Below are select family-related programs offered by Purdue Extension Health and Human Sciences Educators. For additional family programming topics and options, please contact your local county Extension office.

Adolescent Substance Use: What can parents do?

Parents sitting with son on an outdoor bench talking

Youth that engage with substances, including alcohol, marijuana, illegal drugs, and even misuse prescription drugs, are at a high risk of adverse outcomes such as injury, poorer academic performance or school dropout, criminal justice involvement, and even loss of life.

Some youth are at an increased risk for substance use.  So what are parents to do?  Knowing the risks can help parents and caregivers be aware of whether their own child is at risk.  It is important that parents be aware of substances used by youth today, the lingo and hiding place where substances may be stored.  With open and honest communication about risks, parents/caregivers can help protect youth from engaging in risky behaviors and encourage them to make healthy decisions and protect their health now and in the future.

The two-hour program, developed by faculty at Purdue University, provides data, activities, videos, tips and handouts for parents and caregivers of youth.  “Adolescent Substance Use: What can parents do?”  informs parents/caregivers about:

  • Substances teens currently use
  • The risks of addiction and overdose with youth
  • Adolescent characteristics that can contribute to substance use
  • Prevention strategies that work
  • Understand family relationships and peer influences on substance use
  • Links between availability and access to substances
  • Real-life tips on how to leverage strategies and address concerns to help prevent substance use

Block Party

Block Party

Block Party events provide an opportunity for parents and their children, ages 8 months to 8 years, to interact and engage in block play. Parents learn how they can help their children develop a variety of school-readiness skills through play with a variety of blocks. Stations set up with a different set of blocks aids children in learning identified skills

Block Party training informs childcare providers on the benefits, research concepts, and foundations for building school-readiness skills in young children during quality block play.

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HERO’S Story Time

HERO'S Story Time - Helping


HERO’S is an acronym that stands for Helping Every child Reach Optimum Success. This reading program is dedicated to empowering children with social-emotional skills to help cultivate healthy relationships that will enable them to succeed in school and life. Eight storybooks for preschool-age children have been specifically chosen to cultivate healthy relationships based on eight of the 40 Developmental Assets from Search Institute. The more assets a child develops, the more empowered they are to face adversity and challenges. The goal is to provide children with safe, secure, nurturing relationships and environments. HERO’S helps young children grasp assets such as empathy self-regulation, self-esteem, conflict resolution, and interpersonal skills. Cultivating these assets enable children to make wise decisions, choose positive paths, and grow up to be caring and responsible. Research tells us that Developmental Assets are one of the most effective protective factors in preventing high-risk behaviors including violence and substance abuse as well as victimization.

The program shares information about the Developmental Assets and creating safe, nurturing relationships and environments. The training is developed for early childhood providers and those that are major stakeholders in the lives of young children. Participants also gain practice in using the storybooks and support materials.

A guide for each book assists early childhood staff in asking children questions during the story reading and provides extended learning activities to emphasize the assets during the day. Corresponding family newsletter with each book foster further practice and development of the assets at home. The guides and newsletters are available for free download from the Purdue Education Store as publications HHS-847.


Just in Time Parenting

Just in Time Parenting - Family of three people


Finding reliable information and advice for prenatal to five years of age can be overwhelming. Just in Time Parenting (JITP) is an educational partnership of educators and researchers from land-grant universities across the country. JITP is a free parenting newsletter that is delivered to your email with relevant information specific to a child’s age and stage of development.

Subscribe by going to


I Am Moving, I Am Learning



I Am Moving, I Am Learning is a fun, active training for caregivers of young children (birth to 5 years) to encourage children’s movement and healthy food choices each day.

This training is available for child care providers, parents, or other caregivers of young children to encourage the  use of movement activities to support children’s healthy development. Children can engage in fun physical activities, both indoors and outdoors, as they learn about being active and eating healthy, nutritious food. 


A Matter of Balance

A Matter of Balance - Managing Concerns About Falls

Many older adults experience concerns about falling and restrict their activities. A Matter of Balance is a fall prevention program that encourages cognitive restructuring. It is designed to reduce the fear of falling and increase activity levels among older adults. A Matter of Balance is an evidence-based program that typically meets once a week for 8 weeks. The program emphasizes practical strategies to manage falls.

Participants will learn to:
• View falls as controllable
• Set goals for increasing activity
• Make changes to reduce fall risks at home
• Exercise to increase strength and balance

Who should attend?
• Anyone concerned about falls
• Anyone interested in improving balance, flexibility and strength
• Anyone who has fallen in the past
• Anyone who has restricted activities because of falling concerns

Parents Forever

Couple holding hands above their two children.

Families face many challenges and sometimes have to deal with transitions. Parents Forever © is an educational program for families experiencing divorce, separation, or a change in child custody. Participants will receive a certificate after completing the 4-hour in-person program or online course. The cost for either program format is $50. After completing a Parents Forever © course, participants will be able to:• Describe the family transition journey and how each family member will be affected.

• Recognize the role of self-care, parent-child relationships, and co-parenting in child well-being.
• Identify internal and external resources and use of these resources to promote resilience in the family units.

For in-person classes, contact your local county Purdue HHS Extension Educator. For online classes go to:


Strengthening Families Program: For Parents and Youth 10-14


Parents want to protect their children, but it’s challenging. Youth need skills to help them resist the peer pressure that leads to risky behaviors. Research shows that protective parenting improves family relationships and decreases the level of family conflict, contributing to lower levels of substance use.

Purdue Extension offers the Strengthening Families Program: For Parents and Youth 10-14 in multiple locations throughout the state. The World Health Organization named this program the #1 program out of 6,000 programs analyzed for long-term effects on substance use and misuse.

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Tinker Thinking in STEM:

Children’s Engineering Play

Image of tree representing technology, engineering, science and mathematics.

Children are natural engineers! Each scientist technician, engineer, and mathematician began learning their skills in childhood, through experiences, hands-on learning, opportunities to engage in problem solving, and by participating in creative play.

Purdue Extension’s program on early childhood engineering skills development has two focuses: material properties and attributes of loose parts, and solving problems. Participants learn how to encourage and engage children in the engineering play behaviors identified and developed at Purdue University by researchers in the departments of Human Development and Family Studies, and Engineering Education. Adults caring for children also learn how to provide responsive facilitation to encourage engineering play.



Train Your Brain:

Nutrition, Neurobics, and Notable Ways to Keep Your Brain Healthy

Train Your Brain Image

Brain disease is one of the biggest health crises facing the world today. The prevalence of dementia is increasing as our population increases. By adopting multiple healthy lifestyle choices, adults may decrease their risk of cognitive decline and dementia.

Through this interactive program, participants will become aware of the incidence of dementia, understand the 10 warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease, and the benefits of early detection and diagnosis. Learn steps you can take to better your own brain health by adopting a brain healthy lifestyle.