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Looking at the success of USU Extension's stepfamily course

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  Kailey Foster: Over the last three months, I've been talking with specialists with Healthy Relationships Utah about problem solving tips for step families. Today I'm joined by Sierra Hill step Family Education Coordinator with the program to talk about how it's been successful.

As I understand this is a newer program that's being offered, but it's not the first-time you guys have offered it. What kind of success have you seen come from it.

Sierra Hill: There's been some very interesting research that has been done on this course. It has found some amazing long-term benefits for individuals and couples who have participated in this course.

95% of participants actually reported a more satisfying role as parent or as a step parent. So, that includes things like having increased empathy for the children, spending more time with their children, parenting as a team, and improving that communication with their children.

95% of participants, participants also reported an improved couple relationship, which is so essential and key to a successful step family.

KF: What kind of aspects of this program helped implement this success?

SH: You know, I think what makes this program so necessary and successful is the fact that it is specifically for step families. Some people might wonder ‘why don't I just take a parenting class or a couple relationship class’.

But, for step families, it's just a little bit more complex than the first family. And it just operates a little bit differently. So, I think a lot of the beauty of this course is that it is specifically for step families and tailored to them.

KF: What is this program based off of?

SH: So, this program is 100% research based and so everything that you will be hearing in class, comes from research that has been done by professionals. And so, you won't be hearing, you know, our opinions or things like that, but you can know that the information that we share is, in fact true, and based in research. Which is kind of hard to find sometimes if we're just looking online for answers to our questions.

Kailey Foster is a senior at Utah State University studying Agricultural Communications, Broadcast Journalism, and Political Science while also getting a minor in Agribusiness. She was raised in the dairy industry in Rhode Island where she found her passion for the agriculture industry as a whole. Here at USU, she has held various leadership positions in the Dairy Science Club and the local Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow chapter. She also also served as the 2020 Utah Miss Agriculture and is currently the 2021 Utah Ms. Agriculture. Here at UPR, she works on agriculture news stories and she produces agriculture segments such as USU Extension Highlights, the Green Thumb, and Ag Matters.