World Wide Web Reviews
Single Parent Support Groups and Information on the Web
by Barbara Walton
The United States is home to approximately fifteen and a half million single parents, according to the Single Parents Association, and they are on the lookout both for information to improve their lives and for someone who understands their situation: dealing with children, bills, child support, custody hassles, and friends' reactions to their new single status. A multitude of sites on the Internet provide general information from organizations and "been-there, done-that" support from other single parents.
Parents Without Partners
Maintained by: Parents Without Partners
Reviewed: July 14, 1998
This group is generally acknowledged to be the granddaddy of support groups, mainly catering to divorced men and women when it first began in the late 1950s. Theirs is an attractive, simple site, set up for both browsers that read tables and those that don't, and providing PWP members with a restricted chat group. However, there is a resource center open to all, as well as a directory of local chapters and a search device to help anyone find a chapter nearby. A listing of local and international PWP events helps make it easy for people to find out how they can get involved.
Solo Parenting Alliance
Maintained by: Solo Parenting Alliance
Established and last updated: 1997.
Date reviewed: July 17, 1998
The Seattle-based Solo Parenting Alliance was established by and for single parents in 1990, and has moved ahead to develop programs that address housing, counseling, employment, and parenting skills, thereby fulfilling its mission to "support and empower solo parent families." They offer access to programs that teach people to be better parents, and sponsor homesharing programs to create better financial situations and mutual support. The site has a strong list of links providing information and encouragement.
Sole Mothers International
Maintained by: Sole Mothers International
Last update: October 7, 1998
Site reviewed: October 21, 1998
Sole Mothers International is a site that means business, putting a host of resources at the tips of the single parent's fingers. Experts await individual questions, "Operation: Net Support" places single parents in touch with child support enforcement agencies, and legal information from across the country is available with a single click. This site is text-oriented, and lacks the bells and whistles of some of the other sites, but it's packed with provocative facts, news, and services for both women and men.
Maintained by: Jackie and David
Last update: 1998
Site reviewed: July 18, 1998
Parentsplace.com, a prodigious source of general parenting information, also hosts a number of varied sites where single parents can get information as well as chat with other single parents and join bulletin-board discussions of issues relevant to their daily lives, including:
***National Organization of Single Mothers:
***The Single Parent Resource:
(includes the archives of the monthly magazine)
***Single Mothers by Choice: http:// www.parentsplace.com/genobject.cgi/readroom/smc/
SITES BY INDIVIDUALS:
Single Parent Circle of Support
Maintained by: Circle of Support participants
Last updated: July 1998
Reviewed: July 16, 1998
This site is very pleasant to visit, though slow to load, because of its enjoyable graphics and music. The selection of links for single moms and single dads is excellent, and a separate category for legal information links is very well done. For those brave enough to give love another shot, there is even a bonus of matchmaking sites! The personal touch on this site includes pictures and home page links to other single parents - encouraging strength in numbers.
Single Parents World
Maintained by: Jill Lassaline
Last update: Updated weekly
Reviewed: July 17, 1998
Jill is a single parent who's obviously done her homework. "Don't give up faith. We do survive and it all becomes worthwhile," she says. This is one of the best sites I found for a listing of links where everyone can find information relevant to his/her situation. Jill's page has links to the Single Fathers Lighthouse, Sole Mothers Resource, the Single Dad's Index, PWP, Single Mothers by Choice, and much more, in addition to her own personal observations.
Single Parent Resource Center
Maintained by: Beverly Hamilton
Last updated: ongoing
Reviewed: July 18, 1998 [update 10/7/98]
Beverly is a single parent from Texas who compiled this list of nineteen links when she was searching for information and support during her own unexpected divorce. The amount of excellent information here is stunning, complete with legal resources on every topic from collecting child support through divorce, custody, and how to choose a lawyer. There are lists of sites offering support to single moms, and others for single dads, organizations and publications to help single parents, and religious sources of all persuasions for those seeking outside guidance when times get tough.
One of the best parts of this site is the ability to hook up with other single parents by way of a Ring of Single Parent Websites; once entered, the browser can move on to other single parents' sites and share joys and concerns.
Maintained by: Clint Johnson, aka SeaJay
Last Updated: June 1998
Reviewed: July 22, 1998
Just for fun, there's the SinPar Cafe, "an imaginary place in cyberspace for the single parent to have dinner, coffee, conversation or just relax and listen in." It's the Web version of the old "Calgon, take me away!" The SinPar Cafe has been around since the early days of the Internet. First existing as a topic on the Prodigy service, then spreading into a discussion list, this website and a related newsgroup (alt.support.singleparents), according to Webmaster Clint Johnson, are the oldest single-parent group on the 'Net. The graphics are other-worldly, and there are opportunities to stay in contact by email and in a chat area (which is a little awkward, since it's not java-capable, but it's cute).
[Barbara Walton is an attorney practicing primarily in the field of family law since 1986. She has led several divorce recovery workshops and published a column on issues of relevance to single parents in 1996-1997, in Single Parenting in the Nineties.]
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