The Court Welfare Service has launched a new course and set of resources for parents to help them think about how to prioritise their children’s needs while they are separating. Planning Together for Children combines e-learning, group work and online support for parents involved in private law family court proceedings. It replaces the Separated Parents Information Programme (SPIP).

When parents separate, the risk to a deterioration in their child’s emotional wellbeing and mental health increases significantly if the separation involves a high level of conflict. This can be exacerbated by the anxiety and uncertainty caused by lengthy family court proceedings.  Planning Together for Children encourages parents to consider how they can communicate and work together to agree parenting arrangements without the need for more court hearings and to understand how disagreements and arguments can worry their children and affect their wellbeing and development.   It was designed with input from children and families.

The new programme aims to reduce the time families spend in family court proceedings and to lower the number of families returning to court.

Planning Together for Children is for families in private law family court proceedings and can either be ordered by a court or referred by a Cafcass Family Court Adviser at any stage of proceedings

Unlike the SPIP, which was a one-off four-hour course, there are three stages to Planning Together for Children:

  • a set of self-directed e-learning modules that focus on topics such as what happens if parents go to court, understanding and managing emotion, and looking at things from a child’s point of view;
  • a group workshop where parents will be encouraged to discuss, think about and extend their learning from the e-learning modules, covering topics such as understanding the impact of conflict on children and communicating in positive ways with each other; and
  • a supplementary online parenting plan – to help parents to make agreements about important parts of their co-parenting relationship and the arrangements for their children, where this is safe for the children and adults. Parents will be encouraged to share an understandable version of the plan with their child/ren.

The online parenting plan is available without the need for a referral on the Cafcass website and its worth a look.  The interactive plan allows separating parents to agree arrangements for their children online and then to consider how they will discuss them with their children.

To find out more about how we can help, please visit our website or call our office on 01206 577676.

For more information

Contact us on 01206 577676 or you can email [email protected]