The animosity and conflict that arises from separation and divorce can sometimes have a detrimental effect on the children involved. Courses such as the Separated Parents Information Programme help you to minimize the effect that separation and divorce can potentially have on your children.

This resource will look at the SPIP programme, how it can be beneficial to separating parents and what you can expect from the process.

What is the Separated Parents Information Programme?

The Separated Parent Information Programme, also referred to as SPIP, helps parents to understand the effects and impact of their separation on the child and from the child’s point of view.  It is an opportunity for parents to learn how to manage and reduce the impact of conflict upon the children involved and to remove unnecessary negativity from them.

Separated parents courses are usually four-hour programmes run in two, two-hour sessions.  They are delivered to small groups of 6-10 unrelated people containing a mixture of both male and female parents.  Trained and experienced facilitators run the groups and enable parents to learn what their children need throughout a separation, develop communication skills with their children, develop practical skills to reduce conflict, understand and reflect on the emotional impact that separation has upon their children.  It also allows a parent to garner support from other people in the same situation and allows both parents and children to access additional support where it is required.

How can I attend a Separated Parents Information Programme?

Parents can either choose to attend the separated parents course themselves or in some cases, as directed by the Court.  It is deemed to be an appropriate course of action where there are no safeguarding issues or concerns about the children or parents.  Therefore, whether you attend voluntarily or are ordered to attend does not mean that somebody thinks that you are bad parent.  It is merely an opportunity to step back and reflect upon the impact of the separation on your children in a safe place and away from the sometimes emotionally charged settings of the home environment at these times.

This parenting course encourages mediation and for parents to take steps themselves outside of the court setting.  This may be developing agreements, contact arrangements etc.  The aim of the programme is to provide you with ideas and ways of dealing with conflict and separation and will also provide you with signposting opportunities to services outside of the court. When this separated parents course leads you to agreements and arrangements that are deemed to be safe and beneficial for the children, the court will then help with the process.

Local providers of SPIP programmes can be found on the CAFCASS website along with a link for a handbook used in courses:- https://www.cafcass.gov.uk/grown-ups/parents-and-carers/divorce-and-separation/separated-parents-information-programme/

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 property, finance and children.

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