Ohio University Involved In Study Of Separated Parenting

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Ohio University will take part in federally funded project aimed at helping separated parents raise their children.

The four-year project, paid for with a $400,000 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grant, will be led by Fairfield County.

Parenting Time Opportunities for Children to the 12th power (PTOC12) will help keep parents involved in their child's life when they don't live together.

Ohio University's College of Health Sciences and Professions will provide research to help measure whether the project achieves its goals.

Dean of the College of Health Sciences and Professions and Professor of Child and Family Studies Randy Leite is spearheading Ohio University's involvement in the project.

Leite said OU's involvement will be to evaluate the project in the 12 counties involved by comparing outcomes of a child's well-being.

He said the project is about keeping the best interest for the child.

"So the whole focus is on what we can do to strengthen parents time with a child through parenting time orders that the court issues,"  he said.

Court ordered parenting time orders outline the amount and quality of time spent between parent and child.

According to Leite the project is important to OU because it will teach understanding of child benefits.

"It will give us the chance to really do something that's statewide, that involves thousands of cases," explained Leite. "And it will be the first attempt to really understand how something like this can really benefit children."

Leite said OU will be doing a list of things to determine if PTOC12 is achieving the project goals.

"We'll be doing focus groups, surveys, we'll be collecting well-being data on the children," said Leite. "Where we want to get is to the point we can show that these orders, do they make a difference in terms of a child being happier, being healthier, being more well adjusted, doing better in school, all those things that we want to see in children, can we show that courts intervening in this way really can contribute to those things."

Other counties participating are Coshocton, Cuyahoga, Franklin, Knox, Licking, Monroe, Pickaway, Stark, Summit, Union and Wayne.