CAFCASS launches ‘Planning Together for Children’

CAFCASS replaces the Separated Parenting Information Programme with ‘Planning Together for Children’

The breakdown of the relationship between parents can affect children in various ways; they may feel angry, confused, anxious, overwhelmed, worthless, depressed and even guilty blaming themselves for being responsible for the separation.

CAFCASS has launched ‘Planning Together for Children’, which is a new course and set of resources for parents to help them to think about how to prioritise their children’s needs while they are separating. Planning Together for Children replaces the Separated Parents Information Programme (SPIP) which has been in place since 2009.

The new programme combines e-learning resources, group work and online support for parents involved in private law Family Court proceedings. It was co-designed with children and parents following an extensive review and a consultation with over 20 stakeholders.

Planning Together for Children encourages parents to find an effective way to communicate and co-operate to agree parenting arrangements without the need for more Court Hearings. It aims to create more awareness about how disagreements and arguments can worry their children and impact on their wellbeing and development.

CAFCASS hopes that parents who take part in this programme will be able to separate and make arrangements without the need for further Court involvement and with a plan that serves their children’s very best interests.

How Planning Together for Children works

Planning Together for Children is for families in private law Family Court proceedings and can either be ordered by a Court or referred by a CAFCASSS 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.

Unlike the SPIP, which was a one-off four-hour course, there are three stages to Planning Together for Children:

  • 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.

If you have any queries about making arrangements for children during separation or about any other area of family law, please contact us.

Emel Kilickaya is a trainee solicitor at Barker Gotelee Solicitors in Suffolk.

Suffolk Family Solicitors – for more information on our range of legal services, please call the team on 01473 611211 or email