From our Spring 2021 Newsletter (find a full PDF here).

Every parent wants what’s best for their child. When a divorce occurs or parents are not together, it can be difficult for parents to get on the same page. Unfortunately, those situations can also be a traumatic for a child. The Family Tree Program at the Wyoming Children’s Law Center (WCLC) is working to reduce some of that trauma. They work with parents to help resolve conflict, reach compromise for custody, and focus on a child-centered approach to divorce. 

The Family Tree Program offers mediation services, to help parents resolve conflicts and promote compromise to resolve custody, care, and visitation issues between parents of minor children. The Family Tree Program also offers parenting development plans and parent education.  

Because of your support, a grant from WYCF to the Family Tree Program is helping families through custody agreements and the conflicts that may arise.  

“Wyoming courts do not offer free mediation and have no formal ‘non-adversarial’ paths for parents to resolve custody and visitation disputes,” says Donna Sheen, Director of the WCLC.  “Our Family Tree Program was designed to address this need. We offer parents a way to resolve disputes and develop co-parenting plans and skills for their children.” 

The Family Tree Program assists parents who may not live together, who may want to remain friends and co-parent, or who may be recently divorced. All the services are free and open to anyone who wants the help or is court ordered to receive it.  

“Parents need to be heard and their worries addressed,” says Donna. “Our staff talks parents through things that wouldn’t normally get done in court, and that’s a good thing.” 

Resolving Conflict for Kids 

Parents don’t have to be friends, live together, or be married, but they still need the tools to work with one another. Parents learn that conflict, if not dealt with in a productive manner, can have negative impacts on children. The WCLC helps parents work through conflict.  

Sonja Bartrop, Administrative & Program Coordinator at WCLC, explains the Family Tree Program is a space of comfort.  “We help families communicate with children without having to use the police department and use a constant space they are comfortable with instead of going to court,” says Sonja. 

The program helps avoid going to court when it’s not necessary, but the courts are there if they need it and they want that exchange. 

Because of thoughtful donors like you, families around the state of Wyoming get the parenting help they need. A multi-fund grant to the Family Tree Program makes this possible.  

Stats & Facts 

  • Grant Amount: $7,000 (Multifund- BP Communities Sweetwater, LEK Endowment Fund, Tony Cate Fund) 
  • Founded in 2009 
  • All services are free for families 
  • 51% of families live in rural areas that to not have access to local visitation services 
  • In-Person Exchanges and visits happen only in Albany County but services are offered statewide through Phone or video conferencing