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Blue Cross Brazil - KIDS Support Groups

According to the Brazilian National Drug Report 2009 an estimated 12.3% of the adult urban population in Brazil suffers from dependence on alcohol, making alcohol misuse a significant public health issue. Blue Cross Brazil is providing treatment and aftercare services mainly in the three Southern states of Santa Catarina, Paranà and Rio Grande do Sul, where alcohol and drug use is most prevalent. The organization collaborates with 12 affiliated treatment centers that employ the therapeutic community approach and provide stationary treatment to more than 1500 clients per year.

Project Summary

Through research and experience with its clients in the Self Help Groups, the Blue Cross Brazil identified the need to create support groups for children of alcohol/drug dependent parents. These children often face exclusion, abuse and neglect and the groups give them a place to find help and ongoing support. The Blue Cross treatment center "Cerene" pioneered a project with KIDS Support Groups at the request of clients supported by the Blue Cross network in Southern Brazil. Further support groups for kids were created in the cities of São Bento do Sul and Rio Negrinho (State of Santa Catarina) in 2012. Due to their success, the Blue Cross Brazil has developed a set of guidelines for the formation of KIDS Support Groups, including weekly activities for use in the sessions, and began training group leaders in order to expand the program.

Project Objective

The objective of the KIDS Support Groups is to promote a place for welcoming and orientation for children affected by their parents’ substance use/abuse as strategy of prevention and assistance to people in circumstances of social vulnerability and of hazard. Through targeted training of KIDS Group leaders/facilitators, the Blue Cross Brazil will expand its successful program of Self Help to reach beyond the substance abusers and provide much needed care for family members.

Target Group

The target group is children between the ages of 4 and 11 from participating families that have been affected directly or indirectly by the drug use, abuse or dependence of their parents or caregivers. Children whose family members do not participate in the Blue Cross Self Help groups are also welcome participants.

Proposed Results

• Over 60 children (average of 6 children per meeting) receive weekly support and are assisted to develop coping strategies that allow for a positive development of their personality and prevent addictive behavior in the future (more than 130 children in the second year)
• Over 50 parents are strengthened in their ability to raise their kids in a drug-free environment and by utilizing positive parenting strategies, through the participation in Blue Cross self-help groups for adults and through individual assistance by group leaders (over 120 parents in the second year)
• All in all over 30 families receive direct support (66 families in the second year)
• The Blue Cross Brazil "Support Group" project team has in-depth knowledge in the accompaniment and support of "KIDS Support Groups”


• Train 50 group leaders per year to establish and expand KIDS Support Groups in each of the three proposed states (Santa Catarina, Paranà and Rio Grande do Sul)
• Establish 22 new KIDS Support Groups in three different states by the end of 2015
• Produce and print a professional handbook for KIDS Support Group leaders
• Blue Cross coordinator accompanies the leaders of new KIDS support groups through regular coaching as well as participation in meetings
• Group leaders organize regular home visits/work with parents

Project Duration

The initial pilot phase began in 2013 with the establishment of 2 groups. The main project implementation phase is 2014 – 2015.
Check out our video about the Blue Cross Brazil on YouTube.

 This is an IFBC funded project with support from NRK

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