New Ways for Families ® programming for Island families

Beginning in Spring 2021, Island families experiencing high-conflict separation or divorce can be referred into New Ways for Families® training through the Family Law Centre. This training will empower parents with skills and strategies to manage high-conflict situations.

To take this training, families have to be referred by the Court, Family Court Counsellors’ Office or the Office of the Children’s Lawyer.

What is New Ways for Families®

New Ways for Families® is a structured parenting skills method for separation, divorce and co-parenting. New Ways empowers parents with skills and strategies to manage high-conflict situations. The New Ways method recognizes that high-conflict divorce and separation is costly for parents, time and resource-consuming for the courts, frustrating for families, and hard on children.

What New Ways for Families® training is being offered to Island families?

New Ways for Families® will be delivered to Island families in two ways:

  1. In-person – The program is delivered in person through Family Service PEI.  This training will be available to families who receive referrals through the Office of the Children’s Lawyer.
  2. Online – This self-paced training developed by the New Ways program consists of parents individually completing the 12-hour Parenting Without Conflict class, followed by each parent and their child(ren) taking the 4-hour parent/child class and is available to families who receive referrals from the Court or the Family Court Counsellors' Office.

Who is this training for?

This training is for Island families experiencing high levels of conflict in their separation or divorce. As this is a specialized program that focuses on dealing with conflict, only families referred to the program by the Court, Family Court Counsellors’ Office, or the Office of the Children’s Lawyer can participate.

I am a parent and want to take this training. Can I sign up?

New Ways for Families® is a program designed to assist families that are experiencing high levels of conflict in family law matters. Because of that, this training is for families referred by the Court, Family Court Counsellors’ Office, or the Office of the Children’s Lawyer. If your family law matter is before the court, or you are receiving services from the Office of the Children’s Lawyer or Family Court Counsellors’ Office, you can inquire about whether this training may be beneficial to your family.

I am a parent who experiences a lot of conflict in my family law matter. What will I learn when I take this training?

New Ways for Families® training focuses heavily on the 4 Big Skills most needed by potentially high-conflict or already high-conflict parents. The 4 Big Skills that parents who take this training will learn are:

  1. flexible thinking - making realistic proposals, acknowledging that there is more than one solution, acknowledging that people are not “all-bad” or “all-good”, avoiding “all-or-nothing” thinking

  2. managed emotions - controlling one’s anger, sadness, fear, and anxiety so as to not overreact and take things personally; so as to not pass on these feelings to the child

  3. moderate behaviors - avoiding extreme actions, including extreme behavior during custody exchanges, extreme parenting order requests, and violence; techniques for moderate behavior during communication

  4. self reflection
     

Parents can apply these new skills to:

  • help them make big decisions;
  • reduce and/or avoid conflict;
  • avoid and/or reduce alienation;
  • reduce refusal and resistance;
  • reduce violence; and
  • reduce harm to the children
     

Should both parents always be referred to one of these classes? Or is it some times appropriate for just one parent to take the class?

It is usually recommended that both parents complete the same class (individually), so that both parents are using the same skills for co-parenting.

However, there may be circumstances where it is recommended that only one of the parents take a class.  There could be many reasons for this, and this does not necessarily mean that one parent is more or less "high conflict" than the other parent.

Are there other free learning opportunities for separated or divorced families on PEI?

Yes! Positive Parenting from Two Homes is a free program provided by the Family Law Centre that provides information to parents who are separating, divorcing, or parenting from two homes.

Positive Parenting from Two Homes is appropriate for all parents who are separated or divorced, whether or not their situation is high-conflict. Any separated or divorced parent can register for this program – you don’t need a referral to do so. To learn more about Positive Parenting from Two Homes or to register, visit the website or call 902-368-4333 or toll-free at 1-877-203-8828.

If there a cost for families to take this training?

No, there is no cost to families who are referred into the program. However, if you are not eligible for the program offered through the Family Law Centre, New Ways for Families® is available privately – please contact Family Service PEI for more information.

I have a referral for the online program. How do I access it?

Families with referrals into the online program will receive a unique access code to allow them to sign up for the online program. The course is offered online at onlineparentingprograms.com. The unique access code will act like a coupon in the shopping cart on the website and allow you to access the program for free. If you have received a referral, please contact the Family Court Counsellors' Office at 902-368-6928 to receive your access code.

I am a professional who works with high-conflict separated families on PEI. Are there new educational opportunities available for me?

Yes! The following online High Conflict Institute training courses are being made available to professionals on PEI:

In addition, there will be upcoming educational opportunities available for professionals on PEI, such as therapists, lawyers, and mediators, who work with high-conflict separated or divorced families provided by Bill Eddy, the Chief Innovation Officer of the High Conflict Institute. More information about these upcoming opportunities will be made available directly through relevant professional bodies on PEI.

Who can I contact for more information?

Family Law Centre (Charlottetown)
Family Law Court Services Division
Phone: 902-368-6928
Email: fcco@gov.pe.ca

Published date: 
March 23, 2021