Published on September 7, 2023

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.

For more information visit the Cafcass website HERE.

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And is in relation to the topic…

The Impact On Children

It is so easy to be told that you need to put your children first when we are separating, but what does it actually mean? When your life is turmoil and emotions are running high this can feel daunting when there are so many things to think about. If you have a child with someone, then regardless of whatever you think of them or whatever they might have done, they will still have an important role to play in the life of your child. Exceptions to this are rare. Possessive language that excludes or minimises the role of the other parent can negatively impact the relationship between that parent and the child and can increase conflict and make it more difficult to co-parent. We know that conflict and/or parental absence in particular has a negative impact on children.

Parents need to create the right conditions for children to thrive.

For children, whilst separation will bring inevitable feelings of loss and change, they can still thrive if their parents work in partnership to create the right conditions. We know that children are more likely to adapt with fewer problems, and less emotional distress, when parents are able to part with compassion and continue to work together in partnership even when they are not together. On this hub you will find lots of article and tips on how to minimise the impact on children. For example; how do you set up two homes? How do you co-parent well? What does it mean to put your children first? How do you tell your child you are separating? What do I tell the school? What about holidays? And much more...

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