Kids in the Middle: The National Debate on Support for Separating Families
Britain is falling further and further behind other developed countries – Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the US – in developing and providing creative support services for separating and separated families.
For some reason (which we don’t fully understand) no government anywhere in the UK has been willing to tackle this important issue in a serious and systematic manner, even though almost one in three children will see their parents separate before age 16 and the impact on them, when separations are badly handled, can be devastating.
Government reluctance to move on this issue is particularly shocking, given that exciting projects in other countries (and one or two in our own) are demonstrating how much can be achieved – often with quite modest resources.
To turn a spotlight on this issue, a new alliance of family and parenting charities (Relate, One Parent Families/Gingerbread, Families Need Fathers and ourselves), together with leading media agony aunts and uncles are leading a national debate on support for separating families called "Kids in the Middle”.
- Kick-starting the campaign today are the findings of an ICM poll which has identified key concerns for the public in children’s experiences of their parents’ separation
- Over the coming months, Deidre Sanders – “Dear Deidre” of The Sun newspaper – and many of the nation’s most famous agony aunts and uncles are joining together to lead the debate in the media and ask their readers’ views
- Over the coming months Kids in the Middle will take evidence and testimonies from parents, young people affected by separation, families, professionals and politicians:- for example, through the Kids in the Middle online survey and debate via www.dad.info; www.relate.org.uk; www.fnf.org.uk; www.oneparentfamilies.org.uk
- In the autumn, the findings and recommendations will be presented to Government.
What can practitioners do?
- Encourage children and families you know to take part in the Kids in the Middle online survey
- Participate yourself: read the Dad Info articles on SEPARATION and add your comments
- Encourage your local media to run the debate – find out how by contacting Melissa Milner
- Buy and read Putting Children First which is, quite simply, the best book we have ever read on separation – and which should inform all your dealings with separating families
- If you, or someone you know, has handled separation and/or post-separation arrangements for children particularly well, tell us about it
- If you are aware of services working particularly effectively with children and their fathers and mothers during/after separation tell us about it.