Resiliency-Building Programs and Resources

Resiliency is the ability to bounce back from difficult situations and make healthier choices when coping with life’s struggles.  Research has shown that some children and youth are more at risk for problems with school, anti-social behaviour or alcohol and other drugs while others have personal characteristics and supports from their families or communities that help “protect” them from problems and cope successfully with life’s challenges.

PAD applies a resiliency framework to our programs and materials.  In particular, the following resources are designed to explain and incorporate the principles of building resilient youth and families.


Family Skills Programming 

Positive family relationships and supportive parenting practices are two very important protective factors that support a child’s resiliency.  Since 1996, PAD has worked with the Strengthening Families Program (SFP) model, researched, developed and implemented on an international scale by Dr. Karol Kumpfer.  SFP is a skills-building program for both parent and child to encourage family-related protective factors.  With extensive evaluations conducted with hundreds of families, SFP is a recognized, best practice initiative with proven results in improving family functioning and supporting youth resiliency.

PAD is involved with two different and complementary Strengthening Families Programs.

Strengthening Families for Parents and Youth (SFPY)

In 2009, PAD began working with SFP for parents and youth 12-16, adapting the 14 week program to a 9 week one. Along with diverse youth-serving agencies, we tested and evaluated the revised program showing outcomes in family functioning, parenting skills and youth competencies and mental health.  The 9-week SFPY curriculum, support materials and training are all available from PAD.  Learn more about the program, or see the SFPY website at

Strengthening Families for the Future (SFF)

PAD began working with SFP along with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health to undertake and test an adaption of the SFP for parents and children aged 7-11.  The result, Strengthening Families for the Future, is a 14 week program for agencies and communities to implement, particularly for at-risk families and is available from CAMH.

PAD trainers are available on a cost-recovery basis to provide a one-day training workshop for SFF facilitators and other community members.  Please contact us for more information.


Resiliency Resources for Parents and Professionals

PAD applies a strength-based approach and takes into account the social ecology framework for presenting information about resiliency to parents and professionals.

Building Resilient Youth

Practical Tips for Helping Your Teen Make Healthy Choices

This brochure is written for parents and caregivers of adolescents in the 12-16 year age range. It is meant to provide you with concrete ways to help teens deal with life’s stresses, avoid problems and become strong, responsible individuals. Read more…


Model for Raising Resilient Youth


SFPY Model Poster TNA one-page poster that captures the essence of resiliency for youth and parents. Read more…




Webinar Presentations

Series: Family-based Approaches for Building Resiliency in Children and Youth

fba1To support the work of those in the health promotion and prevention fields, PAD and CAMH Health Promotion Resource Centre partnered to deliver the two-part webinar series Family-based Approaches for Building Resiliency in Children and Youth, which will explore the use of family-based programs for building resiliency through mental health promotion and other substance misuse prevention activities.

Part 1 – An introduction will provide an overview of the evidence base for this type of work and review best practices and guidelines.

Part 2 – Learning from the Field will feature community partners who currently deliver family-based programming. A panel of practitioners will identify successes as well as lessons learned, while reflecting on the evidence in this area of practice.



Exploring Resiliency Beyond the Individual

ERBTIThis slide deck includes the slides from a webinar which looked at the theory, framework, programs and application of resiliency.




Learn more about resiliency and family skills programming:  

There are a number of good organizations that fully explain the internal and external assets and resources that are markers of resilience in children, youth and adults such as Resiliency Initiatives and Resilience Research.

The Canadian Centre for Substance Abuse (CCSA) has produced an informative document, Substance Abuse Prevention Family Skill, which is part of a portfolio of national standards and guidelines on effective youth substance abuse prevention programs.  The document provides an excellent discussion of risk and protective factors and outlines evidence-based practices to guide the development and implementation of family skills programs which are incorporated in PAD’s SFPY programming.


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