UW-Madison - Department of Counseling Psychology - People - Faculty Research Teams - Dr Valdez's Research Teams - Keeping Families Strong

Medical imaging Carillon Tower Glass blowing Laptop and lecture A smiling student Sunrise over the Education Building Chairs on the Memorial Union Terrace Bascom hall staircase Graduating students in silhouette Crowd of people on Bascom Hill A student tutoring Student with diploma Dance Department performance Night view of Bascom in the winter Memorial Union Terrace in autumn Memorial Union Terrace chairs Dance department performance Bucky Badger in front of a parade float Bascom Hall in the summertime Lincoln statue Students walking in the snow University of Wisconsin - Madison Crest Lincoln statue in the snow Forward Logo Student at graduation Bicycle in the snow Rathskellar Fireplace Sailboat with Capitol Building in the background A sailboat at the Memorial Union Bascom Hill in Autumn Bucky Badger studying with a student. Students among blooming trees at UW-Madison Bucky reading a book University flag on Bascom Hill Video camera view screen Student on a frozen lake Lincoln Statue on Bascom Hill Bascom Hill in winter Students collaborating Memorial Union Terrace chairs in the snow Kohl Center logo Graduates with diplomas A hands-on project Stacked, illuminated figures View from the top of Van Hise


Main Office

Department of
Counseling Psychology

School of Education
335 Education Building
1000 Bascom Mall
MadisonWI  53706-1326

Tel: 608/262-4807
Fax: 608/265-3347

Email: counpsych@education.wisc.edu
or by contact form

Keeping Families Strong (KFS)

Research Home | Fortalezas Familiares | Social Capital

Keeping Families Strong logo

Project Description

Keeping Families Strong (KFS) is a family-based resilience-centered intervention, for families with a parent suffering from depression. A multi-family group program, the parent group includes parents with depression and other caregivers (e.g., spouse, grandparent), and the youth group includes all of the parents’ children aged 10 to 16 years old. Parents and children learn in a twelve session parallel learning process how depression may be contributing to the problems in their families and provides and understanding of how families can work together to change and improve their well-being. The groups are participant-driven, emphasizing self-reflection and awareness.

The goal of KFS is to promote recovery from the effects of depression and to set in place the mechanisms that foster resilience in the family unit as well as in the children and other family members. It is not the parent’s depression per se that influences children’s development but the interplay of risk and protective factors that shape coping, understanding, behavior, and connectedness. KFS uses the mothers growth in treatment for her depression as a springboard for growth with the communication, parenting, coping and interpersonal skills within the entire family. The youth group focuses on how to hopefully reduce emotional and behavioral problems as children process through their mother’s depression.

Dr. Valdez took an active role in developing KFS and first-authored the development of the parent manual to accompany the intervention. In her post-doctoral work, she was the clinical director of KFS and evaluated its usefulness in conjunction with individual treatment in mental health clinics. She is has created an adaptation of the intervention to best serve Latino families, Fortalezas Familiares, that was piloted between 2010-2012.

Click here for more information about Fortalezas Familiares.


Valdez, C. R., Mills, C., Barrueco, S., Leis, J. , & Riley, A. (2011). A pilot study of a family-focused intervention for children and families affected by maternal depression. Journal of Family Therapy, 33, 3-19.

Riley, A., Valdez, C. R., Barrueco, S., & Mills, C. (2008). The development of a family-based program to promote resilience among children of depressed parents: A theoretical and conceptual approach. Journal of Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 11, 12-29. 

© 2018 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System • Please contact the School of Education External Relations Office with questions, issues or comments about this site.