A team of researchers with the goal of helping divorced parents create healthier environments for their children recently received a grant that will allow them to bring their project to the public. The Vandermark Foundation provided the group of Florida State University researchers with $250,000 in grant money to support their online toolkit for families of divorce. The program, called Successful Co-Parenting After Divorce, is designed to promote strong co-parenting relationships and is set to launch this fall.
“We know that good co-parenting helps create healthy, well-adjusted children,” said Karen Oehme, director of the Institute for Family Violence Studies at FSU’s College of Social Work. “We are exceptionally grateful to the Vandermark Foundation for recognizing the need for this crucial and inspirational project. The project could not have proceeded without the foundation’s extraordinarily generous funding.”
The Successful Co-Parenting After Divorce project is a collaborative endeavor between Florida State University’s College of Education, College of Communication and Information, and College of Social Work. Its main objectives focus on solving and preventing the problems faced by divorced families by educating parents and providing them with the skills necessary to create a positive family experience for their children.
The project’s goals include:
- Educating families about the negative effects of divorce on the family system and explaining how co-parenting can help negate these negative experiences;
- Promoting communication skills and conflict-reduction strategies to allow for healthier co-parenting relationships;
- Training lawyers and mental health professionals to understand the dynamics and benefits of positive co-parenting.
In order to help as many families as possible, the project’s creators are hoping to have the course approved as a mandatory parenting program for parents going through divorce in Florida and Massachusetts – with the potential to expand to every state that mandates parenting education.
“I was excited to see the FSU community come together for this collaborative project,” said Peter Scanlon, president of the Vandermark Foundation and an alumnus of FSU. “After decades of working in community mental health services and seeing the need for this training, I am thrilled that we are supporting FSU’s important work.”
The online toolkit will be made available at no cost to divorcing families, lawyers, and mental health professionals nationwide upon its launch this fall.