St. John Fisher College Joins Monroe County Court Effort to Support Divorcing Parents

February 3, 2020

The Wegmans School of Nursing at St. John Fisher College has assumed administration of a program designed to help parents support their children through divorce and custody proceedings.

Wegmans School of Nursing administrators with judges from Monroe County who led the development of the A.C.T. program.

Initiated in 1998 by Seventh Judicial District Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Frazee and clinical psychologist Dr. Joanne Pedro-Carroll, Assisting Children through Transition (A.C.T.) For the Children-Rochester provides parents with tools and strategies to help their children cope with the changing family dynamics brought on by separation or divorce.

With Justice Frazee’s recent retirement, a new collaborator was sought to ensure continuation of the program. On the recommendation of the Hon. Richard A. Dollinger, the School’s Mental Health Counseling program was approached about delivering the curriculum to parents.

 “We are excited about this new chapter for A.C.T.,” said Justice Frazee. “The program is a natural fit for the School of Nursing’s Mental Health Counseling program and we are confident that with their resources, they can continue and even enhance the curriculum.”

The four-hour course has two components: the Legal Process, facilitated by an attorney or judge, which addresses the various aspects of the litigation process as well as alternatives to litigation and parent and child well-being, presented by Fisher faculty from the Mental Health Counseling program. The latter component examines the ways in which parents and children can be impacted by separation or divorce and how to reduce trauma and conflict during and after the legal process.

“There are so many adverse childhood issues related to conflict around parental separation and divorce, so this is a great opportunity to effect prevention for kids,” said Dr. Rachel Jordan, director of the Mental Health Counseling program. “A.C.T. matches well with the expertise of our faculty, particularly those who teach human development and family and partner courses.”

The School will also conduct regular evaluations and provide year-end reports to ensure the program is successful in its mission. Jordan anticipates nearly 600 people will participate in the courses annually.

For more information, contact Jordan at