Keeping Kids in Mind (KKIM)

About This Program

Target Population: Parents of children birth-18 years of age who are engaged in chronic medium to high conflict postseparation

For parents/caregivers of children ages: 0 – 18

Program Overview

The Keeping Kids in Mind (KKIM) group-work parenting program is designed to assist parents to see through their children’s eyes the experience and impact of being trapped in medium- to high-level chronic parental conflict and to develop greater awareness and understanding about how to support children following family separation. KKIM is a two-and-a-half-hour weekly psychoeducational group that focuses on the development of parental reflective functioning; that is, developing the parents’ awareness about the impact of their behaviour upon their children and developing their ability to think and consider their children’s wellbeing in their actions and communications with their child’s other parent. The group meets for a duration of five weeks and is designed for up to 15 participants.

Program Goals

The goals of Keeping Kids in Mind (KKIM) are:

  • Explore how the pain of loss and grief during family separation impacts each family member differently
  • Identify emotional triggers and how personal reactions can adversely impact themselves, their children, and their postseparation parenting relationship
  • Understand how parental conflict disrupts children’s normal development and identify the range of ways in which children respond to loss due to family separation
  • Practice how to interpret children’s needs in times of separation conflict
  • Identify ways to repair parent-child relationships
  • Develop parental reflective functioning
  • Identify and learn how children behave and respond differently to separation and parental conflict
  • Understand how the success of the parental alliance depends on the participant’s willingness to re-examine their personal communication style
  • Identify different ways to resolve conflict and discuss how each style impacts on children
  • Prioritize the wellbeing of children during the organization of care arrangements

Essential Components

The essential components of Keeping Kids in Mind (KKIM) include:

  • This course uses a mix of didactic teaching, group discussion, videos, and metaphor to engage the participants.
  • Metaphor is the key therapeutic tool which enables participants to share very difficult information within a context that keeps everyone focused on their emotional experience rather than a cognitive experience.
  • The focus of the facilitation of KKIM is to keep bringing parents back to the experience of their children and their experience of the separation rather than engaging in a dialogue about the issues relating to parents postseparation.
  • Facilitators work to build a trusting relationship with the participants, which then allows them the opportunity to test new ideas or challenge participants within a safe environment.
  • KKIM brings together psychoeducational concepts around parenting, conflict, and postseparation with a therapeutic experience. Bringing these two elements together is designed to allow participants to explore new values, beliefs, and information; and to ultimately change their behavior.
  • Parents are taught Emotion Coaching (https://emotioncoaching.gottman.com/) as a key tool to gain a better understanding of their children’s experience of the separation and on-going conflict and to respond more appropriately to their children.
  • Participants are invited to understand the severe impact of chronic conflict on children and, without judgement from the facilitators, take responsibility for their part of the conflict. They are provided with ways to not only change their behavior but to gain support during the process.
  • Participants are also invited to understand that shared care is not necessarily the best option for their children but to work on a way to find a parenting plan that is child-focused and not based on parental rights.
  • Given the therapeutic nature of the group, the group size is kept to between 5 and 15 participants.
  • It is recommended that groups contain both men and women rather than be single gender groups. Members of the group learn from each other and being in the group with members of the opposite gender can provide insights that would not have otherwise been discovered. Same gender groups on the other hand can create an environment where the group forms one voice about the other gender.
  • Pregroup assessments screen for domestic violence. Former couples are never put in the same group and safety is the paramount consideration. Nevertheless, perpetrators and victims (not connected to each other) can participate in groups together, although this should not be known to the participants. This can be empowering for victims of domestic violence to have a voice while being supported by the group and facilitators.
  • The complexities of postseparation conflict mean that it is essential that two trained and licensed facilitators co-facilitate the group.
  • KKIM is offered to parents from different language backgrounds with the assistance of an interpret

Program Delivery

Parent/Caregiver Services

Keeping Kids in Mind (KKIM) directly provides services to parents/caregivers and addresses the following:

  • Parent who are engaging in destructive behaviors postseparation such as chronic conflict, refusal to keep to the Court Orders, minimizing impact of separation on the child, refusal to allow the children to have contact with the other parent

Recommended Intensity:

One 2.5-hour group session weekly over five weeks

Recommended Duration:

Five weeks. For facilitators working with parents in rural and remote areas, the developers will work with them to problem solve a way to best meet the needs of their individual clients whilst staying true to the course material and delivery.

Delivery Setting

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Community Agency

Homework

Keeping Kids in Mind (KKIM) includes a homework component:

Homework is assigned every week related to the material discussed in each session. For example, after session one, participants spend time working on their own and their children’s triggers of loss. For some participants, individual homework may be difficult to complete, however, the homework relating to the destructive behaviors parents engage in which impacts on the children is compulsory. Participants have a Participant Workbook which outlines key information and a space for homework and other learnings to be recorded.

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

Two trained facilitators, group room, laptop, projector, speakers, whiteboard, and butchers paper

Education and Training

Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications

Facilitators would usually have tertiary qualifications (i.e., Bachelor’s Degree) in social science or related area, at least two years experience working with groups or other community settings as counsellors and mediators

Education and Training Resources

There is a manual that describes how to implement this program , and there is training available for this program.

Training Contact:
Training is obtained:

Training is provided either onsite at CatholicCare Sydney’s training venue or in-house hosted by other agencies. Minimum of 10 and maximum of 20 trainees per training session.

Number of days/hours:

2 full days

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

Currently, there are no published, peer-reviewed research studies for Keeping Kids in Mind (KKIM).

Additional References

Candlin, A. (2014, July 14). Keeping Kids in Mind: An integrated post-separation service. Retrieved from https://aifs.gov.au/cfca/2014/07/15/keeping-kids-mind-integrated-post-separation-service

Clay, V., Crofts, P., Stuart, G., & Gray, D. (2009). Evaluation of the Keeping Kids in Mind: Group-work program. Retrieved from http://www.keepingkidsinmind.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/KKIM-Final-Evaluation-Report.pdf

Stevens, L. (2013). Do multi-session group education interventions for separated parents improve adjustment outcomes for their children? [Unpublished master’s dissertation]. Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia.

Contact Information

Angharad Candlin, BSc (Hons), Grad Dip M., MA Registered Psychologist
Agency/Affiliation: CatholicCare Sydney
Website: www.catholiccare.org/family-and-Individual-services/parenting-and-support/parent-education-groups
Email:
Phone: (029) 509-1111

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: April 2018

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: May 2018

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: June 2018