This month marks the five year anniversary of the Parentally Speaking column.
Since its debut, we have discussed many topics related to helping children thrive without the distraction of alcohol and other drug use.Your feedback has been positive, and I am grateful to know this column has given parents and other caregivers a little bit of much-needed support.
Unfortunately, there are few resources for parents looking to enhance their prevention skills or find support when a child is beginning to experience problems.Which is why I would like to take this opportunity to call your attention to a peer support model, which recognizes that all parents have something valuable to offer each other.
First, every county in New Jersey has at least one Family Success Center.
These are one-stop shops funded by the New Jersey Department of Children and Families that provide "wrap-around resources and supports for families before they find themselves in crisis."Here, you will find everything from parent-child activities to life skills training for youth to parenting classes and links to child, maternal, and family health services – all facilitated by volunteers.More information and a listing of all Family Success Centers throughout the state can be found at the Department's website (www.state.nj.us/dcf/families/support/success/).
Second, Strengthening Families is a "family skills training program designed to increase resilience and reduce risk factors for behavioral, emotional, academic, and social problems in children 3-16 years old." The program provides skill-building exercises for youth and adults separately and then together as families, so they can learn from each other.As above, there are organizations throughout the state offering the program (including Wellspring Center for Prevention,) sometimes free of charge, throughout the year.In fact, your Family Success Center is a great place to ask about the program.
Third, when situations have gotten bad, and your child has gotten involved in substance abuse and you don't know where to turn, and there are several of them around the state. Here are a few:
And don't forget, Wellspring itself has plenty of information and resources available on its website at www.wellspringprevention.org or through our Helpline at 732-254-3344.
I hope these resources and this column continue to be helpful for you and your family.