'Mums and Dads Forever': A Cooperative Parenting Initiative.

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Author (Individual)
Dickinson, J.
Murphy, P.
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This Australian pilot program seeks to promote cooperative post-separation parenting, through education and communications training, to reduce reliance on family courts in resolving conflicts involving the terms of court orders. Most parents using the courts for such conflicts are non-residents and while such cases represented a small number of the overall caseload, they take up a disproportionate amount of court time and resources. The Anglicare program uses the term cooperative parenting rather than co-parenting or joint parenting to describe positive post-separation parenting by both partners for the best interests of the child. The program's components include a three-hour general information discussion; and an intake interview prior to which participants complete a Myers Briggs Type Indicator test; up to four one-hour individual counseling sessions; a six-week workshop; and mediation id requested. This article describes the initial findings of the program, including weekly feedback from participants; weekly assessment of workshops by facilitators; a final workshop evaluation by participants; follow-up interviews; case studies of participants to assess progress; and discussions with other stakeholders, including the family court. Case studies and examples of participant comments are presented. The authors conclude the program is helpful, but not sufficient by itself to achieve the stated goals: participants needed continuing support and guidance. It does offer the potential to ameliorate some problems facing separated parents, and in managing residency and contact issues. 7 references, 1 measure.

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