Building Families

Thornwell's Family Enrichment Program

Building Families is Thornwell’s ministry designed to equip, train, and empower families to strengthen their relationships and live their best lives together. Led by licensed professionals, Building Families is a unique program for all families. It is a safe and nurturing program for families to learn together, express themselves, and build a foundation for a strong and stable environment that produces strong and stable children and adults.

At Thornwell, what began as a home for orphans has become a trusted resource for parents and families that seek advice and training for every stage of life. Understanding that a child in need is indicative of a family in need, Thornwell created Building Families to support every family in the community it serves with personalized, professional guidance. Families participating in Building Families may be navigating life changes such as divorce, job changes, grief, educational difficulties, or family dynamic changes caused by adolescence or a sibling leaving for college. Building Families provides both individual and community activities where participants can learn and grow together.

Do you work with children families and seek to partner with us to build up strong families? Complete the form below to refer a family today!

Serving Families in South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida

Click on a state to learn more

“There was no judgment at all. It can be very intimidating to let someone in your house to see all of your flaws. She [family specialist] loved us for who we are. She met us where we were.”

-Family Near Atlanta, ga

“As a mom, I feel so much more confident because I’ve had somebody in the trenches with me… alongside me.”

-Family Near Greenville, SC

Frequently Asked Questions

A family specialist is a qualified professional, trained in the Teaching-Family Model and certified through the Teaching-Family Association.  Your specialist works alongside you to assess your family’s needs and develops a parenting plan that fits your personality and family lifestyle. We emphasize positive parenting principles and teaching, not punishment, as a parenting style. We coach and support you as you develop effective consequences for your child’s problematic behaviors. We will also demonstrate ways to teach your child more appropriate behaviors that he or she needs to know for a more successful future. Building Families believes that every family has the skills and strengths needed to be successful. We work to identify and build upon your family’s strengths to help you meet your goals.

Building Families emphasizes the unique nature of each family. Therefore, we spend the first one to two weeks getting to know you. We ensure that your concerns are thoroughly understood before the teaching phase begins. After completing a full assessment, your specialist develops a personalized treatment plan with your input. During visits to the home, specialists use family activities, games, role-play, parent assignments, and school- and community-based visits to assess behavior and build skills for both the parent and child.

Your Specialist will spend four to six hours a week in your home, over an eight- to 14-week period of time. Specialists are also on-call to provide assistance should you need support during a time of stress. The intensity and duration of services are based on your family’s needs, and may also include: personalized case management, home and life management skills, and connection to other resources that promote stability and self-sufficiency.

Any family may be referred to the program, or you may reach out personally to request services. Building Families is generally able to work with families that meet the following criteria:

  • Children between the ages of 2 and 17 living in the home
  • Parent or guardian with legal custody of the child willing and able to participate
  • Stable home environment in which to meet with the specialist
  • After receiving a referral or request for services, your specialist schedules an initial meeting to obtain basic information, review your concerns and goals, and determine if our services are appropriate to meet your needs.


Please use the Building Families Referral Form to refer a family or to request the services for your own family.

We believe that every family experiences a unique and often complex set of circumstances leading them to request services. Progress through the intervention depends on your specific goals and the nature of family dynamics at the time you begin services.

Some families begin to see results quickly, as both the parent and child make efforts toward changing past behaviors and implementing more effective patterns of communication. The process of making significant, long-lasting change typically takes several weeks to several months. After completion of the Building Families program, your specialist provides follow-up and the opportunity for refresher services for up to one year. This ensures you are supported as you continue to pursue your family’s goals.

We help parents develop skills to:

  • Correct misbehavior
  • Give effective consequences
  • Teach appropriate behaviors
  • Establish a family routine
  • Develop behavioral charts and contracts
  • Praise children effectively
  • Teach self-control

We help children develop skills to:

  • Follow instructions
  • Accept “No” for an answer
  • Calm down
  • Accept consequences
  • Express feelings appropriately
  • Manage anger
  • Show respect

Community Workshops

Follow us on Facebook to find events near you!

Are you parenting a child who has experienced trauma? Are traditional techniques not working? 

Join us for a workshop to learn: 

  • Proactive strategies to anticipate behavior
  • Tools to help children feel safe, engage, and build trust
  • Tools to foster strong and loving attachments

Avoid power struggles in your home with empowering parenting techniques. 

Join us for a workshop to learn: 

  • Communicate in a way that encourages obedience
  • Give your child a sense of empowerment
  • Promote positive self-worth and cooperation

You can be part of a movement that’s committed to ending child abuse!

Join us for a workshop to learn relevant laws and practices and how to:

  • Identify abuse and neglect indicators
  • Respond in the moment
  • Report concerns to appropriate authorities

Navigating Social Media: Can’t keep up with the ever-changing world of technology? We’re here to help you navigate social media with practical parenting tips to help your kids use it responsibly.

Be a child abuse ambassador in your community! 

Join us for an award-winning prevention training to hear from child abuse survivors who have experienced its immediate and long-term effects. You’ll hear powerful stories of healing and transformation–lives lived fully and abundantly after abuse. 

You’ll also meet experts who work with children and families to confront and overcome child abuse on a daily basis. This training is uniquely designed to provide you with concrete steps to protect the children in your life.

Understanding and managing your stress as a parent.

Join us for a workshop to identify, combat, and cope with the stress of parenting and demands of life. You’re not alone and life with kids doesn’t have to be so hard! Together, we can approach parenting with confidence and care. 

Intentional parenting that takes you from point A to point B. 

In this workshop, you will learn how to:

  • Determine what’s the most important to your family
  • Establish practical family goals
  • Stay on course

Praise is a great way to build up confidence in children, but many parents fear too much positive recognition results in a rotten and ungrateful child. 

Join us for a fun session to uncover the myths and facts of what really spoils a child. 

  • Build up your confidence as a parent
  • Strengthen your parenting tools
  • Raise up courageous kids
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CARES Act Incentive

Write-off up to $300
When you GIVE to Thornwell in 2020

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