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Resources for Parents and Families

Local Resources

Parenting Coaching and Classes

Parenting Together

Parenting Together is a program of the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (CADA) to help parents guide their adolescent children through difficult situations, including substance abuse, behavioral concerns, navigating school/home communications, and family relationships.

The Parenting Helpline:
(805) 456-1234

A confidential, free of charge helpline parents can call for support and expert advice including referrals to the right treatment services to address the issues. Speak live with a counselor Mondays and Fridays, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., and Wednesdays, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., or leave a message anytime and the call will be returned as soon as possible.

Parenting Together Classes
Weekly group classes (via Zoom during the pandemic) designed to help parents navigate the challenges of raising adolescents. Participants can join a group at any time and will receive support from the class facilitator and other parents facing similar challenges. Classes cover a broad range of parenting topics, including the philosophy of nurturing parenting, teens and alcohol, brain development and substance abuse, discipline, building empathy and self-worth, and positive ways to deal with stress and anger.
In English: Tuesdays, 5:30 – 7:00 pm
In Spanish: Mondays, 5:30 – 7:00 pm.
To enroll or for more information, call (805) 456-1234.

> Download a program flyer in English
> Download a program flyer in Spanish

Strengthening Families

In the Strengthening Families Program, a program of Family Service Agency (FSA), youth ages 7-17 participate with their parents in an interactive class setting. The Strengthening Families Program (SFP) is a family skills training program that can significantly improve parenting skills and family relationships. SFP has had positive results in reducing substance abuse and delinquency risk factors by improving family relationships.

For more information on classes, please contact:
Santa Barbara:
Veronica Lopez; (805) 868-0160
Santa Maria:
Maria Castro; (805) 928-4150
Lourdes Rodriguez; (805) 743-4146 x264
Samuel Duarte;  (805) 343-1194
> Learn more 

Youth and Family Resource Directory

For a variety of local behavioral health and wellness resources for youth and families in Santa Barbara County, visit the online YouthWell Resource Directory.

Local Treatment Resources

Family-Focused Treatment for Teen Substance Use Disorders

When a child is addicted to opioids or other drugs, this can often stress their family to the breaking point, impacts the stability of the home, the family’s mental and physical health, finances, and overall family dynamics. Too often treatment is focused solely on the person who is addicted, when the entire family needs support and can negatively or positively affect the individual’s recovery. Thus, treating only the individual with the active disease of addiction is limited in effectiveness.

Multi-Dimensional Family Therapy (MDFT) is an evidence-based treatment program that engages the entire family in the treatment process and is one of the highest rated programs in the nation for adolescent treatment. The therapist meets weekly with the child alone, with the parents alone, and then with the entire family. It’s effective for youth ages 9 – 24, and any family member or significant adult can participate in the treatment. The program improves family communication and problem-solving, strengthens emotional attachments and feelings of love and connection among family members, and improves everyday functioning of the family. It can create life-changing results in 6 months or less.

If you are interested in learning more about MDFT, please contact the Daniel Bryant Youth and Family Treatment Center at (805) 730-7575 (Santa Barbara) or (805) 925-8860 (Santa Maria).

Treatment for Pregnant and Post-Partum Women Using Opioids

If you or someone you know is pregnant or planning to become pregnant and has an opioid use disorder, the first thing you should do is talk to a healthcare provider. Creating a treatment plan for opioid use disorder, as well as other co-occurring health conditions, before pregnancy can help a woman increase her chances of a healthy pregnancy.

Quickly stopping opioids during pregnancy is not recommended, as it can have serious consequences, including preterm labor, fetal distress, or miscarriage. Please don’t try to stop using opioids on your own. Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), rather than supervised withdrawal, is the currently recommended treatment for pregnant women, due to a higher likelihood of better outcomes and a reduced risk of relapse.

The Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse offers a treatment program for pregnant and parenting women at their Project Recovery Treatment Center. The program offers linkages to prenatal care at local public health clinics that can include MAT for pregnant women using opioids. The intensive outpatient treatment program provides daily counseling and education groups, parenting education, and linkages to supportive services in the community. Childcare is available on site during the program for children up to age 5. 

For more information on CADA’s Perinatal Treatment Program, call (805) 564-6057.

Visit our Treatment Providers Directory to find perinatal treatment resources in other parts of Santa Barbara County.

Online Resources

California Launches Free Digital Behavioral Health Platforms for Children and Families

Launching as part of the state’s CalHOPE program, two new web- and a—based platforms will offer all California families with kids, tees, and your adults ages 0 – 25 free one-on-one support with a live wellness coach, a library of multimedia resources, wellness exercises, and peer communities moderated by trained behavioral health professionals to ensure content is appropriate and safe for all users.

BrightLife Kids, developed by Brightline, is for parents or caregivers and kids 0-12 years old. Soluna, developed by Kooth, is for teens and young adults ages 13-25. Families with multiple children whose ages span 0-25 can use both platforms to meet their unique needs. Each app will also offer coaching services in English and Spanish. BrightLife Kids is available for download on IOS devices in the Apple App Store and will be available for Android devices in mid-2024; it is also available online at CalHOPE. Soluna is available for both IOS and Android devices in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

A Comprehensive Online Resource for Parents and Families

The Partnership to End Addiction provides personalized support and resources for families impacted by addiction. The organization is dedicated to providing science-based resources and services to help parents address adolescent substance use. Its free bilingual helpline, has provided personal and compassionate support to thousands of families since its launch in 2011. The Partnership’s parent coaching program began several years later, and it continues to offer peer-to-peer support another parent who’s experienced a child’s addiction. Amid the urgency of the addiction crisis, the organization has introduced new solutions to help families, broadening its range of online resources and e-books, text-based support and online support communities available to parents and caregivers. We’d like to highlight several articles and e-books they provide specific to opioids.

When Opioid Pain Relievers Are Prescribed for Your Child: What You Should Know
Should a health care provider recommend or prescribe an opioid for your child, there are important questions to ask, risks to be aware of and safety precautions to take.

How Can I Protect My Child from Fentanyl? 5 Things Parents Need to Know
As a concerned parent, whose top priority is keeping your child safe — and alive — the following are the most important things to understand about fentanyl.

Medication-Assisted Treatment eBook
Learn more about medication-assisted treatment — what it is, how it’s used, and how you can best support your child through treatment.

Why Can’t My Child Just Stop Using Heroin?
“Why can’t my child just stop using drugs?”
Many parents ask themselves this question. But as more and more scientific studies are confirming, the drugs that your son or daughter is using are actually creating changes in his or her brain. So, in a way, your child is not the same person he or she was before using opioids.

Opioids & IV Drug Use: Risks, Warning Signs & How to Help a Loved One
As the parent or caretaker of someone struggling with opioid use  it’s important to recognize how and why IV drug use may become a factor. This series of four short videos will help you better understand the relationship between opioid addiction and IV drug use, and how to become better equipped to help your loved one.

The Opioids eBook
Get a comprehensive overview of the opioid epidemic — how opioids affect the body, the risks involved and how you can help your family stay safe.

Pregnancy & Opioids Guide
A downloadable guide on what families need to know about opioid misuse and treatment during pregnancy.

What Families Need to Know about Treatment for Adolescent Opioid Use Disorder

This fact sheet from the Urban Institute helps families understand the use of buprenorphine in the treatment of youth with opioid use disorders (OUD).

Buprenorphine is a safe and effective, FDA-approved medication treatment for OUD in adolescents age 16 and older. It activates the same brain receptors as other opioids but is absorbed into the blood over a long time, giving patients a measured level of the drug, reducing cravings, and helping them have productive lives. The fact sheet also offers 12 questions to ask treatment programs for adolescents with opioid use disorders.

Download the fact sheet.

How to Keep Your Children Safe from Prescription Opioids

Talk. They Hear You. Talking with Your Teen About Opioids: Keeping Your Kids Safe 
A brochure for parents and caregivers about the risks associated with misusing prescription pain medications for teens and the importance of having conversations with their children to help them avoid taking medication that is not theirs. From the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

What Parents (and Grandparents) Need to Know About Prescription Opioid Painkillers
This one-page guide educates caregivers about the risks of opioid use for children and teens and provides advice for how to safely store medications, how to speak with physicians about any opioid prescriptions, and how to communicate with children and teams about the risks of opioid use. From the National Safety Council.

Family Checkup: Positive Parenting Prevents Drug Use
Good Communication between parents and children is the foundation of strong family relationships. Developing good communication skills helps parents catch problems early, support positive behavior, and stay aware of what is happening in their children’s lives.

This publication presents evidence-based information developed by the Child and Family Center at the University of Oregon. It highlights parenting skills that are important in preventing the initiation and progression of drug use among youth. This publication also provides access to video clips that can help you practice positive parenting skills.

Helping Younger Children Cope With Parental Addiction

The Sesame Street in Communities website about parental addiction provides resources for parents, caregivers, educators, and health care providers who help children with family members struggling with addiction. The website provides printable materials, videos and other resources designed to support children. Resources are developed for children ages 0-1, 2-3 or 4-6 and can be sorted by the type of activity (e.g., storybook, worksheet) and the length of time needed to complete the activity. The website also offers a Spanish language version.