FIT: Families in Transition
About the program ...
Begun in September 1992, Families in Transition (FIT) is a court-mandated divorce education program for all families with children ages 5 through 18 who petition for divorce with Jefferson County Family Court. From 1992 through 2001, more than 7000 families have been ordered into the program with more than 11,000 parents and more than 6,000 children attending.
FIT requires both parents and children to attend a 6-hour program designed to aid them in coping more effectively with children's issues regarding divorce. A fee of $1.00 to $50.00 is charged on a sliding scale. One parent and child(ren) attend concurrently but separate sessions, while the other parent attends the program at a separate time. The 6-hour program is divided into either two 3-hour or three 2-hour sessions. Each session is conducted by a trained facilitator in a community setting such as a Family Life Center of a church or a family agency. FIT participants may attend the program at the site of their choice.
Two major goals of FIT are to prevent or reduce a child's anxiety, aggression, depression and behavioral problems and to increase social competencies critical to children's post-divorce adjustment.
Initially, the program was funded by a grant from the Norton Foundation, Inc. and is now funded by the Administrative Office of the Courts. Session fees are paid by the participant. The FIT program was designed by Dr. Joe Brown, Family Therapy Program, Kent School of Social Work, University of Louisville, and Jefferson County Family Court Support Worker, Mary Lou Cameron, in conjunction with several Family Court judges. The program is administered jointly by Family Court and the University of Louisville. Gayla Fancher and Wanda Lewis are the Program Coordinators for Family Court.
The Families in Transition program curriculum was originally designed by Dr. Joe Brown and Dr. Carolyn Brown with input from the Louisville Bar Association (L.A.), Family Law Section. The curriculum is periodically revised and updated with input from facilitators, staff and the FIT Advisory Committee, which includes representatives of the L.A. Family Law Section. Program staff designed curriculum workbooks, which were implemented beginning October 1997.
The Families in Transition program has received national and international attention. It has been utilized as the model for developing a statewide program in Delaware, at 40 sites of the United States Army's Family Ministries and 60 other communities in the United States, Ireland and South Africa. In addition, the program is currently implemented in eight Family Courts throughout the state.
Articles regarding the FIT program have been published in the Louisville Courier Journal, the Wall Street Journal, Juvenile and Family Court Journal and the Family and Conciliation Courts Review. In a special issue regarding parent education in divorce and separation, the Family Conciliation Court Review recognized the Families in Transition programs as one of the three top programs in the country that offered a child's component.