FRPN Grantee Report: A Qualitative Interview Study Regarding Barriers and Facilitators of Engagement in Two Online Education Programs for Separating or Divorcing Parents

Dec 2019 | Amy Holtzworth-Munroe, Judge Kimberly Dowling, Amy G. Applegate, Claire Tomlinson & Brittany Rudd

Many U.S. courts have implemented educational parenting programs for separating parents to reduce the risk of emotional and behavioral problems for their children. The majority of these programs are offered in-person and may be difficult for some parents to access. To address barriers, courts have begun to implement online parenting programs, which are assumed to be more accessible.

Through FRPN-funding, researchers from Indiana University conducted a qualitative interview study to explore barriers and facilitators to participation in online parenting programs that parents were court-ordered to pursue. The study consisted of interviews with 61 parents who received a court order from Delaware Circuit Court in Muncie, Ind., 30% of whom participated in the parenting program and 70% of whom did not. 

While many parents reported positives of the online parenting programs others reported barriers to program participation, including barriers previously associated with in-person programs (e.g., inconvenience) and new barriers (e.g., technology problems). 

Improving understanding of such barriers and facilitators may help courts consider how to better assist families during the separation process and offers insights on how courts might better implement orders for services like parent education to improve compliance.

The full study can be downloaded below. Download the summary report here or the executive summary here

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