Planning Together for Children is a course that supports parents to think about the needs of their children first when they are working out how they can parent together, as they are separating and/or they are living apart. It supports parents to think carefully about what is in the children’s best interests and to do their best to work together to protect children against some of the harmful effects of parental conflict.
Planning Together for Children encourages parents to think about how they can communicate and work together to agree parenting arrangements without the need for more court hearings.
The course helps parents, or those who care for children, to understand how disagreements and arguments can affect children.
When is Planning Together for Children a good idea?
- When parents are not together and want the best for their children.
- When parents find it difficult to focus on their children’s needs because of ongoing difficulties in their relationship with one another.
- When feeling and reactions to separation are affecting the parents’ ability to communicate about their children because they are under stress.
- When the court and/or Cafcass have no current safeguarding concerns about children or parents.
- When mediation is considered an option to make the best arrangement for the
What does Planning Together for Children involve?
There are three stages to Planning Together for Children.
- The first stage is for parents to complete an e-learning course online and int their own time (taking up to two hours). The self-directed e-learning focuses on topics such as what happens if parents go to court, understanding and managing emotion, how separation affects children, and looking at things from a child’s point of view.
- Once complete, parents must take part in a workshop with other parents for more learning and discussion. These workshops are usually delivered online but can be in person if needed. They cover topics such as understanding the impact on children, how separation affects children, and communicating in positive ways with each other.
- Finally, the course introduces parents to an interactive online parenting plan. The plan encourages parents to share the plan in a way that is understandable to the children. For some parents, there may also be a follow-up phone call from a trainer up to six weeks after the workship; this is to see how things are working out.
How do parent take part in Planning Together for Children?
- Parents may be ordered, or directed, to complete Planning Together for Children by a family court.
- A Family Court Advisor may also refer parents to complete Planning Together for Children before the first hearing in court, or afterwards.
There is no cost to parents for this programme.