The Kids First Center came into existence with the recognition that outcomes for children are improved when parents manage their post-separation conflict, especially in their presence. Years of national research has validated this foundational principle.
Since its creation in 1989, the four-hour co-parenting class has been the marquee program of the Kids First Center. It was first taught in a church hall to a handful of parents eager to learn about “co-parenting”—an unfamiliar concept to many, if not most, attorneys, judges, and therapists.
With the emergence of greater parental involvement by both moms and dads in the lives of their children, effective co-parenting has evolved from a novelty to a necessity--not only for the families involved but for society at large. This is why the Kids First Center exists and why we are so proud of the latest version of the four-hour program: The First Step: Foundations in Co-Parenting.
We undertook the revision and revitalization of the First Step program in late 2019. The process began with a hard look at the content. We discovered we loved most of the curriculum, and we recognized the genius of our predecessors in drafting the program. So, the next logical question was, “Why change?” That answer was easy for us too.
When the four-hour program was originally launched, the very first generation of the iPhone had not been invented yet. High speed internet was science fiction. Texting was “not a thing.” How we all communicate with one other has changed in so many ways. How parents and co-parents communicate is radically different from when the very first parent sat for a program on peaceful parenting and child development. Indeed, the communications revolution has made enhanced co-parenting possible.
It also follows that there is a greater responsibility on attorneys, judges, therapists, and parents to learn the tools necessary to insulate children from the trauma of parental conflict. Simply put, the First Step was out of step with the leaps in advancement of the communication age and that needed to change. This was our goal when we set out putting together the revision of the First Step.
Given the hours of work and input by so many professionals (during a pandemic), I am proud of the product that made its debut in May 2022. The First Step: Foundations in Co-Parenting is a fresh, modern, and engaging journey for parents and professionals. Children, however, remain the beneficiaries of the work—something that will not change as times do.
We want as many people to experience the refreshed program as possible. If you are a parent who participated in the previous version of the First Step within the last year, you are welcomed to register for the new program on a donation basis, with a suggested donation of $40.
If you are a professional working with families, you too can view as part of our professional/ally audit program, also on a donation basis. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (207) 761-2709.
“I learned how important our behavior (verbal and non-verbal) is, and how it impacts our children. How I can rise above all issues, and just focus on my babies.”
“What I learned was that the best thing I can do for my kids is to say something good about their other parent!”
“I appreciated the focus on how many different relationships my/our kids are dealing with.”
“I learned I am in control of my behavior; I can’t control my co-parent!”
“I received validation; it helped to know that I’m not alone. I appreciated the section on preparing for court – that is coming up soon and I am scared.”