Can the court mandate or encourage a parent to attend the New Beginnings Program?
In Maricopa, Pima, and Coconino Counties, we are accepting divorcing and separating families into the program who are mandated or encouraged by the court to attend a parenting class. The court mandate must be to a parenting program for which either the New Beginnings Program OR an alternative program in the community would satisfy the mandate. This process is necessary because parents who participate in the New Beginnings Program must be willing to participate in a research evaluation of the program, and regulations for the ethical conduct of research state that people cannot be forced to participate in research. Because parents have the right to refuse to participate in the evaluation, the court mandate must permit parents to choose an alternative program if they prefer. Mandated or encouraged parents must satisfy all eligibility criteria, which are listed on the How to Refer page.
Will the New Beginnings Program help high-conflict parents?
The New Beginnings Program focuses primarily on improving the quality of parenting following divorce or separation. It does not teach co-parenting skills. However, the program does teach skills to help reduce children’s exposure to interparental conflict, thereby reducing the negative impact of such conflict on the children.
Can parents be referred to the New Beginnings Program from Juvenile Justice or Child Protective Service?
The program focuses specifically on parenting skills that are critical for divorcing or separating parents. Parents involved in CPS and/or juvenile justice often have other parenting needs that cannot be adequately addressed in this program. Thus, the New Beginnings Program is not appropriate for these families.
Are both parents required to attend the program?
Both parents are not required to attend the New Beginnings Program. There are separate groups for mothers and fathers. So, if both parents do participate, they will not be in the same group.
When is the New Beginnings Program offered?
Groups will be held two times a year, once starting in October (and ending in December) and once starting in March (and ending in June). Parents should be referred to the New Beginnings team by mid-September for the fall groups and mid-February for the spring groups to allow sufficient time for them to be enrolled, complete their interviews, and be assigned to a group.
Can I request that a parent be assigned to either the 10-session or 2-session version of the program?
We cannot honor requests for placement in specific versions of the program. In order to effectively evaluate the program, all participating parents must be randomly assigned to either the 10-session or 2-session version.
What kind of report can the court receive about a parent’s participation in the New Beginnings Program?
All parents who complete the program will get a certificate of completion. If requested by the parent, we can also provide a letter stating the number of sessions that the parent attended. Because we promise confidentiality to all participants, we cannot reveal any additional information concerning a parent’s participation, their responses to the questions that were part of the evaluation, or information disclosed by the parent while in the group.