I am delighted to hear from the shores of Jersey, the news that the Jersey Centre for Separated Families incorporating Milli’s, a whole family child contact centre, has been highly commended for making an outstanding impact, in the Lloyds Bank Charity Achievement Awards 2015.
Those who read regularly will remember that the Jersey Centre is connected to the Family Separation Hub and the National Network for Separated Family Centres, which we run as part of our community service committment. You will also remember that working with the women at Milli’s in 2013, was the catalyst for us leaving our work with government to return to working directly with families. A decision I have never once regretted because as I wrote then and know now, the future, in supporting separated families, lies in our hands.
The Jersey Centre for Separated Families was profiled as a case study in the Centre for Social Justice ReportFully Committed, which covered all aspects of how a government could reverse the impact of family separation on generations to come. This understanding, that working with whole family approaches to supporting separated families, inclusive and in recognition of the different barriers facing mothers and fathers, is key to interrrupting the cycle of breakdown, is still a radical one it seems. The Jersey Centre for Separated Families faces a lot of opposition to what is doing from the state run services such as JFCAS which is the Jersey version of CAFCASS. Perhaps this opposition is simply because the single parent model of support is still so firmly entrenched in state run services (as it is in so many family services in the UK), perhaps it is because the Jersey Centre for Separated Families provides the warmth and the holistic support which is too often missing when the state intervenes in family life. Whatever it is, it doesn’t stop the work of the Jersey Centre for Separated Families making an outstanding impact in the community and we are incredibly proud of the recognition of that impact that this award brings.
The Jersey Centre for Separated Families offers the same kind of wrap around care for the separating families as that which is provided through our services on the mainland. It offers a place for mothers and fathers to obtain the help and assistance that they need and it creates opportunities for parents to work together for the best interests of their children instead of taking up opposite camps in a war about winning control over them. This is proven to be the better outcome for children living in separated family situations and offers children a much better model of parenting than the single parent model in which one parent is burdened with care and control and the other is simply charged with financing this.
There is much more work to be done in developing services at the Jersey Centre and all of this will be undertaken with the same determination and vision that has brought the organisation to this point. We are proud to be supporting Denise Carrol and her team on Jersey and incredibly proud that a community service which is outside of state control and funding, can demonstrate how choosing to work like this can make such an outstanding impact in the lives of separated families.
Congratulations to Denise and everyone involved in the Jersey Centre for Separated Families, from magical Milli’s to this success, it is all about the human relationships that make the difference in people’s lives.