This online course helps separated families to co-parent better and put the needs of their children first.
Planning Together for Children is an England-wide online course. It supports parents who are separating or living apart to put the needs and best interests of their children first. Parents will learn how to protect their children against some of the harmful effects that can arise due to parental conflict. During the course, parents, or those who care for children, will:
- explore how they can work together to agree on parenting arrangements without the need for more court hearings.
- learn how disagreements and arguments can affect children, so they can minimise them.
To access the service, please go to the Cafcass website.
- An interactive parenting plan: helping parents make agreements on their parenting relationship with each other, considering how they can best support their children together.
- The Parenting Together web pages: a range of educational programmes to help them understand the needs of children when parents separate, and the impact of conflict on them.
Frequently asked questions
When is Planning Together for Children a good idea?
This course is a good idea for parents when:
- they are not together and want the best for their children.
- they find it difficult to focus on their children’s needs because of ongoing difficulties in their relationship with one another.
- feelings and reactions to separation are affecting the parents’ ability to communicate about their children because they are under stress.
- the the Court and/or Cafcass have no current safeguarding concerns about children or parents.
- mediation is considered an option to make the best arrangements for the children.
What does Planning Together for Children involve?
There are three stages to Planning Together for Children:
- A two-hour online e-learning course. Topics include: what happens if parents go to Court; understanding and managing emotion; how separation affects children, and looking at things from a child’s point of view. The course is self-directed.
- A workshop with other parents for more learning and discussion. These workshops are usually delivered online but can be in person if needed. Topics include: understanding the impact of conflict on children; how separation affects children, and communicating in positive ways with each other.
- The interactive online parenting plan. This covers how to share the care and support of children. Parents are encouraged to share the plan in a way that is understandable to their children. For some parents, there may also be a follow-up phone call from a trainer up to six weeks after the workshop to see how things are working out.
How do parents take part in Planning Together for Children?
Parents may be ordered or directed to complete Planning Together for Children by a Family Court. A Family Court Adviser may also refer parents to complete Planning Together for Children before the first hearing in court, or afterwards.
What happens when a Planning Together for Children referral is made?
- The parents will receive an email asking them to create an account in the Planning Together for Children e-learning ‘Parent Hub’.
- Action for Children, or one of our partners, will also contact the parent to welcome them to the course and help them book onto a group workshop.
- Within the ‘Parent Hub’ parents will find a link to the parenting plan which parents can start using whenever they are ready.
How is Planning Together for Children delivered?
At Action for Children, we coordinate the arrangements for Planning Together for Children on behalf of Cafcass. We work with different partner organisations across the country to offer this course directly to parents. Group workshops are offered to mixed groups of parents in a two and a half hour session. There will be up to six parents in any one workshop. Parents will not attend the same group as the other parent of their children.
Do families have to pay for Planning Together for Children?
There is no cost to those who are referred to this course by Cafcass or directed by the Court to complete it. Please note that parents cannot refer themselves to the Planning Together for Children course.
How is progress through the course recorded?
The Planning Together for Children ‘Parent Hub’ will record your learning progress. The Family Court Adviser and the Court will be notified if parents are unable to complete the course, so they can consider next steps.