Family Strengthening Month

Smiling dad with daughter on his shoulders.

April is Family Strengthening Month in Wisconsin! The Division of Extension supports families with every day solutions for raising children, and provides research-based support for big life changes. We are committed to helping families raise children in safe, stable, and nurturing homes.

About Our Program at the UW-Madison Extension

The Family Engagement and Relationships program serves parents and caregivers throughout Wisconsin. Across a variety of accessible educational classes, community-based research opportunities, and online resources, we provided 10,000+ educational contacts with parents and caregivers in 2023. This year our program boosted its availability of educational classes across the state, serving new families and improving our efforts through thoughtful evaluation and research.

Click here to access our 2023 impact report to learn how we supported thriving childhoods via everyday parenting.

  • 20 Extension educators in Wisconsin counties
  • 600+ Educational classes and events
  • 14 Participants per class on average

The Family Engagement and Relationships program is situated in the Human Development and Relationships Institute of the Division of Extension at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. We are Wisconsin’s source for research-based information about parenting and relationships for families and the professionals who serve them.

The Family Engagement and Relationships program serves Wisconsin children and caregivers during all life circumstances.

  • We deliver innovative education for families about parenting and family relationships
    that is grounded in the best research available
  • We provide continuing education and professional development for family-serving and
    cross-sector professionals
  • We engage in community-based research connected to campus
  • We collaborate locally and across our state and nation to support systems-level
    improvements for children, families and the professionals who serve them

The Division of Extension exists to connect the people of Wisconsin to the research and resources of the university. Locally rooted and globally connected, our work succeeds by maintaining deep local partnerships while leveraging the best of what science can offer families.

Highlights from 2023

The Family Engagement and Relationships program offers a variety of educational classes and resources for parents and caregivers across Wisconsin. From becoming a parent to finding effective solutions to children’s challenging behavior, everyone can benefit from learning the best of what science can offer parents. In fact, decades of research show that high-quality parenting is linked with children’s healthy development, social and emotional skills, and health and wellness across the lifespan. Visit our class calendar.

All parents can benefit from educational support. Triple P is one of the most effective parent programs in the world. Backed by more than 35 years of research, Triple P gives parents practical tools to build strong parent-child relationships, manage and improve their children’s behavior, and stop problems from occurring. In 2023, we provided 50+ classes resulting in 800+ educational contacts with parents and caregivers from 40+ Wisconsin counties.

We offer several educational options for families experiencing separation, divorce, or changes in custody arrangements. For example, the Parents Forever class, created by the University of Minnesota Extension, helps parents understand the effect of separation on children and the parent-child relationship. The class offers techniques for self-care and effective communication between co-parents. In 2023, we provided 50+ classes resulting in 400+ educational contacts with parents and caregivers.

New in 2023, we offered Resilient Co-Parenting, a monthly booster series, on topics salient for families going through big changes. Over 11 monthly sessions, we provided 200+ educational contacts with parents and caregivers.

In 2023 we sponsored the second annual Raising Wisconsin Children’s Conference, a free online event for parents and caregivers to access practical solutions about contemporary topics facing families. To reach new audiences, we partnered with state and local agencies, including the Mayo Clinic, the Wisconsin Alliance for Infant Mental Health, and the UW–Madison School of Human Ecology. Beginning on January 23 we provided nine conference sessions across five days. Attendance ranged from 23 to 198 per session, resulting in 760 educational contacts with parents and caregivers. Following the conference, we offered weekly or monthly standalone classes that included a broad spectrum of everyday parenting topics such as brain development, social and emotional learning, emotion coaching, and more. We provided 24 classes across 11 months resulting in 417 educational contacts with parents and caregivers from over 30 Wisconsin counties.

Join us!

Browse practical, research-based information about child development, parenting, and family relationships. Free and available to all Wisconsinites! Resources include introducing children to reading, understanding your child’s personality, helping children with big feelings, and more.

We offer classes about parenting and family relationships. Many of our classes are approved by the Wisconsin Registry for early childhood educator continuing education hours. Find in-person and virtual classes to meet your needs.

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