Reducing Parental Conflict programme
There is strong evidence that conflict between parents – whether together or separated – can have a significant negative impact on children’s mental health and long-term life chances. Not all conflict is damaging, but where this is frequent, intense and poorly resolved it can harm children’s outcomes.
The Reducing Parental Conflict (RPC) programme is aimed at conflict below the threshold of domestic abuse. Find out more about the difference between parental conflict and domestic abuse.
The parental conflict indicator shows 12% of children in couple-parent families were living with at least one parent reporting relationship distress. The data also shows that parental conflict is twice as likely in workless couple-parent families compared to where both parents are working.
From 2015 to 2017, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) piloted the provision of expertise and evidence across 12 Local Authorities (LAs) in England to develop innovative strategies to promote relationship quality. This was the Local Family Offer trial.
The trial informed the development of the RPC programme, announced in April 2017 as part of Improving Lives: Helping Workless Families.
The RPC programme aims to promote improved outcomes for children, with a focus on disadvantaged families. Its objectives are to:
- develop the evidence base on what works to reduce parental conflict, to inform future commissioning practice
- help local areas integrate support to reduce parental conflict in local services for families
The programme funded LAs to undertake Strategic Leadership Support (SLS) activities and practitioner training, which resulted in the creation of resources. It has aimed to improve understanding that not all conflict is damaging, but where this is frequent, intense and poorly resolved it can harm children’s outcomes, and can be addressed as part of working with families. The next phase of the RPC programme has up to £11 million funding allocated to it, and will run from April 2021 to March 2022.
Who is this collection for?
This collection is for leaders, practitioners and other professionals working with parents experiencing conflict. The content has been created in collaboration with experts and staff in LAs. The resources are based on the strong body of evidence that conflict between parents – whether together or separated – can have a significant negative impact on children’s mental health and long-term life chances.
The practitioner training materials help LAs embed parental conflict support in their services for families, and build understanding and confidence in their workforce.
The content on these pages may reference external links to third-party websites, which go beyond DWP partners such as the Early Intervention Foundation What Works Centre. The links are not exhaustive and are included as examples of learning and resources available. DWP is not recommending a particular product or endorsing a third party, and is not responsible for the external content.