New Beginnings Program
Support for Separating and Divorcing/Divorced Parents
Developed at Arizona State University, research about the New Beginnings Program has demonstrated that parental participation in the program results in improved children’s long-term adjustment following divorce.
Separation and divorce are very stressful times for parents and children and it can be challenging to provide effective parenting during this time. The New Beginnings Program works by helping parents learn and practice skills to increase positive interactions in the family, strengthen their listening skills and learn more effective discipline strategies. They also learn skills to keep their children out of the middle of conflicts they have with the child’s other parent.
Who can participate?
- Divorced or separating parents, including those who were never married.
- Participants must have a Maricopa County Family Court case number to enroll.
- Parents may be voluntary, court-mandated, or referred by their attorney or a Judge.
- Parents must have some ongoing, regular contact with their child/ren.
What is the program like?
- Parents learn skills from a highly trained, Master’s level group leader and meet with other parents going through similar experiences.
- The program consists of 10 weekly group meetings; each meeting lasts two hours.
- Mothers and fathers are in separate groups.
- Child care is available.
- The program is provided at no cost via a grant from the AZ Superior Court.
Parental participation in the New Beginnings Program has led to children having fewer mental health and substance use problems, better grades and higher self-esteem six years after participation as compared to children whose parents did not participate in this program.
Youths who were experiencing more problems when their parents entered the program showed the greatest benefit. Fifteen years later, when the youths had become young adults, those whose parents attended the New Beginnings Program showed benefits in terms of fewer problems such as depression and substance use and less negative attitudes about the divorce than those who parents participated in a self-study comparison condition.