For parents dealing with divorce or separation, the state of New York offers parenting and child well-being classes through the Parent Education and Awareness Program (PEAP). The classes are are taught by certified providers across the state. Parents can be referred to PEAP through a judge, attorney, mediator, mental health professional or by self referral.
The PEAP was created to educate parents on how divorce and separation impacts their children. The goal of the program is to teach parents how to reduce the stress brought about divorce/separation and protect children from the negative effects of parents in conflict.
Below is a brief history and some interesting facts on the development of the PEAP program from an article written in The New York State Bar Association Journal, July/August 2008:
- New York State joined the movement to provide parent education on a statewide basis in 2001, under the direction of its Chief Judge, Judith S. Kaye.
- In October of 2003, the Advisory Board released its report and recommendations for uniform standards and procedures for the certification and monitoring of parent education programs.
- By Court Rule of July 24, 2006, Family Court Judges and Supreme Court Matrimonial Justices were empowered to order, in their discretion, parents of children under the age of 18 years who are involved in custody, visitation, divorce, separation, annulment or child support court actions or proceedings, to attend PEAP-certified parent education programs.
- The Court Rule was subsequently revised on May 15, 2007, to clarify that judges cannot order parents to attend parent education where there is any history, or specific allegations or pleadings, of domestic violence or other abuse involving the parents or their children.
- There are an estimated 50 certified providers that cover all 62 counties in New York State; classes are offered at 93 sites.
- As of October 2007, approximately 7,957 parents have attended parent education classes since the Program’s launch.