Keeping Kids in Mind: An integrated post-separation service

Keeping Kids in Mind: An integrated post-separation service

15 July 2014
Keeping Kids in Mind: An integrated post-separation service

Keeping Kids in Mind (KKIM) is a service offering support for separating parents with children of any age.

Keeping Kids in Mind (KKIM) is a service offering support for separating parents with children of any age. The service includes case management, a parenting course, DVD and facilitator training and support. The original idea for KKIM dates to 2005 as a response to the need for a simplified post-separation referral pathway to family relationship services.

The KKIM post separation parenting course was developed in 2008 by a consortium of Catholic Social Services Agencies (CSSA)2 working in the non-government sector, and was launched in 2011 by Her Honour, Diana Bryant, Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia. The course has been rolled out to many locations across Australia, including Sydney Metropolitan, the Illawarra, Central Coast, Newcastle/Hunter, South West NSW, Central West NSW, New England and regional and metropolitan areas of Victoria, South Australia and Queensland.

The course runs over five weeks and looks at themes of grief and loss, attachment, resilience, communication and conflict resolution, and future planning. The course is psycho-educational in nature, utilising therapeutic moments with skilled facilitators to elicit change. Metaphors are used throughout the program to provide a shared language that allows complex issues to be discussed and understood.

The aim of the program is not necessarily to lower conflict, but to increase parental reflective functioning – giving parents the capacity to make changes to their own behaviour which positively influences their children.

KKIM was evaluated by the Family Action Centre at the University of Newcastle in 2009. A follow-up evaluation was conducted by Macquarie University in 2013, and will be published in due course. The evaluation by the Family Action Centre incorporated Mark Friedman’s Results-Based Accountability framework3 and essentially asked four questions:

  • How much did we do?
  • How well did we do it?
  • How much change did we produce?
  • What quality of change did we produce?

Parents who had participated in a course from 0–18 months prior to the evaluation completed surveys, and a randomised sample participated in telephone interviews. Two staff focus groups were also held.

A snapshot of the results demonstrated that:

  • 100% of parents had a better understanding of how conflict impacted upon their children;
  • 95% were focussing more on their children’s needs;
  • 80% said they were better at communicating with the other parent;
  • 75% said they were better at dealing with conflict with the other parent; and
  • 91% said they had a better understanding of their own behaviour around how they dealt with conflict.

Overall, the evaluation demonstrated that KKIM has a positive impact and increases parental reflective functioning. Specifically, the evaluation found that:

  • the parent participants in the study reported that the processes and content within the program contributed to increases in both their self-efficacy and parental efficacy;
  • the program has strong theoretical foundations and is based on best-practice principles derived from the research literature; and
  • the positive responses from parent participants indicate that the program is able to successfully translate theoretical constructs regarding child welfare in the post-separation period into practical personal and parental strategies, which must ultimately positively impact on the lives of children (Clay et al., 2009).

For general enquiries about the Keeping Kids in Mind service, contact Kate Dover or see the website

For information about the KKIM course or Facilitator Training contact


Clay, V., Crofts, P., Stuart, G., and Gray, D. (2009). Evaluation of the Keeping Kids in Mind Group-work Program. Family Action Centre, University of Newcastle.

The feature image is by Gep Pascual, CC BY-ND 2.0.

2. These agencies include: CatholicCare Sydney, CatholicCare Parramatta, CatholicCare Wollongong and CatholicCare Broken Bay.

3. For more information see:

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Angharad Candlin

Angharad Candlin is a psychologist and the Coordinator of the Parent Education Program at CatholicCare Sydney.

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