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The Original Creating Lasting Family Connections® (CLFC) Program


Our Strongest Performing Product

The Creating Lasting Family Connections® (CLFC) program is our strongest performing product both in terms of gaining empirical results and market distribution. The original CLFC is a structured curriculum for youth ages 9-17 and their parents, guardians, and other family members to improve their ability to provide a nurturing environment for each other in a very effective and meaningful way. Participating youth and adults are encouraged to improve their personal growth through increasing self-awareness, expression of feelings, interpersonal communication, and self-disclosure. Participants are taught social skills, refusal skills, and appropriate knowledge and healthy beliefs about alcohol and drugs, which provide a strong defense against environmental risk factors that can lead to negative outcomes for youth. The original CLFC program also provides parents and other caring adults with family management, family enhancement, and communications training. All participants are provided opportunities to practice these skills in a safe, peer-group setting.

The original CLFC curriculum has now been specifically adapted by the program developer to serve the special adult populations of substance abuse recovery, prison reentry, fatherhood and healthy marriage.

The Anatomy of CLFC

The original Creating Lasting Family Connections® program consists of 6 modules. The parent modules are: “Developing Positive Parental Influences”, “Raising Resilient Youth” and “Getting Real”. The 3 youth modules are: “Developing a Positive Response”, “Developing Independence and Responsibility”, and “Getting Real”. Each of the 3 individual parent trainings is a 5-6 session module with each session lasting from 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 hours depending on breaks and the possibility of including a meal. Each of the individual youth trainings is a 5-6 session module with sessions lasting 1 to 2-1/2 hours in length, again depending on snacks, breaks and/or a meal being provided. (Sometimes it is very helpful for recruitment if families are provided meals in conjunction with the program.) An optional Parent and Youth combined “Getting Real” session usually requires an additional two or three sessions.

For maximum effectiveness, parents and youth are each involved simultaneously in their own separate three-module track lasting for 15 to 18 sessions.

CLFC Produces Results in Multiple Areas

Over the past 30 + years, the Creating Lasting Family Connections® (CLFC) curriculum series has demonstrated an ability to produce powerful results with multiple populations including:

  • Youth
  • Adults
  • Fathers
  • Mothers
  • Married couples
  • Reentry
  • Recovery
  • Minority
  • Military personnel
  • Spanish-Speaking
  • A wide variety of cultures ranging throughout all 50 states and several other countries

The CLFC curriculum series is a 4-time winner of the Exemplary Award (1995, 1999, 2000 and 2010) and has been recognized as an effective evidence-based program by the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (2007, 2013 and 2017), Administration for Children and Families’ Responsible Fatherhood Initiative (2006), Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (2002), featured as an Exemplary Program by Health Canada’s Preventing Substance Use Problems Among Young People: A Compendium of Best Practices (2001), the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (1996), the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (2006), the U.S. Department of Education (2000), the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (2001), and the International Youth Foundation (2000). See full list of Awards.

CLFC’s Protective “Shield” against Risk Factors for Youth and Adults

The CLFC program provides adults and youth with strong defenses against environmental risk factors by teaching appropriate skills for personal growth, family enhancement, and interpersonal communication, including refusal skills for both parents and youth.

The CLFC curriculum has demonstrated effectiveness in its ability to:

  • Reduce substance abuse by youth and adults
  • Reduce violent behavior
  • Reduce HIV Transmission
  • Reduce prison recidivism
  • Enhance family strengthening
  • Enhance fatherhood skills
  • Enhance motherhood skills
  • Enhance healthy marriage skills
  • Enhance substance abuse recovery skills
  • Enhance prison reentry skills
  • Improve refusal skills
  • Improve emotional awareness and expression skills
  • Increase communication and bonding between parents and children
  • Foster greater use of community services in resolving family and personal problems

The original CLFC curriculum was also designed to increase the following specific resiliency factors:


  • Refusal skills
  • Bonding with mother and father
  • Honest communication
  • Participation in family rule-setting
  • Bonding with community
  • Social skills


  • Appropriate parental substance use knowledge and beliefs
  • Appropriate parental substance using behavior
  • Family strengthening skills
  • Family management skills (including family meetings)
  • Fatherhood skills
  • Motherhood skills
  • Healthy marriage skills
  • Bonding with youth
  • Involvement of youth in family rule-setting (both substance related and not)
  • Help-seeking for family and personal problems

Appropriate expectations and consequences

  • Family stability, harmony, cohesiveness, and positive communication
  • Family recreational and community activities


  • Youth and parent perceptions of community support
  • Access to health and social services
  • Community empowerment
  • Responsiveness and flexibility of social service provision
  • Community service


  • School bonding by youth
  • School attendance
  • Positive school climate

Click on the link below for a detailed chart of CLFC as it relates to the 40 Developmental Assets.


Implementing the complete original CLFC model involves:

  1. Purchasing the curriculum and providing the Creating Lasting Family Connections® Implementation Training for Staff.
  2. Identifying, assessing, selecting, and recruiting the community system(s) that will serve as the focal point of the program.
  3. Creating, orientating, and training a small cadre of community volunteers to advocate for youth and their families in high-risk environments, and recruiting and helping retain those families in the program.
  4. Recruiting youth and families in high-risk environments who are willing to participate in the program.
  5. Administering six highly interactive training modules, three each to both parents and youth, separately (i.e., one module on substance use issues, a second on personal and family responsibilities, and a third on communication and refusal skills).
  6. Each of the parent training modules ordinarily consists of 5 or 6 sessions, often provided with a single 2.5-hour session per week. Each of the youth training modules consists of about 5 or 6 sessions, also often provided with a single 1.5-hour session per week. The optional parent and youth combined Getting Real communications training usually requires an additional two or three meetings (with each meeting lasting 2 to 2.5 hours).
  7. Providing follow-up case management services and early intervention services to connect families to community resources and appropriate alternative activities when necessary.


How to Implement CLFC with Full Effectiveness

We have found the original CLFC curricula to be most effective in impacting substance abuse prevention for youth when parents and youth are engaged in all six training modules consecutively and simultaneously. The trainers may present the modules in any order desired, but when implementing the modules with both parents and youth participants, it is important to pair the matching parent and youth modules.

The original CLFC curriculum is designed for youth 9 to 17 years old and their families. The populations that participated in the evaluations were primarily African American, Caucasian, or of mixed ethnicity; were 11-15 years of age; and lived in rural, suburban, or urban settings. The program has been implemented in 50 states and a number of other countries with a variety of populations, including African American, Hispanic, Asian and Native Americans. CLFC has been successfully implemented in schools, faith communities, recreation centers, community settings, juvenile justice facilities, and other settings.

The Original CLFC Program has also been specifically adapted by the program developer for individuals and couples who may be in recovery for substance abuse, incarcerated or reentering the community after a period of incarceration, military service, or any other form of physical or emotional separation. These two innovative adaptations have been reviewed and are now listed on the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP).

Elements of High-Fidelity Replication

For a high-fidelity replication of CLFC, at least two part-time facilitators are needed for each of the parent and youth modules. After the recruitment phase, these four part-time facilitators can work with up to 18-20 families, 1 day per week, 4 hours per day, for the duration of the 18-20 week program. A minimum of two facilitators for each group is strongly recommended because a team approach significantly enhances the group learning experience and is likely to increase the participants’ positive response to the program.

Launching the CLFC Program

Program startup may take from 1 to 3 months, and typically includes:

  • 5 to 10 days of training by the developer
  • Community mobilization activities
  • Identification and recruitment of parents and youth
  • While training and technical assistance are not required, training is highly recommended. Training is offered both regionally and onsite. Potential trainers are encouraged to complete a readiness assessment to determine the extent of training they may need. Potential trainers who demonstrate adequate experience should attend our 5-day training course. Inexperienced potential trainers should attend our 10-day training course. Customized onsite technical assistance and training is available at a cost as low as $1,500 per day (plus travel and per diem), depending on the specific consultant selected, the number of consultants needed and the total number of days requested at your site. Training in the complete CLFC curriculum package (which includes 6 separate curriculums and the community mobilization process) may range in price from $7,500 and up, depending on a number of site-specific variables. Training is available in a variety of formats on any combination of individual CLFC modules desired. Limited technical assistance including grant writing assistance is available FREE. For more information about program materials or training, click here.

CLFC in all 50 States

This program is currently in use in all 50 states across the nation in schools, recreation centers, health centers, churches, community centers, juvenile justice facilities, and other service sites. Out of popular demand, the entire CLFC curriculum package is now available in Spanish. Click here to see a sample of CLFC implementations around the county.

Other Adaptations of CLFC

The Original CLFC  Program has been adapted specifically to increase skills that mothers, fathers, couples and families find useful in preparing for marriage, establishing or re-establishing strong family harmony and supporting single or married adult men and women who may be in recovery for substance abuse, incarcerated or reentering the community after a period of incarceration, military service, or any other form of physical or emotional separation. See links below:

Creating Lasting Family Connections Fatherhood Program: Family Reintegration (This program has achieved published results with both male and female populations in gender-specific groupings. The materials are simply labeled as Creating Lasting Family Connections to avoid any gender bias or confusion for participants.)

Creating Lasting Family Connections Marriage Enhancement Program  (This program is designed for couples in committed relationships regardless of marital status or gender representation within couples.)