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March 2018Vol. 19, No. 2Coparenting Resources and Best Practices for Service Providers

Positive coparenting is a collaborative relationship that involves sharing the responsibilities and goals associated with raising a child. Children who are exposed to positive coparenting are less likely to exhibit externalizing problem behaviors, such as aggression, hyperactivity, and poor social skills. Positive coparenting is also associated with increased father involvement, particularly among nonresident fathers.

The Office of Adolescent Health recently released a resource for youth-serving professionals who support young parents and offers the following best practices for programs that offer coparenting services:

  • Program goals and messaging should be consistent, especially in how they message the program to young fathers; be aware of and provide referrals to agencies that provide services outside the program's ability and resources young parents can access within the community; and emphasize that  case management meetings are about the child's well-being as well as supporting fathers and mothers both individually and collectively.
  • Programs should embed coparenting lesson plans into their services, and program materials should include materials that focus on responsible fatherhood, coparenting, and relationship management.
  • Create safe spaces and boundaries by discussing upfront what information will be disclosed about either parent during individual or group meetings, offer opportunities for fathers and mothers to engage in the curriculum activities together as well as separately, and assess the nature of the relationship between the father and mother to ensure the safety of the child and parents using trauma-informed approaches.
  • Foster opportunities for communication by providing guidance for young fathers on how to effectively communicate with their child's mother, especially if parents do not live together.

The brief also provides a listing of coparenting resources, as well as evidence-informed programs and other sources of information to help young parents.

Co-Parenting: Resources and Best Practices for Service Providers is available at (389 KB).