CfC FP ObjectiveHealthy young families
Early learning and care
Supporting families and parents 
Delivered toExpecting parents and caregivers in the first year of life (prenatally to 12 months)
Delivered byAllied health professionals such as social workers, psychologists, counsellors etc. 
Delivery settingHome-based, community location or online
Program developerProfessor Mark Feinberg, Pennsylvania State University, USA

About the program

This program applies discussion-based activities, modelling, and skills practices to support parents and caregivers with babies aged 0 to 12 months to work as a cohesive, coparenting team.  

The program is divided into distinct phases with sessions held prior to birth and recommencing again 2 months after the birth of the baby. The program is also available to a wide range of caregivers including foster parents, extended family, or single parents co-parenting with another person.  

Program structure

Family Foundations is a manualised program which is delivered over 10 one-hour sessions. The first 5 sessions are delivered prior to birth with the remaining 5 sessions recommence 2 months after birth.  

Family Foundations follows a structured curriculum that promotes parent and child mental health, positive nurturing family relationships, and physical health by enhancing's parent emotion regulation, stress management, conflict resolution and problem solving.  

Facilitator training

Training is delivered upon request. The training schedule is tailored to the needs of the organisation and the level of experience of staff to be trained. For example, for professionals with experience in delivering family-based, couple, or co-parenting interventions, 3 days may be sufficient. While those with limited experience in working with couples/coparents may need 4 to 5 days of training. 


The cost of training is determined by several factors including

  • the level of training required
  • participant numbers
  • availability of a venue
  • the need for travel and accommodation

The average cost of 3-day training program for 8-10 participants with materials included is $5000. 

Evaluation and effectiveness

Feinberg and Kan (2008) undertook a randomised control trial (RCT) to understand the impact of the program. As part of the study, 169 families who were expecting their first child were randomised to either the control or ‘Families Foundation’ intervention group. Results showed a significant program effect in the areas of co-parenting support and maternal depression and anxiety for families who received the intervention compared to those who were in the control group.  Parents who had lower levels of education and fathers with higher levels of insecure attachment within their close relationships benefited the most.

Following this, Feinberg, and colleagues (2016) undertook a larger efficacy RCT with 399 families in the USA who were expecting their first child. The findings indicated that families in the intervention improved more on measure of coparenting, parent mental health, parenting and child adjustment compared to those in the control group. A significant reduction in family violence was observed for families who received the intervention. In families where parents who were at risk of couple conflict and depressive symptoms, the program helped to protect infants against negative parenting.  

In both trials, the positive outcomes of participation in FF were maintained at long-term follow-ups when children were aged 7 and 10 years of age. Furthermore, in both trials, participation in Family Foundations was also associated with better birth outcomes including reduced likelihood of preterm birth, reduced hospital stay duration, and increased likelihood of more optimal birthweight.  


Feinberg, M., & Kan, M. (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.

Feinberg, M. E., Jones, D. E., Hostetler, M. L., Roettger, M. E., Paul, I. M., & Ehrenthal, D. B. (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. 


Email: [email protected]
Website: Family Foundations Evaluation Study – Murdoch Children's Research Institute (
Principal consultant: Associate Professor Rebecca Giallo