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high conflict separation
and divorce

JF&CS offers Groups on separation and divorce that are aimed at preventing an escalation in conflict. Click here


For Community Members:

The Changing Family Program supports families who are going through separation and divorce. This is achieved through counselling services, groups, and workshops, focusing on the following goals, topics and themes:

  • Navigating the beginnings stages of a separation

  • How and when to tell children about an upcoming separation

  • Factors impacting children’s positive adjustment

  • The impact of conflict on children and how to keep them out of the conflict

  • How to communicate with your ex partner with the goal of keeping the conflict low, for the best interests of the children

  • Parenting strategies for higher conflict families

  • Different interactions models for different levels of conflict

  • Understanding the impact that separation and divorce can have on children at various stages of development

  • Learning how to best support your children through their worries/feelings

  • Giving children a voice to best understand their own thoughts, feelings, and/or worries

  • Discovering your own emotional triggers and learning strategies for maintaining your own emotional control

  • Creating self worth and self awareness during the separation process

  • How to navigate your own individual feelings of anger, sadness, loss, and loneliness, as well as coping with change

  • Step parenting, blending your parenting styles, the role of discipline in a blended family, and building and maintaining a strong couple relationship


For Professionals:

Over the past few years, social service agencies in Toronto have seen an increase in the number of high conflict families in need of services and programs.
Many of these services are child welfare in nature and many of these clients partake in other prevention and treatment services within the larger children’s mental health sector. Specifically, families and children are often involved with school social workers, the Office of the Children’s Lawyer, children’s aid societies, physicians, family lawyers, police, therapists and other mental health professionals. 
Often parents within these families present particular challenges to practitioners and are described as being resistant and focused on retributive anger towards the other parent. These families often take up a disproportionate amount of time and tend to dominate the workload of practitioners.
There is much concern by professionals about the efficacy of services and programs being provided and there are a multitude of agencies providing service in an often uncoordinated manner. Children in these families are often caught in the acrimony between the parents and suffer from emotional harm and abuse.
Frequently, children’s aid societies become involved, particularly when children exhibit emotional problems and the level of conflict intensifies. This pattern increases when a parent makes repeated allegations of abuse against the other parent which results in multiple child protection investigations.

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