Currently running online, the Separated Parents Information Programme (SPIP) is a course that helps parents understand separation from a child’s point of view and learn the fundamental principles of how to manage and reduce the impact of conflict on their children.
The course is a four-hour programme run during the daytime including at weekends or split over two consecutive evenings into two hour sessions, which can be helpful for parents with small children. It is delivered to small groups of four to seven male and female parents, on Zoom, by experienced, trained and friendly facilitators. Former partners don’t attend the same session but it is important that both parents go on a programme.
The course provides a safe place to:
If you are a court-ordered parent, or are attending before your hearing in agreement with your Cafcass officer, we will contact you to arrange a place. If you are attending independently, please fill in the referral form below and we will contact you to arrange a date to attend (see How to access the service below).
Family Action run the service for parents court-ordered to attend in Greater Manchester, South Yorkshire, Liverpool, Merseyside, Cheshire, Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Telford, Worcester, Essex and Suffolk. Our partner organisation Polaris (formerly Core Asssets Children’s Services) deliver the programme in Sheffield, West Yorkshire, Birkenhead, Chester and Crewe, Reading, Guildford and Brighton. Currently all programmes are running online. We accept parents referring themselves from all areas across the UK.
Parents are either directed by the Court to attend, attend before their hearing in agreement with their Cafcass officer or choose to attend the course themselves independently. If court-ordered they are required to go. A Cafcass-funded service, there is no charge to these parents to attend. An interpreter service is available and we will provide additional support if you need it.
If you need to attend as a court-ordered parent and live in another area please contact your local provider which you can find on the Cafcass national directory here.
A SPIP is appropriate if there are no current safeguarding concerns about children or parents.
Parents can choose to attend the course independently of the family courts to help with the difficulties separated families often face. This is known as a Dispute Resolution or DRSPIP. We accept parents referring themselves from all areas across the UK. The course is sometimes recommended by solicitors. For other parents, attending the SPIP can help them resolve disputes without approaching the Family Courts and reduce the length and impact of conflict. There is a fee to attend of £113. Find out more here. Currently due to grant funding in the LIverpool area self referrals can attend without charge.
We will arrange a time to speak with you to briefly check you’ll benefit from the course, offer you a range of course dates and times, confirm a date and send you additional information to help you understand how the course will help you.
If the Court has directed you to attend, Cafcass will send you a letter of introduction and forward your details to your nearest provider who will then contact you to book you a place on the programme. Cafcass expects you to attend within twenty days. Your welcome letter will include a unique seven digit code which you’ll need to bring to the session to register your attendance. There is no charge to attend the course as a court-ordered parent.
We will send you confirmation with a map with local information including parking details. You’re also welcome to contact our team coordinators for directions or other local information.
What parents say
“It has helped me understand the effects that the separation between us may have had on our children.”
“Was good to talk to other people going through similar stuff. It was nice to know you’re not the only one.”
“Amazing. Very good at involving everyone and helping you to understand difficult situations.”
“Done extremely well considering the difficulties we’re all facing. I was put at ease and felt comfortable for the whole of the course.”
Parent comments April-June 2021
If you live outside the areas we cover you can find your local SPIP provider here.
The Parenting Plan is a written plan worked out between parents after they separate and it covers the practical issues of parenting. It can help clarify the arrangements you need to put in place to care for your children after separation, without having to go to court
An expert government-backed source of advice and online tools on a range of issues including financial and legal difficulties, parenting, health and housing.
Run by the leading separation research charity One Plus One, offers a free skills-based programme that complements the SPIP. It helps you work out what’s best for your children and manage conflict with your ex partner. Cafcass advise parents to access the course before or after the programme.
There’s also a listening room where you can chat live online to trained mediators, a discussion forum and a list of local mediation organisations.
During the current Coronavirus Crisis some parents whose children are the subject of Child Arrangements Orders made by the Family Court have been understandably concerned about their ability to meet the requirements of these court orders safely. This short statement is intended to offer advice but, as the circumstances of each child and family will differ, any advice is given is general and not specific to each family.
Children’s top tips for parents
Devised by children and young people with experience of family law proceedings to help parents think about matters from their child’s perspective. From the Family Justice Young People’s Board.
Co-parenting apps recommended by parents
A list compiled by parents who have attended the SPIP and told us they found these apps helpful. With thanks to our partners Polaris (formerly Core Assets Children’s Services).
Resources and useful contacts
Organisations offering support, advice and information to separated parents.
Useful books for children and adults
Books for children to help them talk about divorce and separation and recommended reading for parents.
For any queries contact our team at Head Office
T: 020 7241 7456 or 0207254 6251 (extension 6657) E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Open Monday- Friday 10.00-16.00. We receive a high volume of calls so please leave a voicemail if the line is busy. We will get back to you within two working days.
If you want local information about the programme contact our local coordinator: Tracy Gore 07791382964