Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

‘Mums and Dads Forever’ : A Cooperative Parenting Initiative

By Janice Dickinson and Paul Murphy - posted Friday, 15 September 2000

The Australian Family Law Reform Act 1995 enshrines the vision of continuing parental responsibility and involvement in post-divorce families. However, for many separated couples, the concept of cooperative, let alone joint, parenting is not only overwhelming but is often rejected outright as an impossible suggestion.

An innovative cooperative parenting education and support initiative being piloted by Anglicare in Perth in Western Australia is one of three pilot programmes being conducted in Australia under the Federal Attorney General’s Department Contact Orders Pilot initiative.

The aim of the pilots is to reduce the number of parents (usually non-resident) using Family Court processes to resolve breaches of ‘Contact Orders’. Although this litigious group represents only a small percentage of the cases before the Family Court, they consume disproportionate amounts of Court time and resources, often without any durable long-term resolution. The resulting instability often has deleterious effects on the children of the relationship.


This project was conceived as a way of:

- supporting separated parents by teaching them communication and relationship-management skills,

- facilitating and encouraging a cooperative post-separation parenting relationship with a former partner, and

- reducing the reliance on the Family Court (of Western Australia) to resolve disputes concerning Contact Orders.


In the context of the Anglicare programme, the term ‘cooperative parenting’ is used rather than ‘co-parenting’ – this latter term can be interpreted as either ‘joint parenting’ or ‘parenting with a degree of agreement’. We are seeking to encourage the parents to work together in a cooperative manner in the best interests of their children. By encouraging parents to seek their own resolution to parenting issues, this programme is also seeking vicarious long-term stable outcomes for their children.


The Anglicare Programme

The programme was conceptualised as a series of progressively interconnected units, with participants moving through them at differing rates depending on their post-separation adjustment. The five components of the programme are:

- a three-hour general-information forum,

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 5
  7. All

This is an edited extract of a paper first produced at the 7th Annual Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Sydney, July 2000.

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Authors

Janice Dickinson is Co-ordinator of Contact Services at Anglicare WA. She is a Counselling Psychologist, and runs the Mums & Dads Forever Program.

Dr Paul Murphy is a Lecturer at the Social Work Department of the University of Western Australia and is involved in many projects including Mums & Dads Forever.

Other articles by these Authors

All articles by Janice Dickinson
All articles by Paul Murphy
Related Links
University of WA
West Australian Family and Children's Services
Article Tools
Comment Comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy