EIF Commissioner Guide: Reducing the impact of interparental conflict on children

This Guide is a practical planning tool to support local commissioners and leaders of services for children and families to reduce the impact of conflict between parents on children. This resource builds on our innovative reviews of research conducted by the Early Intervention Foundation in collaboration with Professor Gordon Harold at the University of Sussex, highlighting the latest scientific and intervention evidence on how the interparental relationship affects multiple outcomes for children, including emotional, behavioural, social and academic development.

The Guide is designed to be modular and interactive – while we encourage you to read the whole guide, each section is written to stand alone, to directly address the questions that you want an answer to, whether that is to develop your understanding of the evidence, to find ways to measure the impact of what you are doing, or something else. Each question also has links to further detail, and tools and resources that can help you.

EIF commissioner guide front cover   EIF commissioner guide contents page

You don’t need to be an expert in ‘interparental conflict’ to use this Guide, but it is specifically written for public sector leaders and commissioners with responsibility for family services. It is intended to support them to use the best available research and practice evidence on interparental conflict in their work to get the best outcomes for children.

In the design of this Guide we have taken our What Works reviews and sought to translate these for practical use by commissioners. However, commissioning services on interparental conflict is not simple. While there is strong and consistent scientific evidence that conflict between parents can impact on children’s long-term mental health and life chances, this is a new policy area in the UK. Few services are commissioned locally and evidence on what works to support families is at an early stage.

This Guide is designed to grow and develop. Please let us have your views about the content, and your examples of tools and case studies, which will help others to tackle how conflict between parents affects children. We will publish an updated version in January 2018.