The purpose of this project is to develop and evaluate a specialized online version of a marital education program for resource (i.e., foster, kinship, and adoptive) parents. The program, called Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program (PREP), is a well-researched, highly effective, and widely used curriculum that has been adapted already for use with certain select populations, though not specifically with resource couples. Foster, kinship, and adoptive couples face extraordinary challenges that can, and do, have a large impact on their marriages. Standard family contexts and dynamics for intervention do not generalize to these couples. However, marital education tailored to the special needs and circumstances of these parents could provide them with much needed social-communication skills to avoid negative interaction patterns in their marital relationship and to steer their expectations into a healthy framework. In Phase I we successfully developed and tested the first two modules from the PREP program. Findings provided strong support for the efficacy of the online version with this population. In Phase II we will produce another 13 modules adapted to this population to complete the program. We will evaluate the full, finished program with a national sample of 100 foster, adoptive, and kinship couples on measures of knowledge, communication and conflict management skills, a variety of indicators of a healthy marriage, and a test of parent and child adjustment. Fittingly, the recruitment of subjects, as well as the implementation and testing of the training intervention, will all be done online.
Subjects participating in this project will gain important information and skills to help them understand and manage the unique challenges of married life for foster, adoptive, and kinship couples. As a result, the quality of the marriage, parenting, family life, the resource child's adjustment, and the stability of the placement could improve.