The Family Empowerment Program: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Working with Multi-Stressed Urban Families

Elizabeth N. Cleek, Matt Wofsy, Nancy Boyd-Franklin, Brian Mundy, Tamika J. Howell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


The family empowerment program (FEP) is a multi-systemic family therapy program that partners multi-stressed families with an interdisciplinary resource team while remaining attached to a "traditional" mental health clinic. The rationale for this model is that far too often, families presenting at community mental health centers struggle with multiple psychosocial forces, for example problems with housing, domestic violence, child care, entitlements, racism, substance abuse, and foster care, as well as chronic medical and psychiatric illnesses, that exacerbate symptoms and impact traditional service delivery and access to effective treatment. Thus, families often experience fragmented care and are involved with multiple systems with contradictory and competing agendas. As a result, services frequently fail to harness the family's inherent strengths. The FEP partners the family with a unified team that includes representatives from Entitlements Services, Family Support and Parent Advocacy, and Clinical Staff from the agency's Outpatient Mental Health Clinic practicing from a strength-based family therapy perspective. The goal of the FEP is to support the family in achieving their goals. This is accomplished through co-construction of a service plan that addresses the family's needs in anefficient and coherent manner-emphasizing family strengths and competencies and supporting family self-sufficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-217
Number of pages11
JournalFamily Process
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


  • Asesores de los padres
  • Coordinación de la atención
  • Equipo interdisciplinario
  • Family intervention
  • Interdisciplinary
  • Multi-stressed
  • Parent advocate
  • Terapia familiar
  • Urban
  • Urbano


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