The animosity and conflict that arises from separation and divorce can sometimes harm the children involved. Courses such as the Planning Together for Children Programme (previously known as the Separated Parents’ Information Programme SPIP) help you to minimize the effect that separation and divorce can potentially have on your children.
This resource will look at the planning together for children programme, how it can be beneficial to separating parents and what you can expect from the process.
What is the planning together for children programme?
The Planning Together for Children Programme helps parents understand the effects and impact of their separation on their child/children from the child’s/children’s point of view. It is an opportunity for parents to learn how to manage and reduce the effects of conflict upon the children involved and to remove unnecessary negativity from them.
There are three stages to the planning together for children programme.
1. Self-directed E-learning modules. The topics included are what happens if parents go to court, how to understand and manage emotions, and how to look at things from a child’s point of view.
2. Group workshop will include group discussion, thinking about the learning from the e-learning modules, looking at the impact of conflict on children, and positive communication methods.
3. Parenting plan. A family mediator can help you go through and create a robust and flexible parenting plan, ensuring that all potential items that could cause conflict in the future are discussed and thoroughly planned. You can attempt to create your parenting plan without the support of a family mediator; however, the agreement may need to be more thorough, and you and your ex-partner may need help to achieve agreement on all items.
The CAFCASS parenting plan is a useful resource. You might ask how it differs from a mediated parenting plan. The main difference is how you get to the agreement. CAFCASS uses an online tool, whereas mediation is a collaborative process through structured and managed discussions with an expert in family disagreements and disputes. Access Mediation Services’ mediators will not only try to work with you on coming to agreements with an ex-partner or someone else with parental responsibility but will, where possible, reality test, ensuring that the agreement will work for as long as possible.
After completing the planning together for children sessions, you will receive a 10-minute call to help you understand the learning that has happened since attending the course.
You will have to provide consent for the call during the course.
- The parent hub involved in the planning together programme will record the course’s learning and completion. Where a course has not been completed, the court and CAFCASS officer involved will be notified. The course is for parents and carers and not children. Information will remain confidential when there are no safeguarding concerns, whether about children or an adult.
- Only the courts can signpost parents and carers to the programme; if it is not appropriate, they will not make the referral.
- The courts cannot only order you to attend this programme but can also order you to attend a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting. To find out more about a MIAM, please click here.
- Parents don’t attend the course at the same time.
- The equivalent course in Wales is working together for children.
- You must be in the court process to access the planning together for children programme.
To find out more about planning together for children, please visit CAFCASS’ website.
For more information about Family Mediation, please visit our website, where you can find information about how mediation works, what you can expect and the benefits of using such a process in disputes around child arrangements, property, and finance.