Parenting Apart Programme (PAP), supports separated and divorced parents understand the harm and impact of entrenched conflict by helping parents to see separation through the eyes of their children.

Kam Kaur, Senior Social Worker and Parenting Apart Consultant, told us about their programme for separated and divorced parents. 

There are currently 2.4 million separated families in the United Kingdom. The shared physical care of children following separation has long been a complex issue. It is widely recognised that exposure to parental conflict can have long-term negative impacts on a child’s early emotional, behavioural, cognitive and social development. The Parenting Apart Programme (PAP) aims to help parents place children at the centre of decision-making by promoting effective communication.

What is PAP?

PAP is an early intervention programme that aims to improve the emotional and physical wellbeing and mental health of children whose parents are divorcing or separating. Supporting separating parents to work towards outcomes that are beneficial for the whole family, the voice of the child is central to the programme. An evidenced-based, stand-alone programme, PAP is an intervention that supports parents to learn how to make positive adjustments to family breakdowns. Awarded the CANparent Quality Mark, PAP provides an individualised and culturally responsive service for families.

PAP is a structured 4-week programme, and adopts a unique relational approach to parental participation. Sessions encourage parents to empathise and mentalise the child’s experience and use this insight to understand the feelings and emotions the child feels, as a consequence of the family separation. Support includes individual and joint face to face consultations, a Parent Working Agreement, review meetings, advice and guidance, and court reports. If parents are struggling emotionally to undertake the practical tasks together, PAP provide hands-on practical support, such as meeting with children to rebuild relationships with the parent if this has broken down. The programme can be accessed before, during and after court proceedings.

Components of the Programme

PAP follows a 7-step parental engagement training process where parents are guided and supported to reflect on past emotions. Underpinned by theories relating to socio-emotional and cognitive development, the programme applies an understanding of neuroscientific research in the field of childhood trauma and neuro-development. Drawing upon a range of approaches relating to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs); attachment theory; conflict and communication theory, PAP also incorporates evidence-based practice from the area of couples’ therapy, and strength-based communication to increase empathy and promote respect between parties. To foster effective communication between parents, PAP have collaborated with OurFamilyWizard, an online communication tool that provides a safe platform to help families mange shared parenting.

Separation and divorce can impact arrangements with spending time with the child. If a child or young person is not in contact with a parent as a result of parental separation, PAP offer an intensive intervention to help rebuild the relationship between the non-resident parent and child. In cases where there is domestic abuse or child protection concerns, or where there are on-going court proceeding, PAP provide an increased and concentrated response, which consists of additional face-to-face support.

  • Children continuing to have relationships with both parent
  • Children having a more stable environment between homes
  • Improved communication between parents
  • Parents gaining a better understanding around what is best for their children
  • Reduced parental stress and anxiety
  • Court reports
  • Financial savings in relation to court costs

If you would like to learn more about the Parenting Apart Programme and training, please contact Kam Kaur on or  Further information can be obtained at

Click here to view PAP information video ‘If You Really Love Me’.


This case-study was written in 2021

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