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Online course approved by Minnesota Supreme Court

This message was sent by Sue Dosal, State Court Administrator, to all Minnesota district court judges, court administrators, JAD, and business system coordinators on June 13, 2012.

Parent Education Required in Contested Custody or Parenting Time Cases: Pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 518.157 enacted in 1998, parents involved in contested custody or parenting time cases, regardless of whether a marriage relationship exists, must complete a minimum of eight hours of parent education. In all other proceedings involving custody, support, or parenting time, the court has discretion to order the parents to attend a parent education program. The courses attended by parents must meet the Parent Education Minimum Standards.

Amendment of Supreme Court Parent Education Minimum Standards: As required under Minn. Stat. § 518.157, in 1998 the Minnesota Supreme Court promulgated minimum standards for implementation and administration of parent education programs in each judicial district. In an effort to make parent education classes more accessible to parents, the Supreme Court recently issued the attached order amending the Parent Education Minimum Standards to allow use of online parent education courses, in addition to in person courses, so long as the online course meets all of the Minimum Standards.

District’s Responsibility to Implement Parent Education Programs: Minn. Stat. § 518.157 requires the chief judge of each judicial district to implement within the district one or more parent education programs that meet the Supreme Court Parent Education Minimum Standards. Under the amended Minimum Standards, parent education programs may now be either in person or online at the discretion of the chief judge.

Parents Forever Online Parent Education Course: The University of Minnesota Extension’s Parents Forever Online Course for Parents is the only online course that currently complies with the amended Parent Education Minimum Standards. The online Parents Forever course is 8 hours in length, covers all content required in the Minimum Standards, includes video and interactive technology, is accessible 24-hours a day, and can be completed in chunks rather than in one sitting for use by parents with busy schedules. It requires parents to pass quizzes at the end of each segment and provides a printable certificate upon successful completion of the course. The course costs $89 per person, unless the parent is determined by the court to be IFP. A sliding fee scale is also offered for parents who do not have court-ordered IFP status, but who cannot afford to pay the full fee. Parents should contact the Parents Forever program to process course registrations with IFP or sliding fee payments. Otherwise, parents can find out more information or register for the course on the Parents Forever online course website.

Since this message was sent, at least one other online offering has received Minnesota Supreme Court approval. We still have the privilege of saying that our online course was created in partnership with the Minnesota Supreme Court and it was the first approved offering.

Reviewed in 2022

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