FUNDING has been granted to a scheme which helps parents and children in Worcestershire who have been going through tough times during the lockdown.
The Parenting Apart Programme (PAP) is aimed at supporting those going through conflict, divorce and separation and ensuring the emotional wellbeing of the children involved in the breakdowns.
The cash has come from the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund.
To be eligible for the programme families need to be on low-income or Universal Credit and meet the Legal Aid threshold or Litigants in Person.
The funding makes the scheme available for six months for parents to attend the initial four-week alternative dispute resolution programme which can be undertaken as a choice alongside mediation.
The PAP organisers say it is crucial families are able to access support in order to help and prioritise the emotional needs of their children when experiencing family breakdown.
Because of the Covid restrictions the sessions are offered virtually via Zoom.
Five meetings are held over a four-week period, with each one lasting around an hour-and-a-half each.
At the start a one-to-one session with each parent is conducted to establish trust and develop a positive approach.
There are then three joint sessions with both parents to begin communicating together in a supportive environment, leading to a respectful parent working relationship.
Parent Working Agreements are drawn up which both abide by and can be used alongside court orders if relevant.
The Agreement details how the parents will work together to support the child’s wishes, emotional and physical wellbeing covering practical issues including transition of care, childcare arrangements, holidays, handovers, and schooling.
This enables parents to retain joint responsibility for decision making with regard to their children’s futures, as opposed to court directed, third party decision making.
The initial four-week programme can be accessed before, during and after court proceedings. Parents who complete it can self-certify to Courts that they have completed alternative dispute mediation if required.
Research shows PAP helps children emotionally adapt to the ongoing changes, give parents a better understanding about what is best for their children and provide a more stable environment for youngsters living ‘between homes’.
For more on the PAP scheme, which has received a Can Parent Quality Mark award, email [email protected] or call 01562 700447.