Helping parents work together to meet children’s needs and protect them from harm.

Promoting Child Safety and Permanency

Children thrive best when they receive predictable, consistent care. Yet many children in the child welfare system have experienced erratic, insecure home environments and a lack of constant care providers.

  • Parents who engage in high levels of conflict are more likely to use unhealthy, potentially unsafe parenting practices.
  • When couples are violent toward each other, they are more likely to be violent and abusive toward their children.
  • Neglectful families often show less empathy, lack emotional closeness, and have poor communication and negotiation skills.

Teaching parents skills that promote good communication and healthy conflict management can help them work together to meet children’s needs and protect them from harm.

Helpful to Couples and Single Parents

The majority of single parents will eventually become involved in one or more romantic relationships and can benefit from healthy relationship skills. Few decisions a parent makes will have a greater impact on the well-being of their child(ren) than the type of person they bring into their children’s lives. Relationship and marriage education can help single parents learn to identify and avoid unsafe relationships that could put their child(ren) in danger.

Supporting Foster and Adoptive Families

Two of the most common reasons given for taking in foster children are to provide loving parents to children and to protect children from further harm. Foster children often enter the home with a number of emotional, behavioral, psychological, and medical needs. Foster families must strive to be warm and supportive despite these many challenges. The stress experienced by foster parents may exacerbate existing problems or heighten their risk for conflict about problems that were not present before placement. Given that foster children are already vulnerable from their experiences of maltreatment and other risk factors, foster children’s well-being may be further compromised by poor quality foster care.

Educating Youth about Healthy Relationships

Youth also need to learn these skills in order to establish healthy relationships, especially vulnerable youth. This includes youth in families that have been referred to children’s services, foster children aging out of the system, juvenile delinquents, and others. Youth learn about healthy (and unhealthy) relationships from the role models around them. When youth are not exposed to what a healthy relationship could and should look like, relationship education can help them develop the positive attitudes and skills needed to form healthy relationships of their own during adolescence and into adulthood