Supporting families to stay connected and help create positive memories for children through sustainable contact with non-resident parents.

WHAT IS THE PROJECT ABOUT?

OUR AIM IS TO PRIORITISE THE NEEDS OF CHILDREN BY SUPPORTING FAMILIES TO STAY CONNECTED AND HELP CREATE POSITIVE MEMORIES FOR CHILDREN & YOUNG PEOPLE. 

WHY IS THE PROJECT NEEDED?

WELL ..., 

Did you know over 350, 000 couples separate in the UK year?

Did you know approximately 200,000 children each year experience separation of their parents?

At least one in three children will experience parental separation before the age of 16 according to

(Joseph Rowntree foundation, Together and Apart). 

Over 100,000 children lose contact with a family member yearly (NACCC).

 

EVEN WORSE ...

Children from separated parents are more likely to exhibit long term psychological Maladjustment;  more than double the incidence in the general population (Lamb, 2007), especially where parental separation is fuelled with tension and hostility. Short term, children are likely to experience emotional / behavioural issues.

A loss of contact with  a parent or significant family members is far more damaging. Longer term, children have a significantly higher probability of lower academic performance, more likely to manifest depressive symptoms, truancy, leave school or home prematurely and more at risk of drugs, crime as well as becoming teenage parents.

 

HOW THE PROJECT HELPS ?

 Voice of the Child is a Nationally Accredited Child Contact & Family Support Charity providing Supervised and Supported Contact services. We provide a neutral, safe and supported family environment where children from separated families are supported to;

  • Enjoy safe, supported and consistent interaction with non-resident parents or significant family members

  • Develop sustainable attachment relationships with non-resident parent or significant family members

  • Parents are supported to understand/effectively manage the implications of separation and loss for their child/ren.

  • Child/ren are supported to develop positive attachment relationships with non-resident family & to experience reduced anxiety and stress caused by parent's separation.

HOW WE KNOW THE PROJECT HELPS 

  • The project enables families to move from non-existent or dysfunctional contact patterns to a more sustainable, effective and high quality contact without the intervention of any outside agency. Generally families progress from having supervised contact sessions (strict supervision / reports to courts), to supported contacts ( support without monitoring) , to handovers  (parent more empowered / unsepervised) and subsequently having full control of contact in own home or preferred personal setting without support from outside agencies.

 

  • We have an ongoing track record of enabling separated families to navigate a path that leads to being able to retain or develop positive and consistent attachment relationships and effective contact plans, independent of external support for the long-term psychological wellbeing of children and young people. 65% of SUPERVISED CONTACTS progress to less formal or less intense supported contact arrangements within a year. 80% OF SUPPORTED CONTACTS result in families reaching agreements that enable them to sustain positive relationships and meet frequently in ‘normal family circumstances’ within a year without external intervention.

 

 

 

THE OUTCOMES WE SEEK TO ACHIEVE:

FOR CHILDREN:

  • Improved and sustainable attachment relationship between child/ren and non-resident parent

  • Retain sustainable contact with significant / extended family members e.g. Grandparents, Siblings, cousins, aunts & uncles.

  • Improved sense of belonging; Positive sense of self, identity and self-esteem.

  • Reduced psychological and emotional symptoms associated to loss and separation; such as anxiety, fear, depression, friendship or relationship difficulties.

  • Improved wellbeing

FOR PARENTS:

  • Improved communication and long-term contact agreements between parents.

  • Improved and sustainable attachment relationship between parent and child/ren

  • Non-resident parents develop the skills and confidence to interact with their child/ren and to meet the needs of their child/ren independent of support from external agencies.

  • Parents feel more empowered to take control and prioritise the needs of their child/ren and enjoy positive family relationships without intervention from external agencies.

FOR FAMILIES:

  • Families stay connected

  • Children enjoy positive family memories

  • Improved family wellbeing

FOR COMMUNITY / SOCIETY

  • A cohesive community

  • A fairer and safer society

                       

HISTORY

Child Contact Centre originally opened by Slough MP Fiona McTaggart.

Voice of the child became a registered charity in April 2010. With a small team of family workers, trainee social workers, inndependent expert professionals and volunteers , we work in partnership with families, the courts, Local authorities, solicitors and other relavant professionals ; under the management of the founder and a board of trustees.

 

OUR KEY PARTNERS & SUPPORTERS  

 

OUR KEY REFERRERS

We receive referrals from individual families and over 70 Solicitor firms, family courts, Local authorities and health and social care organisations across Buckinghamshire and the South East of England and beyond. For example ; Reading County Court, Slough County Court, Uxbridge County Court, High Wycombe County Court etc ; West Berks Council, Slough Council etc.

WHAT DO WE NEED?

We need your support to raise £70,000 to help keep

Voice of the Child  - Child Contact Centre running in 2016.

  

WHY DO WE NEED TO RAISE UPTO £70,000?

It cost approximately £150k a year to run our Child Contact Project to provide the services required for a limited number of separated or separating families. We have managed to secure some to the financial support we need. In previous years, the cost has been heavily subsidised by University Partnerships through Trainee Social Workers opportunities at Voice of the Child, local authority partnerships, fund raising income through room hire services, small trusts grants and voluntary contributions.

However, the ripple effect of government cuts means; we are not in receipt of any government or Local authority financial support; a review of University policies resulting in a significant reduction in the availability of trainee Social Workers; intense competition and scarcity of grants.

Children from separated families do not often meet the threshold criteria for statutory support provided by local authorities. By implication, these children are at risk of not having their emotional and psychological needs met.

Because ‘The Needs of Children are at the heart of all our work’, we provide preventative and early intervention services to help children and families stay connected and build positive family memories through our Child Contact Project. Over 180 children are likely to be at risk of not having their emotional and psychological needs met, if Voice of the Child- Child Contact Centre is unable to provide the services.

WHAT WE HAVE RASIED SO FAR

So far, thanks to Centric Community Projects, we have been able to secure a donation value worth £40,000 towards the cost of our new Child Contact Centre facility in Reading.

In September 2015, we were nominated CHARITY OF THE YEAR by the University of Reading RAG. We anticipate raising approximately £10k through their support.

 

We have also secured a small grant of £5000 through CAFCASS -(Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service).

We are working proactively hard towards fundraising opportunities to raise an extra £25k throughout 2016. This includes promoting our room hire campaign for professional meetings or family assessments,  subsidised family contributions,community events and bucket collection.

 

HOW CAN YOU HELP

1. Make a pledge  

We need to reach our funding goal before the time  is up. So if you'd like to see this course change lives in a community you care about, please pledge to make it happen - every pledge will count.

2. Shout out 

Tell a friend  / share our link.

 

WHERE YOUR MONEY WILL GO

We need your support to help raise £70,000

BECAUSE WITH YOUR SUPPORT , Voice of the Child -Child Contact Centre will keep running in 2016;

AND ...

TOGETHER WE WILL HELP UPTO 180 CHILDREN STAY CONNECTED WITH THEIR FAMILIES, ENJOY POSITIVE MEMORIES AND WELLBEING IN 2016.

 

WHY CROWDFUND IT ?

We're serious about reaching out and supporting separated children and families to stay connected and help build positive family memories for their long-term psychological wellbeing; and to help build a cohesive and safer society.  

There is a huge financial investment required to run a sustainable and accessible Child Contact Project that meets the complex needs of individual separated children and families. Unfortunately,  this service does not meet the threshold criteria for statutory support form local authorities, consequently no funding is available to support.

Furthermore, the recent economic downturn has had a knockoff effect on the ability to secure other sources of funding or grants due to intense comeptition and scarcity of funds. Seeking a private investment is also more challenging and would make the service unavailable /inaccessible or unaffordable to many of the children and families that need it most.

Instead we have chosen to to use the synergistic benefits of our community  / society by campaigning for potential supporters,  friends and family to help us raise funds through the crowd so that we can make our service more accessible to those who need it the most.  The generosity of the crowd to help us work towards sustainability and increased accessibility for low income families will help more children to stay connected with their family and enjoy positive wellbeing.