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Introduction

Shielding children from stress felt by separating parents

Shielding children from stress felt by separating parents

Spurgeons is one of the largest providers of the Separated Parents Information Programme (SPIP). We deliver this programme on behalf of Cafcass (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service), aiming to help parents understand how to put their children first whilst they are separating and in particular how to manage and reduce the impact of any conflict on their children.

The chief challenge is to show parents how to manage and reduce the impact of any conflict on their children.

The current ‘stay-at-home’ policy to halt the spread of Covid-19 brings a potential threat of increased stress and anxiety for many families; for those parents who are going through a separation, the challenges could be even greater.  The work of the SPIP programme is even more critical at this time.

‘interactive and engaging’

This programme is normally delivered on a face-to-face basis, so all planned courses had to be postponed after lockdown. However, our SPIP team, managed by Michelle Riviere who heads a team of programme facilitators plus admin support, have worked incredibly hard to deliver the programme virtually, in a matter of weeks. This challenged the team to get to grips with new technology, to think through how the programme could still be interactive and engaging and to ensure it could be delivered safely, working carefully with families to ensure they could be booked back on to the programme.

Delivering the programme virtually was given an initial trial and received positive feedback, evidenced in the comments of one service user here:

‘I feel the course is very beneficial’

‘I’m extremely happy with the way you have dealt with me, even last minute you made it happen and I’m sure it may have been a headache so thank you for going the extra mile for me. I feel the course is very beneficial, especially as I went in to this very narrow-minded, expecting it to be a waste of time but I was very pleasantly surprised.”

Thanks to the commitment and determination of Michelle and the SPIP team, there is now a full programme of virtual delivery in place for parents which will continue to be rolled out over the coming weeks.

Head of Practice Lorraine White said: “This is a proactive example of using technology to ensure service delivery, enabling us to reach and support families. Well done to Michelle and the team.”