Putting Children First: best practice in support to separated families

3 November 2008

The Centre for Separated Families has published a key recommendations report following their major conference – Putting Children First: best practice in support to separated families – held in London on 16 October 2008.

The document is being discussed at a consultation meeting with key policy makers, practitioners and academics on 20 November 2008.  The meeting will address the main recommendations put forward in the paper to ensure that they properly represent the views of stakeholders.  The paper will then be put forward to government for further consideration and implementation. Download the document here

The Putting Children First conference was welcomed by many as a landmark event that brought together an exceptionally wide range of experience and expertise from across the UK and Europe.

Centre for Separated Families Director, Karen Woodall, told the conference that the way in which we have traditionally supported separated families in this country, framing all the support around one parent to the exclusion of the other, has failed our children. She called for new ways of supporting parents so that they are able to re-negotiate their parenting relationship, preserve family ties and deliver better outcomes for their children.

Stephen Geraghty, the Commissioner for Child Maintenance talked about the need for a cultural change. He described the work of the new Options service and how it will offer impartial information and support to both parents to help them deal with maintenance and wider separation issues.

Cafcass Chief Executive, Anthony Douglas, said that the family justice system is relatively isolated from the rest of children’s services but spoke about new parenting programmes that emphasise the importance of a parent’s role in children’s adjustment to separation and divorce.

And Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith MP told the conference about the work of the Centre for Social Justice and argued that marriage was the most stable environment for children but warned that family separation could not be addressed without looking at wider social issues such as debt.

The conference also hosted nine specialist seminars that examined specific issues around separation and concluded with a panel of experts that discussed questions that had been raised by delegates.

Visit the Putting Children First website

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