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Family Focus.

Family Focus is a six-session programme that promotes the role of the parent in reducing the demand for drugs.


The objectives of the Family Focus programme are to provide participants with an opportunity to:

  • receive up-to-date drug information
  • explore attitudes and decisions related to drugs
  • develop a family orientated drug prevention strategy


 The programme is delivered from a health-promoting standpoint and was developed from the perspective of Primary Prevention i.e. to prevent the onset of a substance related problem. Since this programme was piloted in 1993, ( it was formerly known as ‘Parenting for Prevention’ programme ) it has been  delivered in 338 communities and parental groups, and engaged 4104 parents /guardians and carers. CAD has continuously evaluated Family Focus with participants, and over the years has engaged past participants in research in order to ensure the programme develops in accordance with participants needs.

Family Focus is a model of best practice recognised in both Ireland and Europe. It has been selected for inclusion in the Exchange on Drug Demand Reduction Action (EDDRA), the multi-lingual online information system and data collection tool on best practice in responding to drug use in the EU, attached to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA).The programme meets the criteria for recommended principles of best practice in parenting education based on the outcome of the conference ‘Towards Best Practice in Parenting Education’ that was held in Ireland in 1999.

The responses of parents to Family Focus have been overwhelmingly positive. The information received has proven to be a shared resource within communities either, in the form of parents becoming involved in the drug issue at community level or, through the sharing of information contained in the folder each parent has collected by the end of the programme


Family Focus has its origins  in European Drug Prevention Week 1992 .   Agencies from all over Europe were developing a variety of initiatives to highlight during that week.   CAD had received funding from The Department of Health to attend a conference in the Hague and on the return journey, two senior CAD personnel agreed that a multi- session programme would be beneficial to communities across Dublin.  Plans were laid to complete that task.   A pilot programme was rolled out with the help of Addiction Counsellors and Home/ School Liaison Personnel.  Evaluations proved positive and the way was paved to extend such programmes across Leinster.   Staff continue to develop and improve the programme based on a needs analysis.   Parents contribute greatly in the way they constantly interact and evaluate the programme.

Recently an opportunity arose to extend the programme to the North East Regional Drugs Task Force Area ( Cavan Monaghan Louth Meath).  Locally based agencies nominated staff / volunteers to train in the delivery of the Family Focus Programme.  A pilot programmme is underway.


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