November 17, 2021

Strive, a parent education and support program that engages parents in the visitation process and prepares them for more quality time with their children, received an Innovation Gap Fund award of $50,000. Developed by the School’s Partners for Our Children, Strive uses a strengths-based trauma-informed approach to help parents create a positive environment for nurturing their relationship with their children within a supervised setting. Since 2014, Partners for Our Children has worked closely with the Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families and more than 100 stakeholders to develop and test Strive. 

The CoMotion award will be used to create Strive Online, which is designed to increase access through a new series of e-learning courses available via smartphones and other devices. The current five-week program curriculum is delivered one on one by a trained supervisor during in-person visits—a format that adds training costs for cash-strapped visitation providers and child welfare agencies. 

“Strive Online will allow for greater flexibility in terms of pacing, location and timing for visitation providers and parents. It also provides a dashboard for agencies to monitor use and measure outcomes, all at a lower cost for the child welfare system,” said Susan Barkan, research director at Partners for Our Children and the initiative’s principal investigator. 

“We are excited that CoMotion is supporting this initiative and helping us increase access to the Strive program,” said Emiko A. Tajima, executive director, Partners for Our Children. “Taking this program to scale will help meet a significant need across Washington state and other jurisdictions.”

The Innovation Gap Fund is a partnership between CoMotion and the Washington Research Foundation. The fund has committed more than $1.1 million annually to support UW teams as they advance their research and prepare to seek private capital investments. The awards, typically up to $50,000, focus on four areas: social impact, life sciences, engineering and software/IT. In the highly competitive process, each team pitches its ideas to a panel of entrepreneurs, investors and business experts.