with at least 1 parent from each participating family. Sessions include problem posing and participatory exercises. Group discussions aim to increase parents' understanding of their role in protecting their adolescent from harm and to facilitate parental investment. The program also includes 4 to 10 1-hour family visits.