An Evidence-Based Preventive Intervention for
Hispanic Youth and their Families
What is Familias Unidas?
DEVELOPED IN MIAMI. IMPLEMENTED AROUND THE WORLD.
Familias Unidas is a family-centered, evidence-based
substance use and sexual risk behavior prevention
intervention for Hispanic youth and their families. It
was developed by Drs. Hilda Pantin and Guillermo
Prado at the University of Miami’s Department
of Public Health Sciences. Familias Unidas is a
multi-level intervention that targets risk (e.g., poor
adolescent communication) and protective factors
(e.g., parental involvement) at the family, peer, and
school level. Familias Unidas has been implemented
in several cities across the U.S., and is currently being
implemented in Ecuador and Chile. Familias Unidas
is being adapted for use on the internet, for obesity
prevention, delivery in primary care settings and
expanded roll-out in Latin America.
Familias Unidas targets multiple problem behaviors among youth in schools, community organizations and
the juvenile justice system. Hispanic youth in Familias Unidas report:
What is the evidence?
28% Less 38% Less 50% Less 60% Less 88% Less
The multi-parent groups meet
in 2-hour sessions. Each group
has 12 to 15 parents with at
least one parent from each
participating family. Group
discussions aim to increase
The intervention, led by a
trained facilitator and co-
facilitator, is delivered primarily
through eight multi-parent
groups and four family sessions
that aim to develop effective
parenting skills. Facilitators
should speak Spanish and have
a minimum of a bachelor’s
Facilitators are taught
important engagement and
joining skills that optimize
are trained on how to use
a participatory process to
deliver program content,
including how to help parents
Fidelity evaluations are
conducted by our team through
the use of observational
fidelity measures. These
measures help to identify
and rate core prescribed
delivered by the facilitator.
guidance is provided to the site
clinical supervisor throughout
the course of intervention
delivery. This includes clinical
of cases, and review of
of their role in protecting
their adolescent from risky
behaviors, such as substance
use and unsafe sexual behavior,
and to facilitate parental
investment in the adolescent’s
worlds. Additionally, four one-
hour family sessions are guided
by a facilitator and provide
parents with an opportunity
to apply the skills learned in
the group sessions with their
Familias Unidas is ranked in the Substance
Abuse and Mental Health Services
Administration’s National Registry of
Evidence-Based Programs and Practices
among the highest (3.9 on a 0-4 scale) on
strength of evidence of research quality.
Familias Unidas is also listed in the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention Compendium
of Evidence-Based HIV Behavioral
Additionally, the Institute of Medicine cited
Familias Unidas as one of few preventive
interventions that has been found to be
efficacious in preventing both drug use and
HIV sexual risk behaviors among Hispanics.
ENDORSED BY A RANGE
OF RESPECTED AND
Familias Unidas has been recognized as a
promising program by the highly prestigious
Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development
registry of evidence-based interventions.
Drs. Hilda Pantin and Guillermo Prado, the
developers of Familias Unidas, have been
recognized by the National Hispanic Science
Network on Drug Abuse, the Society for
Prevention Research and the American
Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
for their work with the Familias Unidas
Familias Unidas originated 15 years ago as
an intervention to address conduct problems
among Hispanic youth.
The Familias Unidas Preventive Intervention
is guided by ecodevelopmental theory,
which proposes that adolescent behavior is
affected by a multiplicity of risk and protective
processes operating at different levels (i.e.,
within family, within peer network, and
beyond), often with compounding effects.
What’s the context and
For example, parental monitoring may affect
processes such as adolescent behavioral
regulation which is directly tied to adolescent
The program is influenced by culturally
specific models developed for Hispanic
Familias Unidas helps to address the
persistent health disparities present in
substance use and sexual risk behaviors
among Hispanic adolescents.
OUR LIFE WAS VERY DIFFERENT BEFORE FAMILIAS UNIDAS.
I WOULD EXTREMELY RECOMMEND THIS PROGRAM TO OTHER KIDS, BECAUSE
IT HELPS YOU INTERACT WITH YOUR FAMILY A LOT BETTER.
WE ARE PROUD OF THE WORK WE’VE DONE SO FAR, BUT THERE IS SO MUCH
MORE WE CAN DO... FOR INSTANCE, WE ARE WORKING ON EXPANDING THE
REACH OF THE PROGRAM THROUGH MOBILE DEVICES.”
FAMILIAS UNIDAS IS ONE OF FEW PROGRAMS IN THE US THAT HAS TARGETED
THE WAY THAT FAMILIES COMMUNICATE AND ALSO RISKY SEXUAL BEHAVIORS
AND DRUG USE AMONG HISPANIC ADOLESCENTS.
AS A SCHOOL PRINCIPAL, I SEE THE BENEFITS OF FAMILIAS UNIDAS, AND I’M VERY
THANKFUL. IT HAS BEEN VERY POSITIVE. YES, I WOULD DEFINITELY RECOMMEND
FAMILIAS UNIDAS TO EVERY SCHOOL PRINCIPAL.
FAMILIAS UNIDAS DID BENEFIT OUR FAMILY A LOT SINCE THERE IS MORE
COMMUNICATION NOW. I WOULD ABSOLUTELY RECOMMEND IT TO OTHER FAMILIES. I
THINK IT WOULD BE A VERY, VERY GOOD IDEA IF SCHOOLS BECAME MORE INVOLVED IN
LETTING THE PROGRAM REACH AS MANY PARENTS AS POSSIBLE.
THE GOAL, OF COURSE, IS TO – IN THE FUTURE – HAVE THIS PROGRAM AVAILABLE TO
ALL FAMILIES IN NEED IN THE UNITED STATES AND IN COUNTRIES THROUGHOUT LATIN
Lidice Hernandez, Participating Mother
Brandon Raymond, Participating Youth
Dr. Hilda Pantin, Familias Unidas Program Developer
Maria Tapia, Familias Unidas Clinical Trainer
Elio Falcon, Jr., Principal, Jorge Mas Canosa Middle School
Lidiana Baster, Participating Mother
Dr. Guillermo Prado, Familias Unidas Program Developer
WHAT DO THE PROGRAM’S LEADERS SAY?
Please contact Yannine Estrada, Ph.D.,
at email@example.com or 305-243-6614
to learn more and inquire about
licensing the Familias Unidas program.
Please visit our Web site at www.familias-unidas.info.