Parents Forever™ annual report
Download a print-friendly version of the latest report: Parents Forever 2016 Annual report (PDF).
Parents Forever™ was developed in the 1990’s by the Extension Center for Family Development. Through the years it has undergone updates and adaptations; most recently the online course was launched in 2012 and a curriculum revision of the in-person program was completed in 2014.The Parents Forever™ Theory of Change is that when families go through transitions of divorce, separation, and/or a change in custody, they may be at greater risk for negative outcomes — if they experience other risk factors, such as higher levels of conflict or increased financial stress. The Parents Forever™ curriculum addresses ways for parents to attend to their parent-child relationship and their children’s development, improve their coparenting relationship, and pay attention to their own parental well-being, which in turn improves their ability to parent and coparent. Through these three primary mechanisms (parenting, coparenting, well-being), the curriculum seeks to increase resiliency for families when transitioning through divorce, separation, and/or custody change.
Where do our participants come from?
After taking the in-person course (n=447), participants reported a significant improvement in their knowledge and skills related to:
- Parental well-being including legal knowledge, understanding grief and loss, how anger can affect decision making, support networks, identifying strategies to manage stress, signs of domestic violence and referral resources, planning for self-care, and spending and savings plans.
- Parent-child relationships including the effect of family transitions on children, balancing parent-child needs, child development, the influence of parent background on parenting, how parents and children influence each other, strengthening children’s support networks, and strengthening the parent-child relationship.
- Coparenting relationships including knowing what coparenting is, and what it may look like for their specific family, successful coparenting strategies, communication strategies, common issues affecting step-families, understanding parenting plans, what coparenting looks like, changing roles and boundaries, conflict management, and ways to improve the coparenting relationship.
Participant experience with the course
After taking the course, participants reported on their likelihood of completing a list of action steps based on the content of the curriculum.
- A majority of participants were very likely (55%, n=275) and somewhat likely (43%, n=217) to identify barriers to their goals.
- A majority of participants were very likely (50%, n=254) and somewhat likely (39%, n=196) to use the financial tools they learned about.
- A majority of participants were very likely (60%, n=302) and somewhat likely (38%, n=189) to take steps to improve their support network.
- A majority of participants were very likely (77%, n=392) and somewhat likely (21%, n=105) to adjust their parenting to better meet the needs of their children.
- A majority of participants were very likely (67%, n=339) and somewhat likely (30%, n=153) to use one of the coparenting strategies they learned.
On the horizon
In 2016, Parents Forever™ launched numerous studies with the goal of documenting the effectiveness of our curriculum in supporting parents through divorce, separation, and/or custody change. The data collection for these projects is completed and we are currently preparing to submit our program materials to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices (NREPP), a national list of effective programs.
In 2016, based on the feedback from educators, we created a more streamlined evaluation system including simpler, more concise evaluation tools for both the in-person and online courses and shifted to an automated survey system that collects facilitator feedback on a quarterly basis instead of completing a paper form after each class.
We launched a section on the Parent Forever™ website to provide evidence behind our theory of change and updated research pertinent to divorce education and families. Check this resource out to see our most recent published articles and study updates!
Frequently asked questions by professionals — Have questions? Get answers!
Frequently asked questions by families — Have questions? Get answers!
Parents Forever™ keeps kids first after divorce — Extension Source article about the Parents Forever™ program.