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About the Curriculum
The Step-Up curriculum was completed in 2004, after six years of developing and field testing exercises and activities in Step-Up groups. We have continued to adapt the curriculum, making changes and developing new sessions as we learned from observing the progress of parents and teens in the program.
The Step-Up curriculum is designed for counselors who facilitate groups with teens who have been violent towards a parent or family member. The curriculum uses a cognitive behavioral, skills based approach to help teens stop the use of violent and abusive behaviors and learn nonviolent, respectful ways of communicating and resolving conflict with family members. Restorative practice methods are used to help youth understand the impact of their behavior on their families, develop empathy and take responsibility for their hurtful behavior. Restorative dialogue is used between the youth and parent to address the violence and restore family relationships.

The curriculum also includes materials for a parent group where parents learn how to respond to violence in the home, get support from other parents and gain new skills for parenting teens that promote respectful relationships.

The curriculum is designed to include parents at the beginning of each group session for ‘check-in’ and then separate into a parent group and teen group, or stay together for the session to work on learning a skill together.

The curriculum has 21 sessions designed to be 1.5 to 2 hrs. once a week. Facilitators may vary the timing to accommodate the needs of the group. It is designed as a closed group, but can function as an ongoing group as well. King County uses the curriculum with an ongoing group in order to accommodate the needs of court referred youth. Ongoing groups have the advantage of newcomers learning from participants who have been attending longer.

Parts of the Step-Up curriculum can be used in family or individual sessions when group work is not an option, although the benefits of group work significantly increase effectiveness of the intervention (see ‘Why Group Counseling’).