Last month, Cafcass launched a new course for parents to help them think about how to prioritise their children’s needs while they are separating. The new course is called ‘Planning Together for Children’. It replaces the Separated Parents Information Programme (SPIP) and so since 29th March 2023, no new referrals have been accepted to SPIP.
Cafcass have confirmed that their new course is aimed at encouraging 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 impact on their children’s wellbeing and development.
The new course aims to reduce the time families spend in family court proceedings and to lower the number of families returning to court.
The new course can either be ordered by a court or referred by a Cafcass Family Court Adviser at any stage of proceedings if the right risk assessment is in place and there is no known risk of harm to any children involved. It was co-designed with children and parents.
Unlike SPIP, which was a one-off four-hour course, there are three stages to the new course:
- 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.
The online parenting plan is available without the need for a referral on the Cafcass website.
Author: Sam John