Past Pain - Future Gain: The Birth of Stepfamily Systems Co-Parenting Center

Monday, May 20, 2013

“Forgiveness is the fresh start many lose in the baggage of their past,” according to Tricia Powe, co-parenting mediator and stepfamily assimilation strategist at Stepfamily Systems Co-Parenting Center in Riverside, CA.  She has also unpacked her share of post-divorce and remarriage baggage as a lifetime stepfamily member; hence, she understands the power of forgiveness and defines it this way, ”Forgiveness is not saying that the perceived wrong is excused or okay, but it does say we have chosen to no longer allow it to encumber the present or our futures.” Who among us doesn’t like the sound of breaking the chains that are weighting us down?


Born into a stepfamily that failed, Tricia was adopted by extended family members leading a successfully blended stepfamily when she was five years old. Other family members did not agree with the adoption and threw confusion into her understanding by saying, “Some day, honey, your real mommy is coming back for you.” Such statements by her biological mother’s advocates were hard for a 10-year-old to process and disrupted bonding with the second family.


In high school and her early college years, parts of her mind were anchored in the past and she was a distracted student. Meanwhile, Rich Powe, Tricia’s future husband had grown up in a traditional family with a homemaker mom and a dad who supported his family well. Rich had gone to private schools and graduated from college, but had not been as fortunate in married life. After six years and three children, his wife filed for divorce.


Stepfamily Systems Co-directors, Tricia and Rich Powe, were introduced by a mutual friend and they married in 1985; their exchange of “I do” triggered a change in shared-parenting dynamics as a couple, as well as between the co-parenting adults of the children’s three influential households. Co-parenting support was scant in the 1980s and research began.

Their personal experience lends itself to trust at work; clients like knowing they have walked the walk. The pursuit of information expanded their knowledge and built the foundation for the cognitive co-parenting model created by Tricia; it is the core of the programs they offer.


Research continues through the current seven-year, self-reporting survey project that is now in its fourth year based on the question, “Litigation produces a court order and mediation results in an agreement, then what?” Applying the established facts, a simple method was created for parents and stepparents to get on the same page – something that is frequently not the case for unhappy couples.

Every support option offered on-line or at the care center is rooted in advance planning accomplished through the innovative Co-Parenting Care Plan™. Just as mapping vacations before you leave helps one minimize wrong turns, a Co-Parenting Care Plan™ supports the journey of shared-parenting after the break-up through stepfamily formation. Most parents will spend hundreds of dollars celebrating birthdays they plan, but leave out charting course for the fulfillment of their biggest wish – raising healthy, well-adjusted children with the least amount of stress possible. Whether a couple is beginning to lead a family without a shared history, or they have been trying to blend for a while, but need a fresh start, the plans provide a system for conflict reduction and personalized home care 24/7.  

Any co-parenting adult can access no-cost support by reading answers to questions submitted to the on-line, no-cost Q & A column, It’s A Journey, breaking out of archives this June. Questions may be emailed to [email protected].


Specialty, advance planning is available in three ways. First, private enrollment allows a mom, dad, stepparent, or grandparent to accomplish planning at his or her own pace, but not exceeding the standard 16-week enrollment period. The next option is group-rate planning online. The course is uploaded weekly over the enrollment period. The third selection is a one-day, jam-packed course on-site with optional discounts to extend care over 16-weeks.


In all of these Co-Parenting Care Plan™ options, Telecare and an exit review come before the certificate. Among the most innovative of support options, for which a film grant offer has been received, is the print support series written by five writers with different author styles and a unique story focus. A RiChTer BLeNd, Co-Parenting & Stepfamily Chronicles provides insights, tips and expanded reviews from professionals in mediation, mental health and family law for subscribers. Click here [] for story previews at the bottom of the page.

Stepfamily Systems Co-Parenting Center completed a nonprofit leadership and mentoring program that made them eligible to apply for a grant from CAP Riverside. Today, they have their 501c3 nonprofit paperwork in process and have won the Lingafelter grant. These funds help grassroots organizations pay non-reoccurring, start-up, administrative expenses. Qualifications for funding included: 1) maximum feasible participation of the poor; 2) strong agency capacity that leverages community resources and secures private and public sector grants; and 3) innovative programs. As a result, they have expanded their research project through a site-based, school program launching this fall.

Call the office for more information about any of these innovative programs and support with an entertaining twist! 951.684.2187


Overcoming recall issues related to organic brain stress caused from multiple head traumas, Tricia possesses 90 hours mediation training – 40 of those earned through Mosten Mediation, Los Angeles, an ABA-approved program (1998), and has earned certifications in mediation for H. R. managers (UC Irvine, Ext.), Philanthropy & Development (La Sierra University School of Business), and Small Business Ownership (SBA – American Women’s Economic Development program). She has had a part in mentoring over 5,000 men and women since her first course’s presentation in 1990. Rich is active in business development, holds his degree in marketing from Santa Clara University, and has mediation training through the CAP Riverside program.

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