High Conflict Custody and Parenting Program (HCCPP)

Program snapshot

Age group: Not age specific

Gender: Mixed (male and female)

Population served: Adult offenders; Families; Victims of crime

Topic: Family (domestic) violence/child maltreatment; Recidivism

Setting: Urban area; Community-based setting; Criminal justice setting

Location: Alberta

Number of completed Canadian outcome evaluation studies: 0

Continuum of intervention: Tertiary crime prevention

Brief Description

The High Conflict Custody Parenting Program (HCCPP) provides short-term counselling for high conflict separating or divorcing parents with a history of domestic violence, and who have ongoing custody and access disputes. Parents receive a court order by a Judge or Justice to participate in the program or may be referred to the program by the Court Case Management Counsel.

The HCCPP comprises two separate interventions. The New Ways for Families model (Intervention 1) provides psycho-educational counselling for parents to strengthen co-parent communication and reduce parenting conflict.  Following counselling, if co-parents do not reach an agreement with regards to their parenting concerns, a judge can order the children into short term counselling and legal representation (Intervention 2).

Goals

The main goals of the High Conflict Custody Parenting Program are to:

  • Reduce re-assault and re-victimization in high conflict custody and access cases involving domestic violence;
  • Enhance co-parenting skills in high conflict custody and access cases;
  • Ensure children’s interests are heard and considered by parents and other decision makers in custody and access cases;
  • Facilitate “best interests” decisions being informed by evidence with respect to children’s interpretation of their own experience, increasing the likelihood that when custody and access decisions are made, children’s physical, psychological and emotional safety is ensured and their risk of further victimization is reduced;
  • Prevent and address the harmful effects of criminal behavior by children in high conflict custody and access cases in which domestic violence is present; and
  • Contribute to system collaboration among justice and social service practitioners working with families in high conflict custody and access cases in which domestic abuse is present.

Clientele

The appropriate clientele for the High Conflict Custody Parenting Program are violence-prone separating or divorcing parents who have ongoing custody and access disputes. Participation is through a court order to the parents or by referral by the Court Case Management Counsel. Most of the families involved have one or two children. Children may be provided counselling and legal representation if differences between parents remain unresolved.

Core Components

The program is based on the New Ways for Families™ (NWFF) model developed by the High Conflict Institute (2009).  The HCCPP is structured as two separate interventions as follows:

  • Intervention 1: Provides psycho-educational counselling for parents to strengthen co-parent communication and reduce parenting conflict; and
  • Intervention 2: A judge can order children into short-term counselling and legal representation if differences between co-parents remain unresolved.

Implementation Information

Some of the critical elements for the implementation of this program or initiative include the following:

  • Organizational requirements: The program is designed as a two-phase intervention with written materials including the program brochure and the standard court order for families and the judges.
  • Partnerships: HCCPP and the Courts; Young Women’s Christian Association (YMCA) and Children’s Legal & Educational Resource Centre (CLERC).
  • Training and technical assistance: Limited information on this topic.
  • Risk assessment tools: Limited information on this topic.
  • Materials & resources: Program brochure and the standard court order for families and the judges.

International Endorsements

The most recognized classification systems of evidence-based crime prevention programs have classified this program or initiative as follows:

  • Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development: Not applicable.
  • Crime Solutions/OJJDP Model Program Guide: Not applicable.
  • SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices: Not applicable.
  • Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy: Not applicable.

Gathering Canadian Knowledge

Canadian Implementation Sites

The High Conflict Custody Parenting Program (HCCPP) was implemented by the Calgary Young Women’s Christian Association (YMCA). From April 2011 to March 2014, the HCCPP received a total of 77 program referrals.  Of the total 77 referrals, 54 referrals were Court of Queen's Bench Orders; 21 referrals were Provincial Court Orders; and 2 were out of court referrals.  Not all referrals became open cases as some parents refused to engage in the program. 63 cases in total were accepted into HCCPP and it is estimated that there have been approximately 126 children impacted by HCCPP.

Funding was provided by the Safe Communities Innovation Fund (SCIF), Government of Alberta.

Main Findings from Canadian Outcome Evaluation Studies

No information available.

Cost Information

A social return on investment (SROI) has been conducted on the High Conflict Custody and Parenting Program. The findings from this study have shown the following:

  • Social value was created through justice costs (i.e. court, police time, and legal costs to both the system and the participant), mental health services, and costs related directly to the children; and
  • The SROI analysis of the program shows that every dollar invested in the program created an average of $2.33 in social value over the first three years of operation.

References

Alberta Community Crime Prevention Organizations. (2015). Social Return on Investment (SROI) Case Study: High Conflict Custody and Parenting Program. Recipient of Safe Communities Innovation Fund, Government of Alberta. Available from: https://open.alberta.ca/publications/safe-communities-innovation-fund-pilot-project-executive-summaries

For more information on this program, contact:

Young Women's Christian Association of Calgary
Heather Morley
Telephone: (403)294-3669
E-mail: hmorley@ywcaofcalgary.com


Record Entry Date - 2018-02-23

Date modified: