Family resources: Parents, Q&A
Q: Who attends Kids’ Turn Workshops?
A: Any family in the San Francisco Bay Area which has experienced parental separation or divorce can attend. Some of these families are in the process of divorcing or separating, while others have been separated for several years. Our workshops are attended by school-aged children between the ages of 5 and 17 and one or both parents. Children are not charged to attend Kids’ Turn programs, and parents pay on a sliding fee basis. No one is turned away because of inability to pay. Because Kids’ Turn is the sole responder in our community to this societal difficulty our organizational capacity is continually challenged. Many Kids’ Turn workshops have wait lists for participation and early registration is encouraged.
Q: How are the workshops structured and where are they offered?
A: The workshops are presented in six, 90-minute sessions. Children are divided by ages into small groups, and parents attend separate, concurrent groups (there are always at least two parent groups so that ex_spouses will be in separate classrooms). Workshops are offered in public schools and community centers in San Francisco, San Mateo, Alameda, Marin and Contra Costa Counties.
Q: How is Kids’ Turn funded?
A: Now in its twenty-second year, 80% goes toward the program itself. Kids’ Turn is fortunate to have a strong core of individual supporters that have provided the majority of funds needed to operate our workshops. The Family Law community, which includes lawyers, judges and forensic accountants, and the mental health community, have provided the bulk of the support, both financial and administrative, to sustain the organization. Our main event, including a dinner and auction, raises 18% of our budget. Parent tuition, which is assessed on a sliding scale based on income, pays for about 15% of our budget.
Q: What does the money go toward?
A: One quarter of the revenue goes toward overhead (fund development, public relations, etc.); 74% goes toward the program itself. Our annual event is chaired, planned and staffed mainly by volunteers. Our board of directors is very active, and our staff includes five employees, three part-time and two full-time.
Q: What is the demand for Kids’ Turn Workshops?
A: One million children a year experience parental divorce. Kids’ Turn is one of the first programs designed as an educational forum for children and their parents. Each year, due to rising demand, we increase the number of workshops we present. In addition, our office continually receives inquiries about the program and how it can be replicated in other communities around the country. The curriculum and training manual are available to communities both within and outside California. Currently, Redding, San Diego, Napa and Yolo County have purchased the curriculum and are presenting Kids’ Turn workshops in their own areas. Other spin-off programs in California are available. Kids’ Turn is also being presented in Hillsborough, OR, and also in Chicago, IL.
Q: Is the program confidential?
A: Yes. Whatever is discussed by participants in the workshops remains confidential between the workshop participants and Kids’ Turn staff. You are required to sign an agreement/consent form explaining that Kids’ Turn staff may not be subpoenaed to testify in divorce or custody proceedings. The only exceptions to this are governed by the laws concerning mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse or neglect or intent to harm self or others.
Q: What if the children are with their other parent every other week and that parent is not attending the workshops, can my children miss those sessions?
A: No. Parents are asked to make temporary custody arrangements that will enable children to be present at Kids’ Turn each week, even if only one parent is signed up to attend.
Q: Will I receive feedback or information about how my child is doing in his or her workshop?
A: Since one main purpose of the program is to provide a safe place for children and parents to discuss their experience about changes in their families, workshop leaders do not share specific information about individuals in the children’s and parents’ workshops. Of course, if there is any indication that a child is in danger for any reason, this will be discussed with that child’s parent(s), unless such a discussion is believed to further jeopardize the child’s safety. We encourage children and parents to communicate directly with one another about their activities during the workshop.
Q: Is childcare available while I am attending the parent’s workshop?
A: Kids’ Turn staff understands that it is difficult for some parents to find appropriate childcare so they can attend Kids’ Turn. However, due to our location in a school, church or community center, insurance restrictions and other limitation, we cannot provide childcare. Children who are not old enough to participate in Kids’ Turn may not be brought to the sessions. Please do what you can to make alternative childcare arrangements on you own.
Q: What do I do if I have a problem about something that happens in Kids’ Turn?
A: Any problems should be discussed first with the workshop coordinator. If you are still not satisfied, please call (415) 777-9977.
Q: I think my child is having problems adjusting to the divorce. Will Kids’ Turn help him or her?
A: Kids’ Turn is an educational program which teaches skills that will help children and parents cope with changes in themselves and their families. Many people who have completed the program report that it helped them learn that they were not alone in dealing with their problems, and some new ways of understanding and handling their situation. However, Kids’ Turn is not psychotherapy and does not take the place of therapy. It does not address the individual problems, feelings and thoughts of workshop participants, nor is it likely to be successful in solving problems of a long-standing and serious nature. The program may, however, serve as an important step in developing solutions to problems resulting from separation, divorce or custody conflicts.
Q: What if I need more help than Kids’ Turn can provide?
A: Kids’ Turn provides participants with information about community organizations that can offer additional help if needed.
Q: Do both parents have to attend the workshop?
A: Kids’ Turn requires that at least one parent participate in the program. Our experience is that children benefit most when both parents participate. The position of the program is to strongly encourage participation of both parents.
Q: Do I have to attend every session?
A: Kids’ Turn encourages workshop participants not to miss any of the six sessions. Consistent attendance will allow parents and children to learn the most from the program. Parents and children must attend the first session. Families will be asked to re-register at for another workshop if they miss more than one of the remaining five sessions. Parents are asked to make temporary custody arrangements that will enable children to be present at Kids’ Turn each week, even if only one parent is signed up to attend.
Q: Can step-parents or significant others attend Kids’ Turn parent workshops?
A: While Kids’ Turn recognizes that step-parents and significant others are important and central members of families, the program is not set up to accommodate their participation at this time. If you need help in dealing with issues related to step-families, we can provide alternative community services that are set up to deal more specifically with step-families. Kids’ Turn also offers periodic seminars on step-parenting.
Please call our office at (415) 777-9977 for more information.