Evaluation of programs is central to Overcoming Barriers’ mission.  Starting with the first pilot Family Camp program in 2008 we collected data through pre and post surveys of families and in 2013 we began a collaboration with Dr. Michael Saini to evaluate programs more thoroughly moving forward.

Collaboration with Dr. Saini, University of Toronto

Dr. Michael Saini, Associate Professor of the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work at the University of Toronto (visit website) is collaborating with OCB to develop, implement and analyze the evaluation of Overcoming Barriers’ programs.

Family Court Review Article from 2019

This article was derived from the evaluation of the OCB Family Camp.  Read more here.

Strengthening Coparenting Relationships to Improve Strained Parent–Child Relationships: A Follow‐Up Study of Parents’ Experiences of Attending the Overcoming Barriers Program

First published: 23 April 2019


Several interventions have been developed to address children’s resistance and/or refusal to have contact with a parent following separation and divorce. There remains little agreement about how best to evaluate the success of these approaches. To explore the experiences of parents in the Overcoming Barriers Program (OCB), an online survey was distributed to all previous participants. Of the 40 parents who completed the survey at least six months after attending OCB, findings suggest mixed results. Benefits of OCB were more pronounced when changes were made to the coparenting relationships. Improvements in the coparenting relationship were specifically related to children’s spending more time with both parents and better parent–child outcomes postintervention. Findings suggest that both the quality of parent–child relationships and the time that the children spend with both parents are associated with reported improvements in the cooperative coparenting relationship as a result of attending OCB. Implications are discussed in terms of lessons learned for developing, delivering, and evaluating similar programs for strained parent–child relationships.

Presentation at AFCC National Conferences

2017: Drs. Robin Deutsch, Matt Sullivan and Peggie Ward presented the workshop  “Ten Years Later: Research and Practice Informed Work with High Conflict Families” at the 2017 AFCC National Conference in Boston.

2015: Dr. Saini, Sevil Deljavan, Ph.D. (student), and Dr. Deutsch, presented “An Exploration of Children’s Experiences in the Overcoming Barriers Family Camp” at the 2015  AFCC National Conference in New Orleans.  View or download a PDF of the 2015 OBFC Poster here.

2014: Dr. Saini and Shely Polak Ph.D. (candidate) and Dr. Deutsch presented “An Evaluation Study of the Overcoming Barriers Family Camp at the 2014 AFCC National Conference in Toronto.  View or download a PDF of the 2014 OBFC Poster here.

Overview of Evaluation

The development and implementation of the evaluation meets the urgent need to ensure that services offered to families involved in family courts are based on evidence-informed principles and guided by quality assurance for providing both efficient and effective services to help families resolve their disputes.

Look at this resource for understand Research in Social Science:

AFCC Guidelines for the Use of Social Science Research in Family Law

Reasons why this evaluation project is especially valuable in the field:

  1. The project is managed by an experienced and highly respected third party
  2. The evaluation looks at participants pre- and post-intervention attitudes and beliefs
  3. The project includes the voice of the child

Family Camp Pilot Program 2008-2010

Overcoming Barriers conducted exit interviews with participants and collected evaluations at the 2008-2010 Family Camp programs.  A detailed description of the components of Family Camp and the results of the first three years of surveys were written up by Drs. Deutsch, Sullivan and Ward and published in the OBFC.FAMILY COURT REVIEW ARTICLE.