The New Beginnings Program was developed by researchers at Arizona State University and will offer a program (consisting of either 10 or 2 weekly group meetings) to assist parents who are separated/ never married or divorced. There are separate meetings for mothers and fathers, and it is not necessary that both parents to a couple participate. Anyone participating must be willing to attend either the 10 week or 2 week program. (There will be a random allotment of participants to either of those two versions.) The program is being offered FREE to Maricopa County participants as it is an evaluation study funded by the National Institutes of Health.
Both versions (10 weeks or 2 weeks) are designed to help parents strengthen their parenting skills following separation or divorce, for the benefit of the children. Results have shown improved outcomes for children, in terms of mental health and substance abuse problems, plus improved self-esteem, coping and school grades, following their parents’ participation.
A person may be eligible to participate if there has been recent (past 2 years) involvement in family court, through either a current divorce/ parenting time dispute or a modification of a previous parenting time order; and there is ongoing and regular contact between the parent and at least one child for an overnight or at least three hours per week; and one child is between the ages of 3 and 18; and the parent has not remarried; and the parent will agree to the program terms and attendance and participate in telephone interviews to evaluate the program. Currently the program is offered only in English.
Anyone who believes they qualifies and who is interested in participating can self-refer through the website or by calling 1-855-531-0851 to learn more. Attorneys, court personnel and mental health professionals are encouraged to refer people to this program.
The program focuses on improving the quality of parenting and is currently NOT focused on co-parenting strategies or skills. The program does not require that both parents of a child attend; this can be done on an individual basis. The next program will start in March 2013 and run through June, and another program session will start in October 2013.