PULLMAN – WSU’s ability to support parents and youth through WSU Extension’s Strengthening Families Program for parents and youth 10 to 14-years-old has recently expanded to the state’s most populated area, thanks to a grant from the Raikes Foundation.
 
The Strengthening Families Program is a research-based, best-practices model that reaches families with 10 to 14-year-old youth to provide parent, youth and family education. The Raikes Foundation grant, in the amount of $140,815, will expand the program to audiences in King County. The Raikes Foundation is a private family foundation based in Seattle, with a mission of providing opportunities and support for adolescents. The current focus of the foundation is facilitating a successful transition through early adolescence for youth ages 10 to 14.
 
“The new project will work in partnership with Seattle Parks and Recreation and other youth serving agencies to recruit and teach families in 12 to 15 locations during the next year,” said Drew Betz, WSU Extension faculty member and Strengthening Families Program specialist. “The program will be working closely with the Seattle Mayor’s Youth Violence Prevention Initiative at many of the sites. The program consists of seven sessions for parents and youth together.”
 
Implementation in King County will emphasize quality execution of the program through support of the site coordinators and program staff, said Betz.
 
Laura Hill, WSU Extension prevention research specialist and human development associate professor, will head the evaluation efforts. Hill will be assisted by a human development graduate student. Renee Overath, WSU Extension faculty member and Strengthening Families Program team member, will be working on the quality assurance and training components of the program’s expansion.
 
“Additionally, the program will focus on developing sustainable partnerships that will assure the program has a presence in the county beyond the Raikes Foundation grant,” said Betz. “The trust and investment the Raikes Foundation places in WSU Extension and King County families is gratifying and an exciting opportunity for many.”
For the past 10 years, WSU Extension has taken statewide leadership for the Strengthening Families Program for parents and youth age 10 to 14.