Helping a Kurdish delegation understand our work

Andrea Walters, A5 Service Manager, shares her reflections on a visit from a Kurdish delegation.

On Thursday 26th April Practice Supervisors, Imogen Nicholson and Chris Wood, and I met with a visiting delegation from the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of the Kurdish Regional Government.  We were also joined by STEP, an international development charity working with vulnerable children in the region.  The meeting followed a previous visit to Cafcass from Kurdish child care practitioners who were interested in Cafcass and our role in ensuring children’s views and wishes are sought and shared within the family court.

In the Kurdish region of Iraq safeguarding and caring for children largely relies on non-government organisations such as STEP.  There are large numbers of displaced children from the war and recent troubles both within Iraq and bordering countries. The local government is keen to understand the service we offer and how we engage with families and the courts, and take forward ideas to develop their own child protection systems and foster care.

We gave presentation outlining who we are, what our role is, our structure and how we are funded. This helped the delegates to understand our role in sharing the voice of the child, the role of local and national government, the different agencies involved in safeguarding children, including the family courts and the local authorities, and how these fit together to improve outcomes for children. The presentation generated a helpful discussion and through an interpreter we shared knowledge and experiences of our systems and processes. The visiting group were interested in our role within the family justice system and in how we work with children and families to improve outcomes for children.

After spending time with us the delegates went to Bristol where they took part in a ‘mock’ court hearing. This was so they could experience how all English organisations supporting children work together within the family justice system.

Having shared our work with the delegation we all reflected how privileged we are to be part of an outstanding organisation where we have a central role in improving the lives of the children we work with.

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