Port Lincoln mother develops co-parenting app for divorced families

A Port Lincoln woman has developed an app aimed at helping divorced parents to co-care for their children with guidance and support. 

Ilka Curtis, 32, came up with her idea when trying to coordinate holiday time for her and her children, while also trying to ensure they still got to spend time with her former husband.

“I had calendars coloured in with blue when my former husband had [the children] and pink when I had them...and then I thought, seriously, there’s gotta be an easier way to do this,” she said. 

Ms Curtis said the prototype, known as ‘Ohana’ grew from there, based on her needs as a mother. 

“I actually interviewed a lot of people that are in my situation and in lots of different situations and I found out what they needed,” she said. 

The prototype features a calendar with each parent’s care schedule, where requests can be sent to change the schedules, as well as a ‘ghost’ calendar to keep personal appointments. 

The app also features ‘kids’ information banks’ that include information from the child’s shoe size to their friends names at school. 

“Sometimes parents call their kids, and don't know what to talk about.

“If they had this app, they could know to ask, ‘how’s your friend Ted going?’.”

“I want to help other couples become what [my former husband and I] are doing currently, and the best way to do that is this app, without actually being in their face...the app sort of guides them in that direction,” she said. 

Ms Curtis said local reception of the app so far had been very positive. 

“I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the amount of support I’ve gotten from Port Lincoln people.

“I kept it all really quiet because I didn’t know how big it was going to be or if it was even going to come to fruition,” she said. 

After gaining more exposure for her app, Ms Curtis has also been able to work on setting up Facebook and Instagram support groups, as well as an online blog about things that helped her situation in the hopes of guiding others.

Ms Curtis said she was now waiting to receive funding for her initiative to fully develop the app. 

“I need a grant or an investor to come on board,” she said.  

“I did the prototype this year, and now I’m trying to get it developed but I need money.

“Once I have that funding it’s only going to be 12 to 14 weeks development, because its all ready to go.”

Ms Curtis said the main driver behind her app was wanting the best outcome for her children.

“There’s a lot of late nights, but it’s something I’m passionate about,” she said.