The New Beginnings Program for Divorcing and Separating Families (NBP) is a 10-session program designed to promote effective parenting following family separation or divorce. The program teaches skills that help parents build positive and warm relationships, use open communication with children, employ effective discipline, and keep children out of the middle of conflict between their parents. The program focuses on effective parenting because research has shown that effective parenting by both mothers and fathers is one of the most powerful resources for helping children adjust positively to parental divorce or separation.
Evidence for New Beginnings Program
The NBP has been rigorously evaluated in three randomized experimental trials. These trials demonstrated that it improved parenting and reduced children’s mental health problems. One of the trials included a follow-up assessment six years and 15 years after the families participated, when the offspring were 15 to 18 years old and 24 to 28 years old. The results showed positive program effects in adolescense. The adolescents in the program had 37% lower rates of diagnosed mental disorder, fewer mental health problems, and used less alcohol, marijuana and other drugs. They also had higher self-esteem and better grades. Illustratively, 35% more of the adolescents whose parents were in the NBP had an A or B average in school compared to those in the control condition. Importantly, program effects to improve these outcomes occurred because of improvements in effective parenting that occurred during the program. At the 15-year follow-up, the NBP reduced the incidence of internalizing disorders, the number of sexual partners from adolescence to emerging adulthood and time spent in jail. For males, the NBP also reduced the number of substance use disorders from adolescence to emerging adulthood, current polydrug and other drug use, and recent substance use problems. Cost savings analysis showed that the NBP led to an average savings in the one year preceding the 15-year follow-up of $1,630 per family. The NBP is considered a model program by Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development.