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What is the Step-Up Intervention?



Step-Up developed a unique 21 session cognitive behavioral, skills and restorative practice based curriculum used in a group setting with youth and parents. Teens and parents both come to group once a week for 90 minutes. Teens work in a youth group to learn skills to prevent the use of violent and abusive behavior and gain understanding about violence, abuse and power vs. respect, trust and safety in family relationships. Parents attend a parent group where they learn safety planning and parenting skills to support their youth in using nonviolent behavior. In a parent/teen group, families learn a respectful family model for addressing conflict. Together, parents and teens learn and practice skills for respectful communication and problem solving.

A Restorative Practice Model

A restorative practice approach is used with teens and parents together to address violent incidents that have occurred. A restorative inquiry process is used to help youth take responsibility for their behavior, cultivate empathy and make amends for hurtful behavior. The restorative process is enhanced by taking place in a community of other families where they support and learn from each other as they go through the restorative steps to facilitate change.

Safety is a Priority

Family safety is a priority of the intervention with development of a ‘Safety Plan’ followed by weekly check-ins within the family group to assess the youth’s progress in staying non-violent and safe with family members. Weekly goals related to non-violence and respect are set by the youth with progress reported each week in group, fostering accountability for behavior and keeping a focus on using the skills they have learned at home.

Evidence based and best practice strategies used

The curriculum employs practices that have been researched and are considered best practices for behavioral change. These include cognitive behavioral learning, skill development, solution focused and motivational interviewing techniques to help youth move from external to internal incentive to change.

Why a Group Work Model?

There are many benefits to group:

  • Collaboration between families who are all facing similar challenges promotes engagement by everyone
  • Youth are more willing to engage when they see their peers engaging
  • Youth feels accountable to the group about making change and making progress with behavioral goals
  • Youth and parents learn from each other by listening, observing and giving feedback
  • Learning is reinforced by watching other youth and parents practice skills
  • Ongoing group provides opportunity for older members to model behaviors for new members
  • Observing youth in group succeed provides motivation to others
  • Each week youth face a group people who are interested in how they are doing - asking questions, giving ideas and support, and clapping about success
SUp11How Can I Attend Step-Up?

Call Step-Up at 206-296-7841 to make an appointment for an intake interview. Your family history and background is important so we understand your specific family needs. We also want to make sure the program is right for you.

What is the Safety Plan?
Some parents are physically afraid, for themselves or other family members, to have their youth return home from detention when they have been arrested for violence with a family member. In 2006, at the request of Juvenile Court, Step-Up developed the Safety Plan Project, an intervention that includes:
  • Assessment of the family’s safety concerns
  • Teaching of safety skills to both youth and parents
  • Assisting parents with developing a plan for safety to reduce risk of harm to family members.
  • Assisting youth with developing a ‘Safety Plan’, which is a step-by-step plan to prevent the use of violence and abuse.
  • Youth is released with a Safety Plan agreement signed by youth and parent.
The intervention helps youth get out of detention earlier. Prior to the Safety Plan Project, youth were held in detention longer when parents expressed concern about release for safety reasons. Safety planning prevents re-offenses by the youth that would bring them back to juvenile detention.