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Study of Adolescents' Family Experiences (SAFE)

In the UK there are very few parenting programmes that are aimed specifically at young offenders. In the USA, Function Family Therapy (FFT) is an intervention that has been shown to reduce youth offending and recidivism. We are testing this in the British context.   

The SAFE trial has been set up in collaboration with the Brighton & Hove Youth Offending Team (YOT), Targeted Youth Support (TYS) and Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) teams and West Sussex Youth Offending Service (YOS). The study is a randomised controlled trial where some offenders undergo FFT and others don't. We want to see if there is a difference in the outcomes of the groups and how to work effectively and cost-effectively with teenage anti-social behaviour and delinquency. 

We want to find if and how FFT works for young offenders and their families and to pinpoint which elements of the programme are most effective - what works for which families and under what circumstances. 

Key questions the trial will address include: 

  • Does the intervention work? 
  • How much does it reduce antisocial behaviour and offending? 
  • How much does it increase access to education or employment and improve family relationships? 
  • How does it work and what are the essential ingredients? 
  • Are the effects short-lived or enduring? 
  • Who does it work best for? 

How will this benefit parents and families? 

The SAFE project will benefit those working with parents of young people at risk in three ways: 

  • If shown to be effective in the UK context, FFT should be taken up widely and used as an intervention to reduce reoffending by Youth Offending Team workers and others working with suitable families. 
  • Results about which aspects of family function are crucial for a change in youth outcomes will help practitioners, for example, parent-youth hostility or parent-youth problem-solving ability. 
  • The study will identify which aspects of existing practice are effective, both in terms of how assessment influences intervention and how current interventions impact on reoffending and other youth behaviour outcomes. 
Project status: Ongoing

Contact us

Dr Sajid Humayun 
Postdoctoral research fellow 

National Academy for Parenting Research 
King's College, London 
Box 86, 16 De Crespigny Park