Parenting courses are sometimes ordered by the courts, to help parents try to resolve issues in the best interests of the children, and hope it leads to agreement. SPIP courses (Separated Parents Information Programme) have been in place for a number of years, but have now been replaced with "Planning Together for Children". Cafcass website states that no new referrals can be made for SPIP after 29 March 2023. However the SPIP course is still available for any referrals made before that date. It's called a "programme" rather than a course.

The Planning Together for Children programme will be commissioned by Cafcass on behalf of the Ministry of Justice. Action for Children will lead the delivery and coordination of the programme across England, working with other partners.

Action for Children also run childrens homes but appear to now be one of Cafcass partners.

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

The three stages include an e-learning module, a group workshop, and a supplementary online parenting plan. This very much assumes that anyone doing the course actually has a computer and it needs looking into to see if computer access will be provided for those who don't. Some Dads are struggling financially and living in a tiny flat and may not have funds to buy a computer. While there is the assumption that everyone has one now, that is not always the case. While libraries can offer computer access, would this be secure? All things that will be updated when there is further information ...................

“Our best hope is that parents who take part in this programme are able to separate and make arrangements without the need for further court involvement and with a plan that serves their child’s very best interests. That is what all children deserve.” (Jackie Tiotto - Cafcass Chief Executive).

It can be ordered by the court or referred by a Cafcass officer at any stage in proceedings "as long as the right risk assessment is in place and there is no known risk of harm to any children involved"

This sounds like something similar to the group SPIP course for the second stage - but more of a workshop - with the addition of online courses needing to be done and also the online parenting plan. As this is quite new (as at July 2023), feedback and comments on this course appreciated, if you could post them on the forum.

Further information here

Parent hub here

More info here

Photo by GlennCarstens-Peters on Unsplash
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