Parent Information Program (PIP)
Parent Information is a program that you will complete when an application has been or may be made to the court that involves a child or children. This program is mandatory when an application is filed in the Supreme Court Family Division (Civil Procedure Rule 59.17) or Family Court (Family Court Rule 6.25). You can also attend PIP voluntarily. PIP provides information to parents who are experiencing separation or divorce, or who are parenting apart.
PIP is not about teaching you to ‘be a parent.’ The focus of PIP is to make parents aware of how easily children get caught in the middle of conflict, and how to keep this from happening. The Program also covers information on topics like effective communication, dispute resolution, types of custody and access, and ages & stages of child development. The program uses the term ‘parent’ to describe anyone providing parenting to a child – this can include grandparents, other relatives, or family friends who are involved in the court application or in raising the child.
You can attend PIP in-person or online (see below). To attend in-person, you must contact your local court to get registered.
Links to modules
Parent Information Program (PIP) Online
This module is the online version of the in-person Parent Information Program sessions offered at family law courts. This module contains the same information as the in-person sessions.
This module contains information in writing and audio. You can find all of the written notes from the module in the ‘resources’ tab, located in the upper right corner of the module. You can find other resources in this tab as well.
You will find the links to the module at the end of this section. The module is available in English and French.
The module takes about 1 hour to complete.You do not have to complete it all at one time. If you close the module and open it back up on the same computer, the module should have saved your place. Otherwise, you can use the index on the left side to find your place.
At the end of the module, you must fill in your contact information if you want the court to know that you have completed this module.
You can also fill out the confirmation if you think you may start the court process, but are not sure yet. The court will keep this record in case you start an application involving children within the next 12 months.
For those who have a court application involving children, you must complete the confirmation form. The court will have no other way of knowing that you have done the module. If the court does not receive your confirmation, you may have to do the module again, or attend an in-person session. There may be consequences if you do not complete the Parent Information Program when you are required to do so.
The Parent Information Program (PIP) assists parties involved in a court proceeding involving a child or children to support their children during the process and to identify and practice ways to keep children from getting caught in the middle of the conflict. Anyone involved with a court proceeding involving a child will be required to complete a PIP session, either in person or online, or both. This includes grandparents making an application in regards to their grandchildren.
If you wish to attend PIP in person, you must contact the court to get registered for a session. You can attend PIP in English or French. The other party will be signed up for a different session if they choose to attend in person – you will not attend together. You cannot bring your children to PIP with you. PIP is offered throughout Nova Scotia at the Family Courts and Supreme Court (Family Divisions).
PIP is a mandatory program for most applications involving children, particularly where parenting arrangements (custody and access) are being addressed. This is a requirement under the court’s rules.
The main goals of the Parent Information Program are:
- To increase parents’ awareness of the impact of parental conflict on children
- To improve communication between parents about their children’s needs
- To provide new ways to avoid placing children in the middle of issues between their parents.
If you choose to attend an in-person PIP session, you will receive general information from trained volunteer facilitators about options for resolving disputes, the effects of parental conflict on children, and learn techniques for dealing with conflict without placing the children in the middle. The Parent Information Program is not about teaching you to be a parent, but to provide you with information that can help you and the child. You will not have to share personal information about your situation during your PIP session.
In-person sessions are usually 3 hours long, and each session is led by volunteer facilitators. The PIP facilitators use a script to deliver each session, to make sure that everyone attending PIP in Nova Scotia is receiving the same information.
You can review the Parent Information Program Participants Package for session handouts and worksheets!
Vous pouvez consulter la trousse du participant au Programme d'information pour les parents pour obtenir les documents d'information et de travail.
There are also videos used in the PIP sessions to show different ways that children can get caught in the middle of their parents’ disputes.
The videos were developed by the Association des juristes d’expression française de la Nouvelle-Écosse (AJEFNE) in conjunction with the Nova Scotia Department of Justice, to improve the accessibility of the Parent Information Program by making program content available in both English and French.
The videos do not stand alone, but are meant as a tool to help program facilitators introduce new ideas and to stimulate and focus discussion among the participants. The videos cannot possibly address all of the difficult situations that parents and children face, but they give some examples of behaviors that should be avoided, and better ways of dealing with tricky situations.
The videos focus on emotions, actions, words, and impacts. Each video has three parts (the ‘bad’ way, the adult perspective, and the ‘better way’). The people in these videos are Nova Scotians who are not professional actors, but who agreed to appear in the videos for the benefit of the program.
Notice how easily the children in the videos are placed in the middle of their parents’ issues. Some other things to think about while watching the videos:
- notice what people are saying and why
- consider how people may be feeling
- try not to focus on who is right or wrong, but how the children are feeling
- look at how the children respond to their parents
- notice the emotions the parents and children are experiencing
- think about the adult child’s retrospective, demonstrating the long-lasting effect of parental conflict