'Strengthening Families' program gets $4.8 million boost from fed grant

Posted by Jayme Blaschke
Office of Media Relations
October 23, 2015

Texas State University has received a five-year, $4.8 million grant from the United States Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families to implement a newly modified version of the Strengthening Relationships/Strengthening Families (SR/SF) program.

SR/SF is a relationship education program for pregnant and parenting adolescents. The program is administered by Norma Perez-Brena, assistant professor in the School of Family and Consumer Sciences, as well as Michelle Toews, associate dean for research in the College of Human Ecology at Kansas State University.

“The goal of this new program is to provide adolescent parents the education they need to strengthen their romantic relationship skills, while also strengthening the parental and co-parental relationships they are managing as new parents," Toews said.

"We ultimately want to enhance the well-being of the individual adolescent and the co-parental team to strengthen these young families,” said Perez-Brena.

To reach this goal, SR/SF facilitators will conduct sessions during the school day on topics such as healthy and unhealthy relationships, communication skills, conflict resolution strategies, negotiating childrearing strategies, and managing and sharing parenting duties from two evidence-based curricula. The program will be delivered with the help of university students from Texas State and surrounding universities to adolescents enrolled in pregnancy, education and parenting (PEP) programs located in Central Texas over the course of the school year. 

Student interns will have the opportunity to practice the skills they are learning in the classroom while giving back to their community. The SR/SF program has had great success in improving the relationships of more than 1,200 pregnant and parenting adolescents since it started in January of 2007, under the direction of Toews, who was then at Texas State. Perez-Brena is joining the team for this new five-year award to continue expanding the impact of the program for the Central Texas community.

For information about this program, contact Perez-Brena at (512) 245-2155 or Norma.Perez-Brena@txstate.edu.