Family Foundations was developed by Mark Feinberg, Ph.D. who was trained as a clinical psychologist and family therapist, and is currently a prevention scientist at Penn State University. Many colleagues, professionals and families also contributed to the development and testing of Family Foundations. Childbirth educators Charley Newell and Sherry Turchetta assisted with the early development of the program, many families provided feedback and suggestions, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has provided funding for research that has documented the program’s benefits.
Dr. Feinberg’s core idea was to focus a new birth preparation class series on the key foundation of the family–the cooperative and supportive relationship between parents. This idea came from his own experience as a father, as well as from the stories he heard from other dads in father discussion groups he held in local schools. He was originally interested in supporting father’s being more involved in parenting. But practical experience and the research literature led him to realize that the lack of a cooperative team approach to parenting was the key obstacle preventing many dads from being more involved. When he began helping couples build a foundation of positive parenting teamwork, he found that everyone in the family–fathers, mothers, and children–benefited in deep and lasting ways.