Family Foundations

Scientific Rating:
2
Supported by Research Evidence
See scale of 1-5
Child Welfare System Relevance Level:
Low
See descriptions of 3 levels

About This Program

The information in this program outline is provided by the program representative and edited by the CEBC staff. Family Foundations has been rated by the CEBC in the area of: Parent Training Programs that Address Child Abuse and Neglect.

Target Population: Expectant mothers and fathers

Brief Description

Family Foundations is a series of classes delivered before and after birth that focuses on supporting couples having a baby. The classes focus on individual parent adjustment (stress, depression, anxiety) and self-regulation; coparenting cooperation and support; and early parenting sensitivity. Variations of Family Foundations exist for other populations (e.g., low-income teen parents, low-income and lower-education adult parents, military families, and parents with a child recently diagnosed with autism), but have not been reviewed by the CEBC.

Program Goals:

The goals of Family Foundations are:

  • Reduced parental stress
  • Reduced parent depression and anxiety
  • Increased parent self-efficacy
  • Enhanced coparental support and cooperation
  • Reduced coparental conflict and undermining
  • Enhanced parental warmth and sensitivity
  • Reduced harsh and physically aggressive parenting
  • Reduced family violence
  • Enhanced child social-emotion competence and academic adjustment
  • Reduced child internalizing and externalizing

Essential Components

The essential components of Family Foundations include:

  • Nine parenting classes with 5 of them occurring before the child is born and 4 occurring after birth:
    • Class 1. Building a Family: The facilitators set the foundation of the coparenting team by providing activities and discussions that promote communication, while focusing on the positive parenting strengths of the team.
    • Class 2. Feelings & Conflicts: This class focuses on feelings and emotions, how parents' emotions affect the child, especially conflict, and how parents can avoid and manage conflict.
    • Class 3. Good Sport Teamwork: This class teaches couples to identify behaviors that upset them, how to recognize negative storylines, and how to change those thoughts.
    • Class 4. Working it Out: Throughout the series, couples have practiced communication skills but this class addresses how best to hold difficult conversations.
    • Class 5. Here We Go! This class ends the prenatal series by helping couples both see each other as supportive partners and build each others' confidence as parents.
    • Birth of child
    • Class 6. New Parent Experiences: This class allows parents to discuss the challenges of adjusting to parenthood and recognize the normalcy of their experiences. The class focuses on helping parents recognize their child’s temperament and moods.
    • Class 7. Security: This class focuses on attachment and security between parent and child. The issue of problem solving is introduced.
    • Class 8. Problem Solving: This class focuses on dynamics within the parenting team and couple problem-solving.
    • Class 9. Keeping Things Positive: This class reviews how to best encourage security with the child, how couples handle sex and intimacy, and how parents can be supportive by communicating appreciation for their partner.
  • Provide additional support and referrals as needed

Parent/Caregiver Services

Family Foundations directly provides services to parents/caregivers and addresses the following:

  • Couple pregnant with a due date about 4 weeks away with potential coparenting difficulties and stress

Delivery Settings

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Community Agency
  • Hospital
  • Outpatient Clinic

Homework

This program does not include a homework component.

Languages

Family Foundations does not have materials available in a language other than English.

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

Room with flip charts/white board and A/V equipment to display video clips

Minimum Provider Qualifications

College education is recommended along with experience in leading groups and working with families.

Education and Training Resources

There is a manual that describes how to implement this program, and there is training available for this program.

Training Contact:
Training is obtained:

Provided onsite

Number of days/hours:

Training requires total of 2-3 days

Implementation Information

Since Family Foundations is rated on the Scientific Rating Scale, information was requested from the program representative on available pre-implementation assessments, implementation tools, and/or fidelity measures.

Show implementation information...

Pre-Implementation Materials

There are no pre-implementation materials to measure organizational or provider readiness for Family Foundations.

Formal Support for Implementation

There is formal support available for implementation of Family Foundations as listed below:

Technical assistance on implementation is available. There are program management materials, such as participant feedback forms, evaluation data spreadsheets, etc.

Fidelity Measures

There are fidelity measures for Family Foundations as listed below:

Fidelity measures are available for observers and facilitators to fill out after each session.

Implementation Guides or Manuals

There are no implementation guides or manuals for Family Foundations.

Research on How to Implement the Program

Research has not been conducted on how to implement Family Foundations.

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

This program is rated a "2 - Supported by Research Evidence" on the Scientific Rating Scale based on the published, peer-reviewed research available. The program must have at least one rigorous randomized controlled trial with a sustained effect of at least 6 months. The article(s) below that reports outcomes from an RCT showing a sustained effect of at least 6 months has an asterisk (*) at the beginning of its entry. Please see the Scientific Rating Scale for more information.

Child Welfare Outcome: Child/Family Well-Being

Show relevant research...

Feinberg, M. E., & Kan, M. L. (2008). Establishing Family Foundations: Intervention effects on coparenting, parent/infant well-being, and parent-child relations. Journal of Family Psychology, 22(2), 253-263. doi:10.1037/0893-3200.22.2.253

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 169

Population:

  • Age — 28-29 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — 90% Non-Hispanic White
  • Gender — 50% Female and 50% Male
  • Status — Participants were couples expecting their first child.

Location/Institution: Pennsylvania—Altoona and Harrisburg

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
The current study evaluated the effectiveness of the Family Foundations (FF) program on coparenting; parental depression and anxiety; distress in the parent-infant relationship; and infant regulatory competence (sleep, attention duration, soothability). Couples were randomly assigned to intervention or to no-treatment control conditions. Measures utilized include the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale, Parental Stress Index, Infant Behavior Questionnaire, and Relationships Scale Questionnaire. Results indicate FF participants displayed significant improvement on coparental support; maternal depression and anxiety; distress in the parent-child relationship; and several indicators of infant regulation. Effects from FF were not moderated by income, but greater positive impact of the program was found for lower educated parents and for families with a father who reported higher levels of insecure attachment in close relationships. Limitations include reliance on self-reported measures, lack of generalizability due to ethnicity, and lack of follow-up.

Length of postintervention follow-up: None.

*Feinberg, M. E., Kan, M. L., & Goslin, M. C. (2009). Enhancing coparenting, parenting, and child self-regulation: Effects of Family Foundations 1 year after birth. Prevention Science, 10(3), 276-285. doi:10.1007/s11121-009-0130-4

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 169

Population:

  • Age — 28-29 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — 90% Non-Hispanic White
  • Gender — 50% Female and 50% Male
  • Status — Participants were couples expecting their first child.

Location/Institution: Pennsylvania—Altoona and Harrisburg

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study utilizes data from Feinberg, et al. (2008). The current study examines follow-up data collected when the infants were 1-year old regarding the Family Foundations (FF) program target of the coparental relationship, the more general construct of couple relationship quality, parenting quality, and child self-regulatory capacity. Couples were randomly assigned to intervention or to no-treatment control conditions. Measures utilized include the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale, Parental Stress Index, Infant Behavior Questionnaire and Relationships Scale Questionnaire. Results indicate significant program effects at follow-up emerged in all four domains in the FF group. Limitations include reliance on self-reported measures, lack of generalizability due to ethnicity, and intervention effects on maternal depression or on dyadic couple relationship quality may have led to enhanced coparenting.

Length of postintervention follow-up: Approximately 6 months.

*Feinberg, M. E., Jones, D. E., Kan, M. L., & Goslin, M. C. (2010). Effects of family foundations on parents and children: 3.5 years after baseline. Journal of Family Psychology, 24(5), 532-542. doi:10.1037/a0020837

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 169

Population:

  • Age — 28-29 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — 90% Non-Hispanic White
  • Gender — 50% Female and 50% Male
  • Status — Participants were couples expecting their first child.

Location/Institution: Pennsylvania—Altoona and Harrisburg

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study utilizes data from Feinberg, et al. (2008). The current study assessed the outcomes of Family Foundations (FF) when children were 3 years old. Couples were randomly assigned to FF or to no-treatment control conditions. Measures utilized include the Parenting Sense of Competence, Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), Parenting Scale, and The Coparenting Relationship Scale. Results indicate all families in the FF group experienced significant program effects on parental stress and self-efficacy, coparenting, harsh parenting, and children’s emotional adjustment. Cohabiting couples in the FF group experienced significant program effects on maternal depression. Among families of boys in the FF group, program effects were found for child behavior problems and couple relationship quality. Limitations include reliance on self-reported measures and lack of generalizability due to ethnicity and educational level.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 6, 12, and 36 months.

Kan, M. L., & Feinberg, M. E., & Solmeyer, A. R. (2012). Intimate partner violence and coparenting across the transition to parenthood. Journal of Family Issues, 33(2), 115-135. doi:10.1177/0192513X11412037

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 156

Population:

  • Age — 28-29 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — Not specified
  • Gender — 50% Female and 50% Male
  • Status — Participants were couples expecting their first child.

Location/Institution: Pennsylvania—Altoona and Harrisburg

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study utilizes data from Feinberg, et al. (2008). The current study examined violence prior to the birth of a first child as a predictor of coparenting quality when children reached 1 year of age in a community sample of first-time parents utilizing the Family Foundations (FF) program. Couples were randomly assigned to FF or a control condition. Measures utilized include the Revised Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D), Conflict Tactics Scales (CTS2), and The Coparenting Relationship Scale. Results found FF participation was associated with self-reported and observed improvements in parent mental health, coparenting, and parenting as a function of the intervention. Couple relationship quality and parent mental health problems accounted for the links between prenatal interpersonal violence and coparenting issues. Limitations include lack of generalizability due to ethnicity, self-reported measures, and lack of follow-up.

Length of postintervention follow-up: None.

Kan, M. L., & Feinberg, M. E. (2014). Can a family-focused, transition-to-parenthood program prevent parent and partner aggression among couples with young children? Violence and Victims, 29, 967-980. doi:10.1891/0886-6708.VV-D-12-00162

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 169

Population:

  • Age — Parents: 28-29 years, Children Mean=36.82 months
  • Race/Ethnicity — Parents: 90% Non-Hispanic White; Children: Not specified
  • Gender — Parents: 50% Female and 50% Male; Children 56% Male
  • Status — Participants were couples expecting their 1st child.

Location/Institution: Pennsylvania—Altoona and Harrisburg

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study utilizes data from previous study [Feinberg et al 2008]. This study examined moderated effects of Family Foundations (FF) program for couples on partner psychological aggression and parent-child physical aggression when the child was 3 years old. Couples were randomly assigned to intervention (n=89) or to no-treatment control conditions (n=80). Measures utilized Revised Conflict Tactics Scales (CTS2) and the Parent-Child Conflict Tactics Scales. Results indicate significant program effects reduced partner psychological aggression by fathers and reduced parent-child physical aggression by mothers for couples with frequent preprogram partner psychological aggression and reduced partner psychological aggression by fathers for couples with severe preprogram partner physical aggression. Limitations include reliance on self-reported measures, generalizability to community samples of primarily White, married couple and lack of follow-up.

Length of postintervention follow-up: None.

Feinberg, M. E., Jones, D. E., Roettger, M. E., Solmeyer, A., & Hostetler, M. L. (2014). Long-term follow-up of a randomized trial of family foundations: Effects on children’s emotional, behavioral, and school adjustment. Journal of Family Psychology, 28(6), 821-831. doi:10.1037/fam0000037

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 98

Population:

  • Age — 28-29 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — 90% Non-Hispanic White
  • Gender — 50% Female and 50% Male
  • Status — Participants were couples expecting their first child.

Location/Institution: Pennsylvania—Altoona and Harrisburg

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study utilizes data from Feinberg, et al. (2008) and Feinberg, et al. (2010). The current study evaluated the effectiveness of the Family Foundations (FF) program on internalizing and externalizing problems and school adjustment. Couples were randomly assigned to FF or to no-treatment control conditions. Measures utilized include the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) and the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL). Results indicate teachers reported significantly lower levels of internalizing problems among children in the FF group compared with children in the control group. Also, consistent with prior findings at 3 years of age, lower levels of externalizing problems for boys in the FF group. Limitations include high attrition rate, reliance on self-reported measures, and lack of generalizability due to ethnicity.

Length of postintervention follow-up: Approximately 5-7 years.

Solmeyer, A. R., Feinberg, M. E., Coffman, D. L., & Jones, D. E. (2014). The effects of the Family Foundations prevention program on coparenting and child adjustment: A mediation analysis. Prevention Science, 15, 213–223. doi:10.1007/s11121-013-0366-x

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 167

Population:

  • Age — 28-29 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — Not specified
  • Gender — 50% Female and 50% Male
  • Status — Participants were couples expecting their first child.

Location/Institution: Pennsylvania—Altoona and Harrisburg

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study utilizes data from Feinberg, et al. (2010). The current study tested coparenting competition and positivity as potential mediators (influencers) of the impact of Family Foundations (FF) on child adjustment problems 3.5 years after baseline, and explored child gender as a moderator (cause) of the mediated effects. Couples were randomly assigned to FF or a control condition. Measures utilized include Parenting Sense of Competence, Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), Parenting Scale and The Coparenting Relationship Scale. Results indicate FF participation was associated with significant mediated (influenced) effects for coparenting competition for fathers with both sons and daughters and for mothers with sons, but not for mothers with daughters. Coparenting positivity did not mediate (influence) program effects. Limitations include lack of generalizability due to ethnicity, not able to pinpoint exactly which parts of the intervention were effective, and reliance on self-reported measures.

Length of postintervention follow-up: Approximately 3 years.

Kan, M. L., & Feinberg, M. E. (2015). Impacts of a coparenting-focused intervention on links between pre-birth intimate partner violence and observed parenting. Journal of Family Violence, 30(3), 363-372. doi:10.1007/s10896-015-9678-x

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 167

Population:

  • Age — 28-29 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — Not specified
  • Gender — 50% Female and 50% Male
  • Status — Participants were couples expecting their first child.

Location/Institution: Pennsylvania—Altoona and Harrisburg

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study utilizes data from Feinberg, et al. (2008). The current study examines Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) prior to the birth of a first child as a predictor of observed parenting when the child was one-year old utilizing the Family Foundations (FF) program. Couples were randomly assigned to FF or a control condition. Data was collected during prenatal home interview (Time 1), through mailed questionnaires 4 to 8 months after the birth of the baby (Time 2) and during another home interview approximately 13 months after the birth of the baby (Time 3). Measures utilized Revised Conflict Tactics Scales (CTS2) and The Coparenting Relationship Scale. Results indicate links between mother and father violence and parenting was significant; however, this was only for participants in the control group. Coparenting did not significantly mediate associations between IPV and parenting among control group couples. Limitations include lack of generalizability due to ethnicity and limited by a past-year measure of IPV that was assessed prenatally.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 3-7 months and 12 months.

Feinberg, M. E., Jones, D., Roettger, M., Hostetler, M., Sakuma, K., Paul, I., & Ethrenthal, D. (2016). Preventive effects on birth outcomes: Buffering impact of maternal stress, depression, & anxiety. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 20(1), 56-65. doi:10.1007/s10995-015-1801-3

Type of Study: Randomized block design with propensity scoring
Number of Participants: 259

Population:

  • Age — Mean=28.4 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — 84.7% Non-Hispanic White
  • Gender — 50% Female and 50% Male
  • Status — Participants were couples expecting their 1st child.

Location/Institution: 3 mid-Atlantic and 1 southwestern US states

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study utilizes data from Feinberg, et al. (2010). The current study assessed the outcomes of Family Foundations (FF) when children were 3 years old. Couples were randomly assigned to intervention or control conditions after pretest data collection using a randomized block design. Measures utilized include Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D), State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, and demographic information. Results indicate FF buffered the negative impact of maternal mental health problems on birth weight and both mother and infant length of postpartum hospital stay. For birth weight, assignment to FF was associated with higher birth weight for infants born before term. Limitations include reliance on self-reported measures, lack of generalizability due to ethnicity and educational level, and lack of follow-up.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 6, 12, and 36 months.

Feinberg, M. E., Jones, D., Hostetler, M., Roettger, M., Paul, I., & Ehrenthal, D. (2016). Couple-focused prevention at the transition to parenthood, a randomized trial: Effects on coparenting, parenting, family violence, and parent and child adjustment. Prevention Science, 17(6), 751-764. doi:10.1007/s11121-016-0674-z

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 399

Population:

  • Age — 29-31 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — 85% Non-Hispanic White
  • Gender — 50% Female and 50% Male
  • Status — Participants were couples expecting their first child.

Location/Institution: 3 Mid-Atlantic States and 1 southern state

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
The purpose of this study is to test the short-term efficacy of Family Foundations (FF). Couples were randomly assigned to FF or control conditions after pretest. FF couples received a manualized 9-session (5 prenatal and 4 postnatal classes) psychoeducational program delivered in small groups. Measures utilized include the Coparenting Relationship Scale, Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CESD), Infant Behavior Questionnaire, Child Sleep Questionnaire, Conflict Tactics Scale, and the Parent-Child Conflict Tactics Scale. Results found significant positive impact across all domains of outcomes examined: parent mental health and adjustment, coparenting and couple relations, parenting quality, family violence, and early indicators of child self-regulation (soothability, attention, sleep). Results also indicated that the relatively well-educated and high-functioning nature of the sample may have reduced the potential for finding overall preventive intervention impact. Limitations include reliability on self-reported measures, lack of generalizability due to ethnicity and educational level, and lack of follow-up.

Length of postintervention follow-up: None.

References

Feinberg, M. E. (2002). Coparenting and the transition to parenthood: A framework for prevention. Clinical Child & Family Psychology Review, 5, 173-195.

Feinberg, M. E. (2003). The internal structure and ecological context of coparenting: A framework for research and intervention. Parenting: Science and Practice, 3(3), 95-131.

Contact Information

Name: Jill Zeruth
Agency/Affiliation: Family Gold
Website: www.famfound.net
Email:

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: February 2016

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: April 2017

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: April 2017