The Department for Work and Pension’s Reducing Parental Conflict programme works with local family services including health and social care, the courts, and emergency services. It helps these services spot the signs of parental conflict and provide initial support, while referring parents to further interventions such as therapy.
Councils will now be able to bid for funding from a new £3.87 million cash pot, enabling more children to thrive in happier homes. The initiative went live on 6th April, with the aim of supporting more parents and families experiencing severe relationship difficulties.
Almost nine in 10 councils believe that the programme’s practitioner training is important when embedding support into their services, and are positive about the programme’s potential to improve outcomes for children.
Since 2017, the department has worked with nearly 150 councils to develop strategies for approaching conflict that falls below the domestic abuse threshold. This includes investigating the issue of frequent, intense and inadequately resolved conflict between parents, which can have a significant impact on children’s wellbeing.
This month’s announcement means that councils will have access to further funding, which will help them to train more of their services to intervene in difficult family situations.
DWP Lords Minister Baroness Stedman-Scott said: “Every child deserves the best start in life and this programme aims to do just that by protecting child mental wellbeing through healthier relationships between parents – whether together or separated.”
Reports released by the DWP in April show how extensively the department is raising the profile of parental conflict, an important yet blurry issue for many councils that can lead to challenging consequences for children.
Research shows the programme’s effectiveness in helping parents to take responsibility for their actions and understand the impact on their families. It also helps to improve communication between a couple and within the family as a whole, while providing emotional coping strategies to manage issues such as substance use.
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