Responding to feedback – FJYPB top tips for separated parents updated
We want the voice of every child with whom we work to be at the centre of the proceedings about them. This means hard listening and checking out that we have understood what children are telling us. It also means explaining to children what we are going to recommend to the family court.
Last year, one of the children with whom we had worked for a long time, provided some powerful feedback, as part of a complaint to Cafcass, that we needed to act on. This child explained that they were frightened that things would get worse for them, had they told their mum or dad what was happening to them when they had contact with their father.
We realised how vulnerable and scared this could make a child or young person feel and that we really need to give young people every opportunity to test out what might happen if they tell a parent how they are feeling about contact. After reflecting on how to share this feedback, and in consultation with the Family Justice Young People’s Board (FJYPB) and the young person who made the complaint, we decided to add it to their top tips for separated parents.
The separated parents top tips are an important resource for all those co-parenting, as well as Cafcass practitioners, and provide a voice for children.
23. Don’t make me scared to say what I think about my arrangements for fear of being told off or treated badly by you if you don’t agree.
Jacky Tiotto, Chief Executive at Cafcass said:
“Listening to this young woman talk to us about her experience of us and the impact of our work on her was a serious lesson in never assuming that adults know best. She taught us the value of listening and also the need to check always whether we are! It took a lot of courage for her to come forward and to write to me. I am so pleased that she did so and that we were able to spend time together listening and thinking. I hope every practitioner, manager and leader reading these top tips, stops to think about what they personally have to change to step into the shoes of a child and really understand their world. Only that way can we help and improve.
We really want to hear from more children and young people about whether they think we are helping them and how we could do better. We have recently introduced some new letters which really encourage children to tell us about the difference we are making and what they would like us to do differently next time.
The FJYPB top tips are a fantastic resource that can help everyone understand the feelings of children and young people. Thank you to the FJYPB for all the work they do and to our young complainant who has changed our practice more than she knows.”