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Arizona Judicial Branch

Minimum Standards (2013)

Minimum Standards for Parent Education Programs

In accordance with Section 3-202, Arizona Code of Judicial Administration, plans for parent education programs, adopted and implemented by the Superior Court in each county, shall be consistent with the following minimum standards:

Table of Contents
I. Definitions
II. Length and Nature of the Program
III. Qualifications of Program Presenter
IV. General Program Requirements
V. Program Evaluation
VI. Exceptions to Standards

I. DEFINITIONS

For purposes of these standards, the following definitions apply:

A.  “Alternative delivery method (ADM)” means a method of presenting a parent education program other than by an in-classroom presenter.

B.  “Attend” means to participate in a parent education program, whether at a classroom site, or using the materials for an ADM program.

C.  “Co-parenting skills” means open dialog and cooperation between parents in decision-making regarding raising children.

D.  “Court” means the superior court in each county.

E.  “Parenting plan” means a document that states when the child will be with each parent and how decisions will be made.  The parenting plan may be developed by the parent on their own or with the help of a professional such as a mediator, an attorney, or a judge.

F.  “Presenter” means a person who conducts a parent education program on children’s issues; or in the case of an ADM program, where a presenter is not present, who serves as the program’s point of contact to answer participant questions by telephonic or electronic means.

G.  “Provider” means a court, political subdivision or private entity that contracts with or is approved by the court to provide parent education programs.

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II. LENGTH AND NATURE OF THE PROGRAM

A. The program shall be a minimum of two hours.

It is suggested/desirable that programs:

  • Be four to six hours in length to adequately cover the program material.
  • Be available at flexible times, i.e. evenings and weekends.
  • Be offered as early as possible in the domestic relations litigation process.

B. While additional topics may be covered, all programs shall include information on the following topics as they relate to the impact divorce or separation, the restructuring of families, and judicial proceedings have on adults and children:

  1. Common reactions by children and parents to divorce and separation.
  2. Options available as alternatives to divorce.
  3. Resources available to improve or strengthen marriage.
  4. The legal process for divorce and options available for mediation.
  5. Resources available after divorce.
  6. Helpful and harmful parent behaviors.
  7. Communication and co-parenting skills.
  8. Harmful effects on children of parental conflict, including domestic violence.
  9. Children's reactions to divorce and separation at different developmental stages and warning signs of serious problems.
  10. Emotional and financial responsibilities of parents.
  11. Factors which contribute to healthy adjustment for children including the value of parenting plans.
  12. Basic Arizona family court or domestic relations court procedures.
  13. Issues surrounding continued access to maternal and paternal relatives.
  14. Notification requirements of Arizona Revised Statute 25-403.05(B)

C. Educational classes may be presented by means of Alternative Delivery Methods, i.e. video, web site, correspondence course, in whole or in part. The Arizona Supreme Court Administrative Office of the Courts shall maintain a list of alternative delivery method materials and web sites being used in educational classes in each county.  The Superior Court in each county shall notify the Administrative Office of the Courts of any alternative delivery method materials or web sites being used in parent education clases.

D. Online programs shall be hosted by the provider with all necessary data and validation safeguards.

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III. QUALIFICATIONS OF PROGRAM PRESENTER

Each program shall be conducted by at least one presenter having a graduate degree from an accredited college or university in child development, family life education, marriage and family therapy, psychology, social work, counseling or a closely related field. Additional presenters, if used, shall have a minimum of a bachelors degree and have majored in one of the previously stated fields or one closely related. Each presenter shall have experience working in the areas of domestic relations, family restructuring, child welfare, family dynamics, and training in domestic violence issues.

It is suggested that:

  • Programs take into account the language and cultural needs of the students.
  • When two or more presenters are used, at least one be male and one be female, when practical.
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IV. GENERAL PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

A.   Each provider shall make reasonable efforts to provide a comfortable and safe environment for participants while attending the program.

B.  Non-court providers shall demonstrate proof of continuing professional and public liability insurance, and shall name the court as an additional insured.

C.  Providers, program facilities and alternative delivery method environments and materials shall comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act to enable persons with disabilities to participate in the program.

D.  A certificate of completion shall be provided to the participant by the provider. The court may prescribe requirements necessary to facilitate proof of attendance to the court. The certificate of completion shall be in a form acceptable to the court and, at a minimum, shall include: the court case number, the date(s) of attendance, the participant's name, and the name (including address and phone number) of the provider.

E.  For a period of five years from the date of program completion, the provider shall maintain records that can be accessed by participant's name, case number, and date of class completion.

F.  Participants from the same court case shall attend different classes, excepting alternative delivery method classes, unless both participants request to attend the same class. In this instance, the court, or someone on behalf of the court, shall verify that both requests to attend the same class were made voluntarily.

G.  Providers and presenters shall be prohibited from soliciting participants as clients for other services.

H.  If contracted, education services shall be competitively bid following applicable state and local procurement laws and requirements. Competitive bidding is not required if the court is the provider.

I.  Fees and surcharges collected from persons ordered to attend education classes shall be receipted, deposited, accounted for, and disbursed pursuant to statutory requirements and the Minimum Accounting Standards for Arizona Courts.

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V. Program Evaluation

A.  Commencing September 30, 1997, the Superior Court in each county shall conduct an annual evaluation of the educational program and the presiding judge or designee shall forward the report to the Administrative Office of the Courts.

B. The Administrative Office of the Courts shall provide minimum program evaluation criteria to the Superior Court.

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VI. EXCEPTIONS TO STANDARDS

Upon request by a Superior Court presiding judge, the Administrative Director of the Arizona Supreme Court may, for good cause, grant an exception to any of these standards not required by statute.