The Children First program provides separating and divorcing parents with the opportunity to learn how their changing family dynamics affect their children. The program educates parents on how to minimize the negative effects that divorce may have on children.

The Children First program was developed in 1985 in the United States through the St Clair County Mental Health Board, with direction from the Family Division Judges of Illinois’ Twentieth Judicial Circuit. It was developed in response to an alarming increase in post-decree court appearances in custody divorce cases, which prompted a devastating conclusion: children are the silent victims of drawn-out custody battles.


This video program highlights the most frequent areas of conflict that occur during divorce and re-litigation: visitation, child support and custody arrangements.

We emphasize the sources of parental conflict that often become a part of the divorce process and affect children the most. Topics that are covered include: badmouthing the other parent, using children to get information on the other parent, fighting in front of children, and competing for loyalty.

Particular focus is also placed on educating parents about coping styles, instruction on managing the stress of divorce, communicating with children, conflict resolution, and developing listening skills. Finally, the parents are introduced to a section on moving forward after divorce. This area addresses preparing for quality visits, introducing new partners, blended families and parenting plans.

The Children First curriculum is not meant as counselling but is intended to serve as education.


As the Canadian distributor of Children First, The Phoenix Centre will provide you with the materials to run this program in your workplace or community. The Curriculum Binder Kit includes the 2 DVDs (Session I and II), a program manual, handouts and evaluation originals.

For more information on Children First, training options and the cost to purchase the program please contact The Phoenix Centre at 1-800-465-1870 or email us.