One of the most effective ways to safeguard children's mental health through separation is to support their parents in the process. Yet many separating parents receive support from health and welfare practitioners who have limited training in working with separating families. Evidence-based programs for separating families can provide practitioners in diverse sectors with information about 'what works'. This paper identifies the common elements of evidence-based parenting programs that support children's (aged 0-12 years) mental health through parental separation to inform the decisions practitioners make in their practice.

Key messages:

  • Prolonged parental conflict can have enduring, negative effects on children's social and emotional wellbeing.
  • Supporting parents to understand the impact of parental separation on children, to engage in effective parenting practices throughout separation, and to develop functional co-parenting relationships can mitigate the negative effects of separation and contribute to better outcomes for children and the family.
  • Evaluations of parenting programs repeatedly show positive impacts on parental and child wellbeing. However, large, manualised programs are impractical for delivery by practitioners working outside of group settings.
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CFCA Paper No.63