Reducing Parental Conflict

A project delivered by Families First Bedfordshire on behalf of Central Bedfordshire, Bedford Borough and Luton Borough Council’s

What its all about

If you work with families when did you last talk to a parent about their relationship with their partner? We are very aware of the importance of being vigilant for signs of domestic abuse, but what about if the issue is more about frequent, intense and poorly resolved parental conflict? We often find it uncomfortable to ask personal questions about relationships, but there is a growing body of evidence on the importance of the parental relationship to children’s outcomes. Whether the parents are together or separated, parental conflict can affect children’s emotional, behavioural, social and academic development.

Defining the Problem:

  • 1,249,820 children and young people in families where at least one parent reports parental relationship distress
  • 12% of children live in household where at least one parent reports relationship distress… this rises to 28% of children when at least one member of the household is unemployed.

Parental conflict: the impact on children and how local authorities can help from Innovation Unit on Vimeo.

National overview

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is developing a national offer of parental relationship support, including face-to-face provision, workforce training and the development of tools to support practitioners when working with families, and a central ‘what works’ infrastructure to support local delivery.

The RPC Programme is built around eight key components:

  • testing the UK effectiveness of eight face-to-face interventions for workless families, delivered through four regional contracts in the South West, London, East of England and the North East
  • strategic leadership support for every local authority area to plan for reducing parental conflict, using a new Planning Tool
  • training for the relationship support workforce, to increase the supply of evidence-based help
  • exploring the potential of digitally delivered support, particularly around key life events known to increase the risk of conflict
  • training and guidance for the frontline workforce, to improve identification and effective referral to appropriate support
  • regional support to embed addressing parental conflict, delivered through a team of Regional Integration Leads (RILs) with experience of local public service delivery
  • a ‘what works’ function, to ensure that local commissioners understand why addressing parental conflict is important and how to do it
  • evaluation, to continue building the evidence base.

Further information on the programme can be found on:

https://reducingparentalconflict.eif.org.uk

Local Overview

Bedford Borough Council, Central Bedfordshire, Luton Borough Council and Families First Bedfordshire are working together to create a pan-Bedfordshire strategic team to drive the Reducing Parental Conflict Programme (RPC). They are building on current practice and programmes such as Five to Thrive, Parents as First Teachers, Mellow Parenting and Triple P, as well as learning from the Local Family Offer, and using insight and data to understand the impact of parental conflict on adolescent mental health.

What are we doing already?

Alongside the development of a training plan, local authority senior management teams and frontline family practitioners are currently working with the RPC leads to:

  • understand the evidence base around parental conflict and child outcomes and what works
  • undertake local needs analysis and explore links to existing strategies and plans

Senior Management Teams are on board and working with the RPC leads to link the RPC programme to existing strategies and plans.  There is a real commitment at all levels to drive this programme and strengthen our response to reducing parental conflict, and improving outcomes for children and young people.

Local and Regional Leads:

Regional lead: Christabel Tuke

Central Bedfordshire Council: Fiona Side

Bedford Borough Council: Ranjit Sohal

Luton Borough Council: Sarah Lawlor

Workforce Development

Research has found that children exposed to parental conflict experience a decline in their mental health and poorer long-term outcomes.
The Reducing Parental Conflict Programme has been designed to upskill practitioners in supporting parents to reduce conflict within their relationship, whether they are together or separated. In turn, they can then improve outcomes for their children.

WHO IS IT FOR?
Practitioners or agencies that have contact with parents either directly, or by working with their children, play an important role in identifying and supporting the reduction of parental conflict.  This programme supports practitioners, supervisors, managers and wider agencies in building awareness and developing the
confidence, knowledge and skills to work with parents to reduce conflict and drive more positive outcomes.

HOW IS IT DELIVERED?
The programme is delivered through four half-day classroom sessions. Dependent on requirements, modules can be combined or delivered individually.  All classroom modules are supported by an e-learning programme. This can also be booked as a standalone product.  Every delegate booked in a classroom session will also be automatically sent e-learning sessions following attendance.  Each e-learning session takes approximately 45 minutes to complete.

Safeguarding Bedfordshire, in partnership with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Knowledge Pool, are pleased to offer the FREE* Reducing Parental Conflict training programme.

More information on the different modules can be found below:

Aims 

This module is 1 of 4, delivered as part of the Reducing Parental Conflict programme. The aim is to bring into focus the impact of parental conflict on child development and outcomes.

Attendees

This module is designed as part of an awareness programme exploring the evidence base for parental conflict and its impact on children. Open to a wide range of participants including front line practitioners,senior leaders, and service designers or commissioners working in a variety of roles across the reach of Local Authorities and associated organisations ,for whom increased awareness will lead to greater identification of opportunities for early intervention.

Objectives

By the end of this half-day introductory workshop ,participants will be able to:

  • Attain a raised awareness of the existing evidence base around parental conflict
  • Achieve a good understanding of the impact of parental conflict on children’s outcomes
  • Recognise the potential triggers for parental conflict gained from the evidence base
  • Understand the stressors and triggers of parental conflict, including the possible outcomes such as the relationship between mental health and parental conflict
  • Achieve an understanding of the role of fathers/male carers in a child’s life
  • Gain an awareness of the Early Intervention Foundation (EIF) Resource Hub and the role of Reducing Parental Conflict Ambassadors and Integration Team
  • Reflect on how to apply the evidence base into areas of work – strategic or operational

Course Agenda

  • Introduction & housekeeping
  • Module objectives
  • Participants’ introductions
  • Parental conflict and its impact on relationships
  • Causes of parental conflict
  • The vulnerability stress adaptation model
  • Recognising the impact of parental conflict on outcomes for children (evidence base findings)
  • The Early Intervention Foundation (EIF)
  • Debrief and take-aways
  • Summary and evaluation

Aims

This module is 2 of 4, delivered as part of the Reducing Parental Conflict programme. and explores how to recognise the signs of parental conflict at the early stages. It highlights how to support parents in finding constructive outcomes which are shown to provide positive lessons for children to learn such skills as negotiation and compromise.

Attendees

The module is designed as a skills-based workshop giving opportunities to practise techniques to engage with couples/co-parents in practical situations. Open to a wide range of front line practitioners working with adults. children and families in a variety of roles across the reach of Local Authorities and partner organisations.

Objectives

By the end of this half-day, skills-based workshop. participants will be able to:

  • Recognise relationship distress at an early stage and when it is potentially damaging
  • Support couples experiencing parental conflict and be empowered to act,report or refer should domestic abuse be disclosed/identified
  • Revisit the stressors that may lead to parental conflict
  • Recognise the role of fathers I male carers in a child’s life and understand the importance of including co-parents in all forms of co-parenting couples
  • Build confidence and skills by using effective listening and questioning techniques to identify and discuss parental conflict triggers
  • Understand your role and responsibilities in discussing parental conflict with parents, to help frontline practitioners assist parents to understand the impact of parental conflict on their children

Course Agenda

  • Introduction & housekeeping
  • Module objectives
  • Family formations including the role of fathers
  • Participants’ introductions
  • The couple relationship and early intervention
  • Recognising relationship distress and applying the VSA Model with scenarios
  • Empathy and questioning in parental conflict situations, structuring your approach
  • Debrief and take-aways
  • Summary and evaluation

Aims

This module is 3 of 4 delivered as part of the Reducing Parental Conflict programme and explores how to discuss parental conflict with parents. It focuses on practising the skills of handling conversations with parents in conflict using tools and techniques to enable parents to resolve destructive conflict with positive outcomes.

Attendees

The module is designed to practice the skills needed to support parents to reach positive outcomes from destructive conflict situations. Open to a wide range of frontline practitioners working with adults, children and families in a variety of roles across the reach of Local Authorities and partner organisations.

Objectives

By the end of this half-day, skills-based workshop , participants will be able to:

  • Identify the level of conflict encountered and describe the most appropriate support to otter
  • Respond appropriately when parental conflict is identified
  • Practice how to approach conversations that may arise around distressed relationships
  • Know about  the  available  local and national  resources  available to support  parents whose relationship is in conflict
  • Help parents to engage with these services, by being able to describe what they do and what the evidence shows us about long term outcomes for children
  • Identify when  to  talk  with  your  manager  about  possible  domestic  abuse  and/or  child safeguarding situations

Course Agenda

  • Introduction & housekeeping
  • Module objective
  • Participants’ introductions
  • Using tools to support parents
  • Providing support and guidance
  • Motivating and encouraging parents to address their conflict issues
  • Putting it into practice with a case study family
  • Debrief and take-aways
  • Summary and evaluation

Aims

This module is 4th and final module in the Reducing Parental Conflict programn;e and highlights how to support frontline practitioners to engage with parents in addressing destructive conflict with a view to improving outcomes for children. It focuses on the skills practice of managing team members faced with parental conflict conversations to develop their skills and confidence levels, empowering managers to practically support their team members to consistently  develop and subsequently apply their learning.

Attendees

This module is specifically for those with managerial  or  supervisory responsibility for front line practitioners who work in a range of organisations.  The module is designed as a skills-based workshop exploring the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed to support staff to identify, intervene or escalate parental conflict situations they encounter.

Objectives

By the end of this half-day, skills-based workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Support members of staff through the handling of parental conflict situations
  • Recognise the importance of maintaining a focus on reducing parental conflict
  • Apply the evidence-base to day to day interactions with parents
  • Utilise the tools from the toolkit to support frontline practitioners to work with parents in conflict
  • Use questioning to probe for further details where necessary
  • Handle supervisory discussions involving parental conflict cases
  • Advise staff members on the appropriate course of action appropriate to the situation

Course Agenda

  • Introduction & housekeeping
  • Module objectives
  • Participants’ introductions
  • Overview of the 3 previous modules
  • Constructive conflict and its value; destructive conflict and its outcomes
  • Parental conflict and the importance of early involvement
  • Parental conflict conversations toolkit – using tools to overcome barriers
  • Kadushin’s supervision model as applied to parental conflict
  • Practicing support with structured conversations
  • Debrief and action plans, summary & evaluations


HOW TO BOOK:

For further information, or to book your place, visit www.centralbedscpd.co.uk/safeguarding

You will need to go to the ‘Search Events’ tab and select the ‘Request a Place’ button next to the event you wish to attend. * Cancellation/ non-attendance policy applies.

CONTACT: Email – LSCB.Training@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk | Tel – 0300 300 6676