Putting Children First is a programme designed to help adults build cooperative parenting relationships after divorce or family separation in order to bring about better outcomes for their children.
It was developed by practitioners working at the Centre for Separated Families in the United Kingdom and is designed to be a flexible tool that may be adapted to augment existing services within a range of disciplines and settings.
The programme is delivered as a course that helps parents to understand and deal with their, often painful, experiences and learn new ways of managing the difficult transitions that accompany divorce or separation.
It works by offering parents a safe and boundaried environment in which to develop understanding and deal with their experiences. From this, they are offered new ways of managing change in ways that reduce the impact on their children and offer the potential for collaborative post separation parenting arrangements.
The programme looks at the impact of separation on parents and children, why conflict occurs and how it can be prevented, the emotional and psychological transitions that arise through separation, building new cooperative parenting relationships and taking positive steps to make the right choices for children.
Parents who undertake the Putting Children First programme are helped to reorientate their focus from the ending of their adult, intimate relationship towards building a new business-like parenting relationship that is flexible and respectful. Where parents have become entrenched in conflict, it can offer solid foundations and strategies to ensure that their children’s needs are met
Whilst its core principles and delivery methods are designed to maximise effective outcomes, Putting Children First recognises that each setting and each client group has its own specific needs and expectations. The programme has, therefore, been tested for adaptability to ensure that it is relevant to different groups and matches the existing skills of different practitioners.