Strong African American Families Program

Strong African American Families program manual cover

The Strong African American Families (SAAF) Program is a 7 session program designed for youth aged 10–14 and their caregivers. The goal of SAAF is to build on the strengths of African American families and support parents and youth during the transition from early adolescence to the teen years with a specific emphasis on helping young people avoid risky and dangerous behaviors (e.g., substance use).

Youth Topics

  • Setting Goals for the Future
  • Knowing Who I Am
  • Dealing with Temptation for Early Sex
  • Staying True to My Values
  • Handling Peer Pressure & Understanding Parents
  • Dealing with Unfair Situations
  • Making Good Friends & Good Choices

Caregiver Topics

  • Supporting Our Young People
  • No Nonsense Parenting
  • Parenting Day-to-Day
  • Helping Children Succeed in School
  • Protecting Against Dangerous Behavior
  • Encouraging Racial Pride
  • Staying Connected

Family Topics

  • Supporting Youth Goals
  • Sharing Values
  • Supporting Youth Development & Concerns
  • Understanding Each Other
  • Working Together to Resist Peer Pressure
  • Encouraging Racial Pride
  • Expressing Appreciation

Compared to youth who did not participate in the SAAF Program, youth who did participate:

  • Demonstrated fewer conduct problems
  • Were less likely to start using drugs
  • Delayed the onset of sexual behavior


Other outcomes affected by families participation in SAAF include:

  • Decreased levels of maternal depression
  • Increased positive racial identity


Testimonies from SAAF Participants: What did you learn in the SAAF Program?


Youth Responses:

  • I know what to do when someone tries to pressure me to do something.
  • Not to treat people in a way that you don’t want to be treated.
  • How to deal with peer pressure, how not to hit people and talk it over, not to be a mouse or monster and not to fuss with my parents.
  • If someone says something you don’t like do not fight or get mad just sit down and talk about it.
  • Not to do bad things that can mess up my life and career because I am planning to set many goals.


Parent/Caregiver Responses:

  • I learned how to discuss discrimination, sex, drugs, prejudice, and alcohol with my daughter openly.
  • Always listen to your child, handle problems in a consistent manner to get positive results.
  • That communication and listening is better than whipping and scolding a child when it comes to discipline.
  • I have become an askable parent. I also have learned to control my level of voice when talking to my kids.
  • If you are concerned about your child’s future, then try to listen and understand their wants and needs.


Featured SAAF Articles

Long-Term Effects of the Strong African American Families Program on Youths’ Conduct Problems

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