Separated Parents Information Programme (SPIP)

Separated Parents Information Programmes are designed to help parents learn more about the challenges of post-separation parenting, including the effects on children of ongoing conflict. It also aims to provide advice and support about how best to help children in this situation and enables parents to take steps towards their own solutions. Most parents that go on the course find it very helpful. Parents in the same case always go to different SPIP sessions, but it is always important that both parents do attend. SPIP is run in groups.

The Programme encourages parents to take steps for themselves; this may include developing agreements that do not need court intervention. The Programme will give you ideas and signpost ways in which you can get help outside court, and you are expected to make use of these where possible. If this leads to agreed arrangements that are safe and beneficial for children, the court will help with this process. The majority of parents that go on the course find it very helpful.

The Separated Parents Information Programme (SPIP):
* It is usually delivered to mixed groups of parents in two, two-hour sessions or one four-hour session. You must be there for the whole programme.
* Separated couples do not go on the same course, but it is important that both parents go on a programme.

A SPIP might be appropriate for parents (or other parties) when:
* you have difficulty focussing on your children’s
* needs due to ongoing conflict you find that your feelings and reactions to the separation are affecting your ability to communicate
* about your children you would like communication to improve, perhaps
* you are thinking about mediation there are no safeguarding concerns about children or parents.

The course:
* Looks at working as separated parents in the best interests of your children.
* DVD made by young people that follows a family over a six month period.
* Parent communication – you will be asked to think about prepared scenarios from other viewpoints. You will also see and try out some methods that can help both parents react better to stress in practical ways.
* Emotions – you will look at the emotional effect of separation or being separated parents and the options for moving forward.

To take part in a course:
Courts have the power, by making a court order, to ‘direct’ parents to attend a programme aimed at promoting safe contact with children.
You can be ordered to go to a Separated Parents Information Programme and/or to a Mediation Information Meeting. Cafcass is usually asked to advise the court if it is suitable for you. You can choose a SPIP provider convenient to you.
There is no charge to Cafcass service users for the SPIP.

You can find a list of SPIP providers in your area in the DRS SPIP Service User Directory. It can be accessed here.
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