Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions


Many of the questions you may have regarding our programs and services might be answered here for you.

What programs are offered by the Strongest Families Institute?

We offer skills-based educational programs for children, youth, adults and their caregivers. We focus on disruptive behaviours, anxiety concerns, and nighttime bedwetting. For more detailed information about our programs please click here.

Are there any age requirements?
  • Parents Empowering Kids is for caregivers of children between the ages of 3 and 12 years old.
  • Chase Worries Away is for caregivers and children between the ages of 6 and 11 years old.
  • Defeat Anxiety is for youth and caregivers between the ages of 12 and 17 years old.
  • Dry Nights Ahead is for caregivers of children between the ages of 6 and 12 years old.
  •  ICAN (Conquer Anxiety and Nervousness) Adults 18+
What are the acceptance criteria to Strongest Families programs?
  • Problems should be present for at least 6 months or longer and these problems should be having some type of effect on your family, your child/youth’s schooling and/or relationships and daily life as well as adult relationships and daily life.
  • Meet the age requirements for our programs
  • Parent/Youth must be able to commit to weekly phone calls and completion of weekly exercises/review of material for 5-6 months.
  • Adults must be able to commit to weekly phone calls and completion of weekly exercises/review of material for eight (8) weeks.
How Do I Get A Referral To Strongest Families Services?
Call Strongest Families at 1-877-470-7111 or call your local mental health agency.  Click here for areas served
Are the programs and staff culturally sensitive?

Strongest Families programs were developed by a team of professionals who considered cultural diversity. Strongest Families staff receive ongoing training to understand and support a variety of cultural traditions.

What will it cost to participate?

Strongest Families programs and materials are provided with no cost to clients. We provide a toll-free number so there are no costs associated with calls. As we are a phone-based service you do not need to travel or pay for parking costs.

I can’t take time off work or take my child out of school; now what?

Strongest Families will never expect or request you to take time off work or to remove your child from school to attend a phone appointment. Our staff will work with you to ensure that your family and your schedule are being accommodated. Our staff provide appointment times in the morning, afternoon and evening to ensure you receive excellent care at times convenient to you.

What if I don’t live in an area you serve?

We are continuing to expand into new areas of Canada and around the world. Give us a call, or email us, and we can contact you if we receive funding for your area. You can also advocate for Strongest Families services in your area by contacting your local Member of Parliament or other government official. In the meantime, contact your local mental health agency or family doctor for information on services that are available in your area.

What happens after I’m referred?
  • We will contact you within 24-48 business hours after receiving your referral to book our intake screening phone appointment.
  • Prior to this intake appointment you will be required to complete a short online questionnaire (this can be completed over the phone if you do not have internet access) and review more detailed information about our programs.
  • The intake phone appointment will take approximately 45 minutes and you will be asked a variety of questions about you, and or, your child and family, to ensure we have detailed information about your current concerns.
  • Once accepted to a program, you will be assigned a telephone coach based on your best available times to complete 45 minute weekly calls. Your coach will contact you to book a consent appointment which will go into further detail about the specific program requirements so you can make an informed decision to move forward with services.
  • Once consent is complete, your coach will send you program materials and schedule your weekly telephone sessions for the next 12-14 weeks or 8 weeks for the Adult ICAN program.
  • You should begin services with Strongest Families within 3 weeks of completing your intake screening questionnaire.
Why is my child not involved in the phone calls during the weekly ‘Parents Empowering Kids’ sessions?

The Parents Empowering Kids program is a positive parenting program meant to target the way in which you respond to, and interact with, your child to improve his/her behaviour. Your coach will help you include your child in discussions at home where his/her interaction is required.

Am I eligible for the program if I or my child has a diagnosis (such as ADHD, ODD, OCD, ASD, FASD, etc.)?

We accept children and youth with and without diagnoses. Our programs are proven to be effective despite these diagnoses when caregivers and youth are committed to learning and using the strategies consistently. Your coach will have additional training to support a variety of diagnosis and modify the program to fit your family.

What are the qualifications and education of your staff?

Many of our coaches have an undergraduate degree in the field of psychology, child and youth studies. Many of the coaches have past and present volunteer and work experience with children, youth and families.

Coaches receive extensive training in the Strongest Families programs and protocols prior to engaging with families. They participate in ongoing training to improve understanding of specific diagnoses, cultural sensitivity, and unique family circumstances. Coaches work closely with a supervisor to ensure your family is receiving the utmost care. If challenges arise throughout the program there is a health clinician they consult with.

Are all caregivers/both parents expected to take part in the weekly telephone calls or in the program?

Although we encourage all caregivers to take part in the program and implement the strategies consistently, it is not a requirement. If you are committed to practicing our strategies daily and to making every appointment you will see improvement. We ask that one caregiver commit to the weekly calls while others may join when able.

Can my partner complete a call if I’m unable?

We require that one parent act as a “primary contact” and be available at every weekly appointment. We understand that parenting is a shared responsibility and because of this we highly encourage both of you to be on every phone call. It is important that the same parent be present weekly for consistency and to help facilitate scheduling to avoid delays.

What if I can’t make an appointment?

Similar to a doctor’s office, we require 24 hours’ notice to reschedule an appointment. With advanced notice, your coach can work with you and plan around your vacation. Your coach can help to set you up with goals while you are away to ensure continued success and improvement.

How do I know that the program will work?

Our programs were developed over a six-year period at the Centre for Research in Family Health at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia through rigorous clinical research. Children and families taking part in the Strongest Families programs show dramatic improvements in anxiety and behaviour related concerns compared to those treated through typical care. In fact, 85 % of families that complete the program have their concerns resolved.

How is Strongest Families different than or similar to other programs available to me?
  • Strongest Families programs does not have a waitlist whereas other services and clinics may have a wait list of months to years. We can also support you through our services to help manage behaviour and anxiety concerns while you are on a wait list for other services.
  • Strongest Families is exceptionally convenient. The programs are telephone based and scheduled around your availability. You will not need to take time off work or have your child/children take a day off school. You will not need to travel or find/hire childcare.
  • The social stigma of receiving other services is eliminated as Strongest Families programs are offered in the comfort and privacy of your own home.
  • You are provided with a coach that will help set specific goals with your family to target your concerns. They will be available to you via telephone and e-mail if you ever have any questions between appointments. Your coach is a knowledgeable and highly trained individual that will support your family as you learn to overcome the challenges you are presented with.
How do you deliver the programs you offer?

All our services are provided over the telephone. Clients can choose to receive program materials online or receive handbooks in the mail.

  • Parents Empowering Kids, Defeat Anxiety, and ICAN programs are offered as a one-on-one and group services.
  • Chase Worries Away program is offered as a one-on-one service.
  • Dry Nights Ahead is a group based service.
In what languages are your programs offered?
  • Presently our Parents Empowering Kids and Chase Worries Away programs are being offered in both English and French.
  • Defeat Anxiety is offered in English (but we can offer Chase Worries Away materials and French coaching support to youth when needed).
  • Dry Nights Ahead is offered in English.
  • ICAN is offered in English.
Are your materials and coaches EAL/ESL friendly?

Our program materials are written at a grade 5 level in hopes to accommodate a wide range of caregivers including EAL/ESL families. Your coach will be knowledgeable, friendly, and more than happy to explain the material in different ways to help you better understand it.

I’m a professional, how do I access pamphlets?

We will mail any available pamphlets. Because we are a not-for-profit organization, we have limited promotional items we’re able to send. Please forward your email and we’d be happy to send the PDF copy of our pamphlet.

"It is crazy how much this program works. I remember going to my pediatrician and saying ‘I can’t go on like this, I am at my wit’s end’. I wish someone would have told me about this program a year ago”

Parent of a 7yo male