Title: Training family competences at school to improve educative outcomes. Authors: M.Antònia Gomila (ma.gomila@uib.

es) Belén Pascual (belen.pascual@uib.es ) Marga Vives (marga.vives@uib.es ) Rosario Pozo (rosario.pozo@uib.es ) Miquela Ginard (miquela.ginard@uib.es ) Members of the Research Group on Educational and Social Training of the faculty of Education of the University of Balearic Islands. Contact address: ma.gomila@uib.es. Postal address: Ed.Guillem Cifre. Universitat de les Illes Balears. Ctra. de Valldemossa, k, 7,5 Palma de Mallorca. Illes Balears Tf. +34971172483, +34971179927

Abstract Evidence based programmes centred on training family competences have largely shown their efficiency in the prevention of behaviour problems among children and adolescents. The Strengthening Families Programme (Kumpfer & Demarsh 1985; Kumpfer et al. 1989) is one of the most successful programmes in the improvement of the parenting competence, the social skills, the behaviour of children, and the family relationships. The Spanish adaptation of this programme is the Family Competence Programme (Orte et al. 2008). The results of its implementation show important benefits in the elements that help to improve the academic outcomes of the children, as well as efficient in the prevention of disruptive behaviours affecting the school social environment. The participation to the programme leads towards a higher involvement of these families in the school and, therefore, towards an improvement of the relations among the involved agents. The paper aims to present the project of implementation of the PCF at primary schools, in coordination with the Confederation of parent’s associations of the Balearic Islands. The project intends to attract families to the school and to get more involved in school activities as a way to create a solid network involving the school, the families and the community. Key words: Family competences, parenting skills, socio-educative programmes



Experts have largely proved that the participation of the parents at the school of their children and their involvement in their education process is a basic element to prevent not only from scholar failure but also from misbehaviour and behavioural problems (Epstein et al. 2002; Deslandes, 2010). One of the key strategies to motivate the implication and participation of the family is the provision of support to the parents to enhance their parental capacities. This support extends also to enhance parent’s capacities to provide help with academic tasks and stimulation to learning. The implication of the professionals is also high, as they have the responsibility to develop the actions and projects that motivate the families to participate and to get involved. Nevertheless, although a fundamental part of the socialization process of the children, parents do not receive specific training to do so. Risk factors and stress situations complicate the involvement of the parents in the education of their children if they do not receive some kind of support (whether external or from social network). Some of these risk factors come from the operation of the school system but also well from the socioeconomic and cultural background of the family. In some cases, there are affected by internal factors relating to home environment, parenting patterns and relationships among the family members. Families presenting high levels of stress, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, disruption and/or aggressiveness have little engagement in the scholar development of their children and very low involvement in the school activities (Supplee et al. 2004; Martinez et al. 2010). In such cases, it is necessary to reinforce the family to reduce and minimize the risk factors and strengthening the protection factors to ensure success in the management of family life and interpersonal relations (Orte, 2008: 27).

The increasing demand to promote family cohesion through positive parental patterns has led to the development of socio-educative programmes with the family. Among the strategies developed to engage the family and provide support to parents in children’s education and wellbeing, there are socio-educative interventions. Although they are more recent than other approaches (such as family therapy or Parent’s school), they already provide a quite considerable amount of theoretical and methodological references that allow making a positive evidence of its efficiency.


The core idea of this type of intervention is that improving family relations and parenting skills, children will enhance educative outcomes. The main intervention criteria are the socio-ecological approach. The family is considered a global unit and the intervention includes parent’s training, children’s skills training and family practice time together (Kumpfer & Johnson, 2007). The multicomponent factor has strong impact on the reduction of risk factors and reinforcement of protective ones, while motivating parents to develop positive parenting models and enhancing the family cohesion (Orte et al. 2012). Many of these programmes have been focus on families at high risk linked with substance abuse and child abuse but there has also been some attempt to extend the programmes to universal prevention through school interventions. Their evaluation has shown very positive outcomes in strengthening family bonds and preventing children and adolescents from substance abuse and disruptive behaviour (Kumpfer & Johnson, 2007). Among these programmes, the Strenghtening Family Programme (Kumpfer & DeMarsh 1985; Kumpfer et al. 1989) has been stressed by the Cochrane Review as one of the most successful programmes. This programme is an evidence-based family skills training program that involves the whole family, aiming at the improvement of the parenting competence, the social skills, the behaviour of children, and the family relationships. Its first implementations started at the end of the 80s in US and it expanded to 17 countries. The Spanish adaptation of this programme is the Family Competence Programme (PCF) and it has been successfully implemented in several parts of Spain (Orte et al. 2008) since 2006. The PCF is a multi-component program of proven efficiency in preventing drug use and other behavioural problems in children. However, despite it has also school based interventions in connection with other social institutions in order to detect those families who show higher risk factors, the PCF has never been associated or involved with school structure.

The results of the interventions already carried out in different parts of Spain show important benefits in the elements that help children’s academic outcomes as well as efficient in the prevention of disruptive behaviours affecting the school social environment (Orte et al, 2008, 2012). The programme seeks the implication of the families in their educative responsibilities, especially in those presenting disruptive relations and dysfunctional organization.


The programme seeks the implication of the families in their educative responsibilities, especially in those presenting disruptive relations and dysfunctional organization. The participation to the programme leads towards a higher involvement of these families in the school and, therefore, towards an improvement of the relations among the involved agents. Actually, the development of strategies and initiatives to stimulate a higher participation of the parents at schools is an old demand of the parent’s associations and schools, especially for those families at risk that show weaker involvement in the education of their children. The paper aims to present the project of implementation of the PCF at primary schools, in coordination with the Confederation of parent’s associations of the Balearic Islands. Although still at its preliminary phase, the implementation of the PCF at school intends to attract families to the school and to get more involved in school activities as a way to create a solid network involving the school, the families and the community (practitioners and social services, as well as other community institutions) that leads to the improvement of the social cohesion.

The project’s adaptation is still ongoing and it has not been implemented yet. The paper presents only the context in which the programme has to be implemented and the expected results in family cohesion and social inclusion. This context cannot be understood without taking into consideration the socio-political framework defined by a strong financial reduction of the public services. The withdrawal of many educative and formative projects, as well as the professionals and resources involved, predict severe consequences for the families and the children wellbeing if it is not compensated with other initiatives (March, 2012).

Connecting family competences, scholar outcomes and children behaviour: a View of the Spanish context. Education policy in Spain from the late decades of the 20th century has swing between universal principles and those claiming freedom to choose the type of education of their children (Calero 2006). Inclusiveness and free cost of education have been the key elements of the universality of education, whereas the second-chance programmes, grants and credits for those having problems at school were at the side of those claiming freedom to choose. Compulsory education was not an inclusive education as it leaded to “a hard way towards a selective degree”. The aims of the law

where still linked with knowledge transmission and passive attitudes and not critical judgement and creativity (Feito 2005). Indicators of the Spanish education system show, among other problems, lack of public coverage at early childhood, high level of dropout and low level at postcompulsory education, integration problems with students belonging to minorities, increasing inequality among public and private schools, low financial support to students and families, lack of distributive efficiency and high inequality among regions regarding public investment in education (Pascual, 2012; Calero, 2006). The increase of foreign population at scholar ages during 1996 to 2006 has deeply affected the management of the public education system. Scholars increase 88,10% in those years. Concentration of foreign population1 in public schools makes adaptation and integration of this population more complicate, leading to a dualistic education and social system. Within the frame of a labour market very much centred on the tertiary sector (tourism, construction, and services) vulnerable situations and social scarcity easily link to early school dropout. The current context defined by financial and labour crisis has increased the risk factors enlarging the social and educative vulnerability of a higher part of the society. Consequences towards coexistence and behaviour at schools seem clear. Administration develops, from the 90s, educative diversity scholar programmes to provide support to the students and to cope with education inequalities and social integration of students. Attention to diversity at compulsory school is oriented to provide support to the educative needs of the students and to achieve basic competences. Some of these mechanisms are (National School Council, 20082; Orte et al. 2009): flexible groups, support to the group, split groups, programmes of curricula diversification, elective subjects, coordination between primary and secondary education, PROA (programme of support and orientation), scholar accompaniment, ALTER (programme for truancy and dropout prevention), coexistence programmes, individual curricula adaptations, intercultural programmes, etc. Along with these mechanisms, collaboration between institutions and administrations having responsibilities on family and children’s welfare and social institutions working with vulnerable population are also a key piece of intervention. The knowledge of the cultural and educative system and the access to participation in this
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80% Informe Anual sobre Educación


education system are important elements to reach the full integration of children and youngsters into the school (Orte et al. 2009). In this sense, integral social protection policies assigned to the most vulnerable groups might help to improve the efficiency of the education (National School Council, 2008, 2010). The competence evaluations carried out in Spain place the Balearic Islands in the worst positions (the best position has been nº 12 (from 17) in mathematics and language at the secondary school (PISA 2009; IAQSE, 2012). Other indicators measured by the IAQSE3 do not provide a more optimistic view: dropout: 36,7% (8,3 points under the national average), school attendance rate: 81.4% (12,3 points under national average), but only 48,2% at non-compulsory education (11,3 points under national average), scholar success: 61,0% (14,1 points under national average). Indicators relating economic and social conditions of the school also show low outcomes: ratio per class: 24,54 ; foreign students: 18,9% (which is one of the highest rates in Spain); annual public investment per student (6.051€, over the national average (5692€), being the public investment in relation to the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) only 3,4%5 (the second lowest in Spain). Regarding coexistence and conflict, the Institute of Coexistence and scholar success of the regional Government of the Balearic Islands undertook a deep study in 2011 to know the valuation of the whole scholar community at secondary level. Although the study was methodologically similar to those carried out at a national level (Diez-Aguado, 2010), the study of the Balearic Islands, the first attempt to include the opinion of the families. The conclusions of the study stated that the general relation environment was valued as “good” and that the main problems regarding coexistence were (according to teachers and other professionals) lack of discipline and lack of implication of the families in the education of their children. All the professionals agreed that there was a lack of supervision of the children in their homes, although these factors were linked to the quick changes of the family and its difficulties to adapt to them. On the other hand, Families’ perceptions coincide with that of professionals in the fact that the lack of family response in conflict cases, the lack of discipline at home and the low involvement of the families in the school are the main difficulties to cope with coexistence problems at schools. Nevertheless, families also point out that the lack of
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Year 2010-2011 Recent norms in 2012 have allowed the increase of the ratios, up to 36 students x class at secondary school. 5 2009


resources and support mechanisms (support programmes, professionals, financial resources…) is also a crucial factor in the coexistence environment of the schools.

However, as Casal shows (2008) investment in the school has little impact in the scholar success of the children. Instead, it is more important the way the society is structured: work, family life-styles, parental styles. All these factors structure the coexistence between parents and children, and the affective and relational ground allowing academic success. Family involvement in children’s education is then a key factor of protection and stimulates them to overcome the boundaries settled by their socio-economic origin (Pérez Díaz, 2001; Bolivar, 2006). Research has largely shown how academic outcomes are linked with social and cultural capital of the families (Coleman et al., 1966; Bourdieu y Passeron, 1970; Bernstein, 1988; Bonal et al, 2004; Marí-Klose, 2009), as they are the expectations and involvement of the parents towards their children. The time parents spend with their children in leisure activities, schoolwork or expressing encouragement is a crucial element of the social capital that is transferred across generations, that it can even overcome the economic disadvantage of the family (Coleman, 1988 in Morrone et al. 2011). At the same time, this capital, attitudes, parenting style and expectations of the families link with the ties they create with the school of their children (Collet y Tort, 2011, Casal, 2008). Also the attitude and relationship the children have at school (with pairs, with teachers) is very much influenced by the relation with the parents. Family variables such as “limits”, “conversation” and “confidence in the relationship” are highly influential in the academic outcomes of the children (Casal, 2008:71). As the European Council states, the promotion of specific programmes is a key element in the intervention process. The levels of the intervention may be formal (make access to schools easy for the families) or informal (creation and consolidation of social, family and community links) (EC, 2006). In this sense, the EC includes the community approach pointing to the need to a) Promote the community participation, involving different resources and community services to strengthen the scholar programmes, family practices and the learning and development of the childhood, b) Promote the relationships between family and professionals, driving formation proposals for professionals and parents to reach a better comprehension of the situation.


These initiatives would lead to the creation of common projects responding the wellbeing of the children and the mutual knowledge families-school. The knowledge of the families, their needs, their expectations and their situation would be a tool for professionals to provide them a more accurate support. Regarding to this idea, the improvement of parental competences, family organisation and family cohesion would become an efficient strategy to ameliorate the social cohesion. The study developed by Sanders and Epstein (1998) and Epstein (2001) show evidence on the benefits of the family-school-community relationship for all of the involved agents. Implication process of the family towards parental practices6 and its responsibility towards the learning of their children7 are directly related to the outcomes in the learning of the children8, such as social competences, cognitive development, communication skills, literacy, development of vocabulary, expressive language, comprehension skills, positive linkage with pairs, adults and the learning process. Apart from specific actions, the improvement of the education require initiatives for the whole population conducting to positive parenting, participation and awareness of the responsibility and mutual obligations both of parents and children. In the specific case of the Balearic Islands, the above mentioned study on the coexistence at school (2011) includes relevant information about the degree of involvement of the families both in their children’s education and in the school. The quality of the relation between families and schools is measured also through their own valuation, and the results show a high degree of satisfaction in the relation with the teacher of their children above any other agent in the school. They state a high level of response to the calls of the teachers and principals (mainly for meetings), but this does not correspond with the feeling of being part of the school community, with collective participation (through associations) or even with their satisfaction with the teachers (2011:212). Regarding the educative role of the families and their implication in the education of their children, the report states that families and student share optimistic expectations on their academic outcomes, beyond their results. The study also states that the majority of the families spend less than two hours a week to provide support to their


Typology of relationship parents-children, participation in child-centred activities, participation and communication parents-school 7 Reading at home, conversations, leisure activities, etc. 8 Education research project of Harvard, 2006


children with homework, although there is a significant correlation between the parent’s degree and the hours devoted to this task. Little more than the half (54,6%) of the parents claim they spend time together with their children in leisure at least once a week, whereas 14,3% do not spend any time with them. Regarding the parent’s perception of the integration level of their children at school, 92,4% consider that their children are very well integrated, 91,45% think that they have good relations with their teachers, 84% consider their children are motivated by the school activities and 80,8% thinks the school helps their children to be selfconfident and to take decisions on its own. This positive evaluation coincides with the opinions stated by the children and it is coherent with the 90% of parents claiming their children have no problems at school. Despite the positive evaluation families do of their relationship and involvement in the education of the children, the lack of implication remains the main hurdle for a positive coexistence environment at school. Families themselves justify the lack of involvement on the multiple factors in which they have to develop the educative function and on the difficulties to adapt to these circumstances (personal, economic, working, cultural, social, educative…). All these factors transform the structure and operation of the family and therefore, modify the socialization process and the educative patterns (Martinez Gonzalez, 2009). The claim of the families for support takes very different ways according to their own circumstances. Family interventions require initiatives to offer them educative strategies that match with their particular needs.

Evidence-based programmes training family competences and its cultural adaptations Socio-educative interventions with the family have developed interesting approaches in the last decades. The methodologies implemented, initially influenced by cognitive-behavioural and systemic approaches, allowed significant progress to be make in work models based on empirical evidence (Orte et al. 2012). The family competence approach has been developed in this context, through multi-components programmes, based on evidences9, considering the family as a whole. This kind of programmes

A programme is considered to be based on evidence, when it is evaluated through randomise control tests (RCT) or quasi-experimental design (QED), and shows its efficiency that its implementation produce positive results on the target population. They are reliably through time under different contexts and different groups, they lead to innovative programmes and they reflect a strong theoretical corpus provided by research ( CSAP, 2002, Social Research Unit, 2012)


combine a curriculum on social skills and life skills for the children with a parental training curriculum for the parents, and a curriculum focused on the family as a whole entity. The family sessions integrate the skills and behaviour patterns trained in the children’s and parent’s sessions resulting in higher levels of retention than other individually oriented programmes. Socio-educational interventions in the family competence approach, attempt to build resources so that the family can better cope with problematic situations and come through them strengthened. By stimulating the family’s ability to overcome their difficulties in the short term their ability to cope with challenges in the future increases (Orte et al 2012). Effective education depends on the culture, the community context and the proper operation of the family. Therefore, family interventions to reduce risk and increase protection to the children must be flexible to adapt to the environment and cultural differences of the target families (Dishion y Kavanagh, 2003). The adaptation process shall be done from the planning to the implementation and evaluation of the intervention programme (Weissberg et al., 2003). To guarantee the effectiveness of the programme, modifications have to be done at a cognitive (language, age of participants), affective (gender, ethnicity, religion, social status…) and environmental level (Fonseca, 2008). One of the concerns of the programme adaptations among their creators has been the need to maintain the core components of the programme and to control the implementation processes (Orte et al. 2008, 2012). The general structure of the programme: sessions, timetables, contents, etc. have to remain coherent in order to avoid the reduction of its effectiveness but it also has to adapt to the needs and community features (González, Barrera y Martínez, 2004: 43). The Strengthening Family Programme takes special care in harmonizing fidelity and efficiency in its cultural adaptations. Taking into account these considerations, the SFP has been adapted to different ethnic, communities in the USA as well as to 17 other countries, including European countries (Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Belgium, Russia, Norway and Sweden). Despite the majority of the implementations of the programme have been focused on selective prevention with families at high risk, there is a 10 session version for 10-16 year for universal prevention. This universal prevention population version could be an adjunct to the regular SFP 10-16 curriculum or used


totally alone by families in their home (using DVD). Randomised control trials10 reported positive outcomes in the application of universal prevention programmes (Kumpfer et al, 2002; Spoth et al., 2006; Gottfredson et al. 2006). Along with this, a meta-analysis developed by the Cochrane Collaboration and the OMS reported also that short version of the SFP for universal prevention at schools were twice efficient than other prevention programmes (Foxcroft et al., 2003). In Europe only Sweden has implemented the universal Iowa 10-14 years programme in public schools (Skärstrand et al., 2008). Nevertheless, the Swedish version experienced a strong change in its format in the accommodation process of the programme. The resulting adaptation did not take into consideration some of the core elements of the programme structure and the results reflect the lack of adjustment of the adaptation to the original programme. Changes has been reported as non-relevant both regarding to substance use among the adolescents and on the risk and protective factors (Burkhart 2012).

The Spanish adaptation of the SFP: The Programme of Family Competences

The Programme of Family Competences is also a multi-component program, aiming to reduce family risk factors in sons and daughters and strengthen protective factors. Its overall objective is to increase the resistance capacity of their children to high risk of drug use and antisocial behaviour. More specifically, the program aims to increase the skills of fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, and improve family relationships. It is: a) Improve family relationships; b) Increase parenting skills; c) Improving children's behaviour; d) Increase the social competence of children and e) Reduce or prevent the use of drugs and alcohol and disruptive and antisocial behaviour These general objectives are specific according to the recipients (table 1). All the specific objectives are coordinate with the objectives of the other recipients. For example, the aim for the session 9 are to improve the familiar communication; so the contents for parents are “solving problems and living instructions”; as same time, children work about the “solving topics” and, after these two parallel sessions, all the families join together in the content “solving problems and giving instructions”.



Table 1: Specific objectives of the program
Parents Expand parental knowledge to exercise the parenting role Enhance self-esteem Increase parental effectiveness, positive children Increase obedience Reduce aggressiveness and hyperactivity Reduce shyness and depression Increase communication skills Boost skills for resisting peer pressure Strengthen skills for recognising feeling Improve skills for coping with anger and criticism Reduce the likelihood of problem behaviour

attention and efficient discipline Reduce physical punishment Reduce parental stress Palliate parental depression

Family Improve family communication, cohesion and attachment Enhance family planning and organization Reduce family conflict Increase the time the family spends together and parents’ empathy towards their children


Exclusion and inclusions criteria One of the principal characteristic of this program is the existence of several

criteria for inclusion of exclusion in the program. In this way, the parental criteria inclusion are: a) Families with social services files, b) Preferential parental age between 20 and 45 years old; c) With children in their care between 7 and 13 years old; d) Reasonable levels of attention and cooperation; e) Capable of participating in 1-2 hour group sessions, once a week for 14 weeks. Parental exclusion criteria are: a) Severe drug dependence that seriously alters capacity for judgment; b) Existence of unstable mental symptomatology; c) Evidence of mental retardation d) Severe attention deficit. The criteria for the children’s inclusion are: Parents who participate in the experience for parents and ages 8-13. Children’s exclusion criteria are similar to the exclusion parental criteria.


Methodology The programme structures on 14 sessions of 2.5 hours each and one booster

session for children; same session structure for parents and families. In each session, first at all there is a general welcoming; after that, parents and children work in parallel during an hour approximately. In each group there are two trainers. Usually the session starts with a review of the last session homework and of the skills worked in it. Then,

trainers show the next contents according to the format of each session. Finally, there is a review of the homework. Children who follow all the rules of the group could receive incentives for good behaviour.


Principal skills The program aims to achieve learning objectives and behaviour change in parents,

their children and the family as a whole. Accordingly, family members, working in different groups for 14 weeks, learn different types of skills that are listed in summary form: 1. For fathers and mothers: the acquisition of basic parenting skills: Stress

management skills, skills in reward management, differential attention and setting limits, communication skills and problem solving and knowledge of alcohol and drugs. 2. For sons and daughters: communication skills, ability to recognize feelings,

skills to resist peer pressure, conflict resolution skills and knowledge concerning alcohol and drugs. 3. For the family as a whole: ability to achieve and/or increase family cohesion,

family communication skills, family organization skills, family relationship skills and conflict resolution skills. The methodology makes to work the same objective with the three work groups (parents, children and families).

Table 2: Skills for each sessions
Parental competence program Introduction and group 1 formation Expectations, development and 2 stress management Rewards 3 Social skills I: active listening skills Social skills II: conversation skills Game of sons and daughters: rewards Goals and objectives 4 Differential attention: paying 5 attention and ignoring Communication I: relationship 6 improvement Communication II: family 7 Learning good behavior How to say "NO" to stay out of trouble Communication I: better relationships Communication II: family meetings Goals and objectives Differential attention: tables and roulette Communication I: Introduction to the family game Communication II: Consolidation Game of sons and daughters Greeting and rules Social skills program for children Program to improve family relationships Introduction and group formation


meetings Drugs and family: risk factors 8 Solving problems and giving 9 instructions Setting limits I: redirecting 1 0 misbehavior Setting limits II: practice 1 1 Setting limits III: 1 2 solving behavioral problems Building and using behavioral 1 3 programs Achieving and maintaining 1 4 good behavior Introduction to the game of fathers and mothers Confrontation skills I: recognizing feelings Confrontation skills II: facing criticism Confrontation skills III: facing anger Graduation, resources and review Alcohol and drugs Solving problems

of the family game Learning from fathers and mothers Solving problems and giving instructions The game of fathers and mothers I

The game of fathers and mothers II

The game of fathers and mothers III Remembering what helps us and why it helps us End of program and graduation party

Source: www.competencia.familiar.com


Material The Family Competence Program is implemented on the basis of three types of

materials: Handbooks, Guides for participants (one of which adapted to non-literate people) and audio-visual material. Training staff are provided with a set of handbooks for developing sessions with parents, with children and family sessions. There is a handbook for coordinators (the Implementation Handbook) containing all the information about the Family Competence Program as well as relevant issues to develop the sessions. Apart from trainers, each of the participants in the program is provided with a handbook. Worksheet are individual (personal), so it is not recommended that they are shared by both members of the couple, (in parent’s sessions) or by siblings (in children’s sessions). The Sheets are also easy to identify by colours. The reference MU indicates user’s handbook. The material contains DVD including image for modelling the techniques and skills in the program. Finally, learning materials are adapted for the participants in the program with reading and writing difficulties.


Evaluation instruments: We devised and verified the effectiveness and fit of a series of instruments: 1. Tests for parents: Programme evaluation battery (SFP: Kumpfer); includes a series of questions on time spent together and obedience. BASC (Reynolds and Kamphaus 2004). Program satisfaction and knowledge acquisition tests (SFP:

Kumpfer 2003) ESFA (Barraca and López-Yarta 2003). 2. Tests for teachers: BASC (Reynolds and Kamphaus 2004). 3. Tests for children: Evaluation battery (SFP-K: Kumpfer); includes a series of questions on time spent together and obedience. BASC (Reynolds and Kamphaus 2004).


Results The PCF has been implemented 29 times from 2009 to 2011 in different parts of

Spain, embracing 217 families forming the experimental group and a control group made up of 14 families. The families were contacted through local Social Services and a group of them were parents at the last stages of drug addiction treatment. The multigroup analysis with pre-test and post-test measurements and a non-matched control group, have reported significant changes in the behaviours of the children and a general improvement in family competence (understood as family communication and parentchild relationships), family organisation and cohesion (Orte et al.2012). Later results reported in Orte, Ballester and March

show relevant changes in children’s behaviour

and social skills. A significant reduction in aggressiveness is observed as well as fewer behavioural problems. The analysis verified a decrease in shyness and withdrawal as well as fewer symptoms associated with depression. Children’s self-esteem also rose and the capacity for concentration also improved appreciably. Problems of control in school fell significantly and almost disappeared in the sample studied. Such a clear result is surprising, although part of the work accomplished in the children’s group was aimed at self-control, improving conflict resolution, setting clear limits and consolidating and assertive relationship style. The children’s social skills also improved leading to progress in communication skills, skills for reducing peer pressure, the ability to recognize feelings and skills for coping with anger and criticism. These changes were measured by the BASC answered by teachers, as well as parents and children’s own responses. In general terms, acceptance of school improved visibly. Changes in the children’s knowledge, which


Orte, C. Ballester, L, March, M. Evaluating change in families. The results of the Spanish adaptation of the Strengthening Family Program (SFP). Family Relations (forthcoming)


improved overall, was, according to the researchers, the most striking result in this factor, e.g. the capacity to make new friends, solve problems, talk to adults, say what they want to or understand the feelings of other.

Conclusions and results expected Good family relationships do not just happen. They require adequate formation, time, effort, planning and compromise. The Family Competences Programme aims to contribute to the active participation, involvement and implication of the whole family in their educative responsibilities, especially in those disruptive relations and dysfunctional organization, in the school and, therefore, towards an improvement of the relations among the involved agents. An essential element to guarantee the success of this program is to promote the community participation, involving different resources and services to strengthen the scholar programmes, family practices. The relationships between family and professionals are a key point to reach a better comprehension of their situation. These initiatives would help to mutual knowledge between families-school and to build strong family ties. The knowledge of the families, their needs, their expectations and their situation would be a tool for professionals to provide them a more adequate support. Regarding to this idea, the improvement of parental competences, family organisation and family cohesion would become an efficient strategy to improve the social cohesion. The main result expected is to encourage and involve community, school and family. Participation improves also their relationship helping them to get a better understanding of their situation and access to different resources and community services for school and family programs.

Through enriching workshops, activities and resources, parents can learn how to build positive communication in their relationships within the family and the school, share tips and get advice on family and parenting issues. The implementation of the PCF at primary school in coordination with the Confederation of parent’s associations of the Balearic Islands, intends to attract families to the school and to get more involved in school activities as a way to create a solid network involving the school, the families and the community (practitioners and social services, as well as other community institutions).

The first and specific result expected is to improve skills on communication, social competence and increase healthy family relationships, family cohesion and attachment. Also, enhance family planning and organization, increase the time that family spends together, parents’ empathy towards their children. Also reduce family conflict, or prevent the use of drugs and alcohol and disruptive and antisocial behaviour. The second and specific result expected is to improve effective parenting skills and positive changes; such as capacity of involvement and ability to tackle problems, use of reasonable consequences and clear instructions, positive parental supervision (control of school activities and relationships) and strengthen protective factors. Also, expand parental knowledge to exercise the parenting role, enhance self-esteem, increase parental effectiveness, increase positive attention, reduce physical punishment, parental stress, palliate parental depression and increase efficient discipline. The third and specific result expected is to promote positive changes in children’s behaviour and social skills: increase the resistance capacity of their children to high risk of drug use and antisocial behaviour. In general ways an improvement in adaptive skills, capacity to make new friends, solve problems, talk to adults, say what they want to or understand the feelings of others resisting peer pressure, finally improve skills for coping with anger and criticism. Increase and strengthen obedience and communication skills and reduce aggressiveness, hyperactivity, shyness, depression and the likelihood of problem behaviour. References Bolivar, A. (2006) Familia y escuela: dos mundos llamados a trabajar en común. Revista de Educación, n. 339, 119-146 Bonal, X.; Rambla, X.; Ajenjo, M. (2004). Les desigualtats territorials en l’ensenyament a Catalunya. Barcelona: Mediterrània i Fundació Jaume Bofill. Bourdieu, P.; Passeron, J. C. (1970). La reproduction. Eléments pour une théorie du système d’enseignement. París: Editions de Minuit. Burkhart, G. (2012). North-american prevention programmes in Europe. EMCDDA. (draft paper) Calero, J. (2006) Equidad en educación: informe analítico del sistema educativo español. Madrid: MEC-CIDE. Casals, R. (2008) Les relacions familiars i la seva influència en la vida escolar. En Quaderns d’avaluació, 11. pp. 51-72. Barcelona: Consell Superior d'Avaluació del

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