Strengthening Families Through Counseling, Education and Mediation

Parenting Booklet


The purpose of this class project is to work jointly with The Family Academy, a non-profit organization in Utah County, to create a weekly, two hour, informational seminar that will run for six weeks. Two additional workshop weeks of the series will be dedicated to instructing participants on implementing the subjects discussed during the previous seminar nights in order to create a parenting plan. The informational seminar series will be offered periodically, creating an established program in the community.  These seminars will provide information to community members on how to safely negotiate and maintain family ties during and after domestic conflict.


According to the Kids Count Database (2011), 18% of children lived in single parent homes in Utah. Although this number is significantly lower than in the national average (34%), it is evident that the development of children in Utah is at risk in multiple ways. Likewise, Utah County is reported to have the second highest number of divorces of any other county in Utah (Utah Department of Health, 2005), which points to a need within the community.

Researchers find that children of divorce and separation fair worse on several outcomes, including problem behavior, compared to their counterparts (Amato & Keith, 1991; Amato, et al., 2011).  Further, children impacted by domestic traumas are more likely to receive a diagnosis of a psychiatric disorder (Collishaw, et al., 2007), have lower psychosocial development, have lower academic achievement (Potter, 2010), and have lower levels of overall wellbeing (Brown, 2004). An evident theme arises across all of these studies. Without any kind of meditational or remedial action, domestic traumas and dramatic changes in family structure lead to a host of negative outcomes in a child’s development.

Our Hope

Domestic conflict in the home can lead to greater disturbances in child development and Utah County has a substantial number of divorced, divorcing, and separated cohabiting families; however, there are very few programs that focus specifically on educating families who are navigating the complexities of the related social and legal systems. The Family Academy is a non-profit organization dedicated to help families reduce damaging effects of domestic traumas, including divorce, parental loss, and domestic violence. They provide service through therapy, education, and mediation council. Together with The Family Academy, we hope to create an educational program that will emphasize maintaining healthy child development and family structure amidst complex family distress. The informational seminar series; along with the enclosed booklet, will start to fill the current gap in services provided to Utah County citizens.


There is a necessity to emphasize that the following text has been compiled by students from the Brigham Young University (BYU) Masters of Social Work program and does not provide professional legal or therapeutic advice. The information provided is neither exhaustive nor comprehensive and in no way is it intended to serve as an alternative to professional legal or therapeutic interventions. The included information should be used as an introduction for the purpose of obtaining more detailed information and familiarity on otherwise very complicated and difficult topics.


 Amato, P. R., & Keith, B. (1991). Parental divorce and the well-being of children: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 110(1), 26-46.

Amato, P. R., Kane, J. B., James, S., Pryor, J., & Ahrons, C. R. (2011). Reconsidering the “good divorce.” Family Relations,60(5),511-532.

Annie E. Casey Foundation. (2011). Kids count database.  Retrieved from

Brown, S. (2004). Family structure and child well-being: The significance of parental cohabitation. Journal of Marriage and Family, 66(2), 351-367.

Collishaw, S., Pickles, A., Messer, J., Rutter, M., Shearer, C., & Maughan, B. (2007). Resilience to adult psychopathology following childhood maltreatment: Evidence from a community sample. Child Abuse Neglect, 31, 211-229.

Potter, D. (2010). Psychosocial well-being and the relationship between divorce and children’s academic achievement. Journal of Marriage and Family, 72(4), 933-946.

Utah Department of Health Center for Health Data. (2005). Utah vital statistics, marriages and divorces. Retrieved from

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