Launch of Planning Together for Children 3rd April 2023

Planning Together for Children was launched 3rd April 2023. Please check the Cafcass website for more information, including access to the new parenting plan and a factsheet for parents.

Planning Together for Children is a programme that promotes co-operative parenting by helping both parents understand the impact of separation and conflict on children.

The programme is for parents who have been ordered to attend by the Family Courts, or who are attending before their hearing in agreement with their Cafcass officer.

It encourages parents to think about how they can communicate and work together to agree parenting arrangements without further court hearings and helps parents understand how disagreements and arguments can affect children.

How it works

There are several stages to the programme:

Online elearning course
Parents complete a self directed e-learning course online. To start, you’ll be emailed a log in by Cafcass which you’ll need to use within 72 hours, before it expires.

  • Interactive activities and videos focus on topics including what happens when parents go to court, understanding and managing emotion, how separation affects children, and understanding separation from a child’s point of view.
  • Parents can work through the course activities and videos in eight 10-minute parts logging in and out at their own pace, taking around two hours in total.

Group workshop
Once this is complete, parents take part in a workshop run on Zoom for around five parents for more learning and discussion. The course is run during the daytime including at weekends or split over two consecutive evenings into one hour sessions, which can be helpful for parents with small children. It is delivered to small groups of around five male and female parents by experienced, trained and friendly facilitators and takes two and a half hours.

The course provides a safe place to:

  • Learn what children need most when their parents are separating
  • Develop practical skills and ideas to improve communication and reduce conflict
  • Get support from parents in similar situations
  • Access additional support available to parents and children
  • Understand and reflect on the emotional impact of separation on parents

Former partners don’t attend the same session but it is important that both parents go on a programme.

Online parenting plan
Finally, the course introduces parents to an interactive online parenting plan. The plan encourages agreement over sharing the care and support of children. Parents are encouraged to share the plan in a way that is understandable to the 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.

If you feel there are any reasonable adjustments that will help you attend and fully participate please let us know before the course and we will do our best to help.

Who is the service for

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.

The programme is appropriate if there are no current safeguarding concerns about children or parents.

How to book your place

If the Court has directed you to attend, or if you have agreed to attend with your Family Court Adviser before your Court case, Cafcass will email you a letter of introduction including a log in to start your course. They’ll then forward your details to us and we’ll get in contact with you the following day with more information. Cafcass expects you to complete soon after your Court date, completing the elearning in ten days and the group session soon afterwards. There is no charge to attend the course.

The trainer was fantastic, pitching the course just right and I learnt a huge amount during the course in just a few hours. I've got some good notes and tips about handling difficult situations with my ex and most importantly making sure the distress for our daughter is minimised. I couldn't recommend it highly enough everyone who has to co-parent (even if they are happily married) would benefit from some of the insights!

- Parent