Relationships with children during COVID-19
During this time of COVID-19, isolation and physical distancing, there are lots of challenges that many of us will be working through. For women whose children are not in their care one of those challenges is maintaining relationships with their children through contact arrangements which are inevitably changing.
It is great to see the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory and the University of East Anglia lead on a rapid research project into this very issue. You can find out more about the project here: https://www.nuffieldfjo.org.uk/news/rapid-evidence-digital-contact
Through talking to each other and Pause Practitioners across the UK Pause has inputted into this research with these reflections and thoughts:
- Local areas care working to create new processes for contact arrangements and support them in different ways (for example on the phone or via a video call).
- There’s some good examples of communications for birth parents, children and families on how contact is changing to help them understand what is changing.
- Pause Practitioners are supporting women to engage with new ways of having contact.
- We know that some women have been told that their contact will stop with no alternatives being put in place. This is not OK. Pause Practitioners are there to advocate for women to try and continue contact in a way that is safe.
- We know that some women Pause supports do not have smartphones, computers or Wi-Fi so will find it difficult to engage with digital contact arrangements. Their needs must be considered.
We look forward to the guidance that the research project will produce. Their online survey for professionals and birth parents is open until Wednesday this week so do take part if you haven’t already! Take part in the survey here.
Clare Laxton is Director of Communications & Influencing at Pause
The Nuffield Family Justice Observatory seeks to improve the lives of children and families by putting data and evidence at the heart of the family justice system. Find out more here.
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