How winning a CYP Now Award gave our team vital recognition

Charlotte Cooklin and Andy Hyde
Friday, July 31, 2020

Cafcass's Positive co-Parenting Programme won the Family Justice Award in 2019. Here, Cafcass improvement managers Charlotte Cooklin and Andy Hyde explain how winning the award helped boost the profile of the service and programme.

The work of the Cafcass Positive co-Parenting Programme (CPPP) was recognised at the Children & Young People Now Awards 2019, with the initiative winning both the Safeguarding Award and Family Justice Award.

Winning these awards has been significant; promoting the programme among colleagues, families and partners.

Winning the Family Justice Award, which is sponsored by the Centre for Justice Innovation, was excellent as it showed a clear indication of the commitment by the wider court system to support alternative and creative ways of intervening with families and achieving improved outcomes for children.

The CPPP in an intervention for working with parents where harmful conflict is identified as the most significant risk to children. It offers a structured four session programme for families identified as needing ongoing court involvement, the aim being to work collaboratively with the court by applying social skills to promote change where possible within a court ordered time frame not exceeding 12 weeks.

The overall goal is to work together to achieve safe agreements by reducing parental conflict and improving communication. The CPPP draws on systemic approaches including ideas from narrative therapy and motivational interviewing techniques. It is a voluntary programme which provides structured sessions to parents in family proceedings, with the expectation that they attend one individual and one joint meeting. The model also explores the child’s experience and helps them to explain this to their parents, to refocus parents to make child-centred arrangements. A report detailing any agreement reached and or recommendations as to the future arrangements will be filed.

The programme aims to provide added value for children and families in specified private law cases by:

  • Creating a structured intervention for suitable cases to promote more timely case resolution
  • Reducing parental conflict and the harmful impact this has on their children
  • Providing a clear plan to progress individual cases, and minimise the duration of proceedings
  • Promoting transparent case management expectations among all family members involved in proceedings and the judiciary for cases where CPPP and the need for ongoing court involvement is identified.

What are the benefits for children and families?

  • Offering a structured intervention for suitable cases to promote more timely case resolution.
  • Reducing parental conflict and the harmful impact this has on their children.
  • Providing a clear plan to progress individual cases, and minimise the duration of proceedings reduced return rates.
  • Promote parental responsibility with parents involved in the family courts where harmful conflict is the most significant identified risk by promoting improved communication and exploration of narratives.
  • Powerful use of letter writing to enable the child to be central to their proceedings whilst targeting intervention work with their parents.
  • Help parents to reach their own agreements together, by consent, outside of court hearings.

The awards provided recognition internally and externally of the great work the programme does and I would encourage others to enter the 2020 Awards.

For more on the Children & Young People Now Awards 2020 and to enter the Family Justice Award

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