Welcome to our newsletter. This is a shorter version than normal but we are trying to keep you as up to date as possible. Do let us know what you think and please do share as widely as you can, to your staff and volunteers, management committee and supporters. We want to spread the message far and wide…
Improving outcomes for children around the world
Whilst our work is primarily with children and their families in the UK, we also recognise that children across the world face similar issues. NACCC is in the very fortunate position whereby we have decades of experience working with children experiencing parental separation. As part of our commitment to children regardless of where they live in a world, we are proud to share knowledge and best practice on behalf of all of our members. This has included writing practice documents for governments and organisations in Australia, Ireland and Canada. Earlier in the year we were also asked to attend a service in Singapore in order to provide training and guidance.
Elizabeth Coe, NACCC CEO has recently returned from a trip to Japan and Taiwan, that was funded by them because they are impressed by the work of Child Contact Services in the UK and wanted to learn more about the amazing work that our members do at their ‘World Conference’ and Symposium. As you would expect, they were enthralled by Elizabeth and the experience that she was able to share with them and more information about this will follow in future newsletters.
Updated supported standards now available
We are delighted to share the updated standards for supported contact with you all. These have been endorsed by Sir Andrew McFarlane, President of the Family Division and Head of Family Justice, who says in his Foreword:
“As every judge, practitioner and CAFCASS officer will know, a Supported Child Contact Centre is an extremely valuable resource. At a time when the number of families who feel driven to resort to court to resolve parenting difficulties (and when many such parents are acting as litigants in person) there has never been a greater need for a properly run and safe environment in which contact between a parent and child can be maintained or re-established.”
“The work that NACCC has recently undertaken to review and make further improvements to its national standards is to be welcomed. The fact that a parent with the care of their child, or the court, takes the view that contact must be supported in a contact centre indicates that, for one reason or another, trust has broken down. The need for both parents, and the child, to be able to trust that the centre and the key volunteers who run it will play their part in providing a safe, friendly and neutral venue is obvious. By re-formulating and re-publishing this Guidance Manual, NACCC is making an important statement to each of its centres and to the public at large that the good practice that is set out in these pages is essential to the proper running of contact centres and to the maintenance of the high level of trust that NACCC accredited centres properly attract in their work.”
“In expressing my support for the work of NACCC by writing this Foreword, I would also like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude and appreciation to each and every person (many of them volunteers) who runs these most valuable resources. Your contribution makes a clear and tangible difference to the lives of children who might not otherwise be able to have any contact with one of their parents. Thank you for all that you do.”NACCC is extremely grateful to Sir Andrew for his support of NACCC and of accredited child contact centres throughout the UK. The revised standards including a full list of revisions can be found in the members area of the website.
AGM feedback – videos now available!
Phil Coleman (Service Development Manager) writes:
“This year the NACCC AGM was a really positive experience with a range of interesting and inspirational speakers and with sponsorship from ‘Our Family Wizard’ we have been able to film the event. We have recorded interviews with the key speakers and a full-length speech is available for each presentation in the programme. We would also like to thank coordinators Kathryn, Elisabeth and Samantha for agreeing to be interviewed about their centres.”
“All videos are now available on our YouTube channel (and will be on our website shortly) – please do take a look! I can reassure you all that you’re in for a real treat!”
Check out the NACCC conference now on YouTube!
Below are some examples of the positive things that people have said to us about this year’s event:
- “It was great to have balanced speakers: Mick Curtain & Michael Lewkowicz then finishing with Willma King.”
- “Good, meaningful & professional speakers.”
- “Impressed by all the speakers & learned a great deal more than I imagined. What a lot of good work there is going on unseen and unheard.”
- “I really got a lot of useful information & tools to pass on to families / children from some inspirational speakers.”
Network meetings were also held whereby people were able to talk about things that were of importance to them, in their local areas. From one of these groups I was presented with a range of questions; which I have attempted to answer below for you:
“If staff and volunteers undertake accredited training, do they become accredited volunteers? Are they accredited to deliver accredited training to others?”
If volunteers undertake the co-ordinator training this puts them in a position to be able to deliver the training modules to the volunteers. If they’re thinking about QEL, this isn’t relevant in this way. QEL ensures the quality of our materials and policies around training, the QEL certification shows that the course is good quality and delivered in a way that is professional. The QEL programme also ensures that the learner has achieved at least the key learning outcomes. Therefore, it is the training that is accredited by QEL rather than accrediting a person.
“Centre staff and volunteers are not finding the (training) workbooks particularly helpful as they are based too much on the courses themselves so don’t stand alone – some have re written them to ensure they serve the desired purpose”
It’s really positive that centres are reviewing content to make is appropriate for the individual nuances of their own services, this is exactly how they are intended to be used. The resources provided by NACCC are intended to provide a framework that can be built upon.
However, I entirely agree that the training workbooks need updating and developing. There is a plan to re-write them and were hoping to make some headway with this now that the AGM is done. I have a centre waiting for a session to be urgently reviewed and a young person from the Family Justice Young People’s Board (FJYPB) is also going to review the content to ensure that the voice of the child is always prominent.
NACCC member peer support opportunities
Following recent feedback, it has been agreed that Facebook and WhatsApp groups will be set up as an informal way for centres to seek support from one and other. This is something that is entirely optional, and we appreciate that this is something that some people will either not have access to these networks or not feel comfortable in using them in this way. In order to ensure that people who choose not to engage in these groups do not miss out content that might be of interest will also be shared through the ‘Coffee Shop’ and / or NACCC Newsletters.
Although NACCC are setting up these groups we do not really intend for them to be a service lead by NACCC but rather a peer support opportunity. Whilst some people on the group might be employed by NACCC or work for NACCC in some other capacity (assessor or trustee) we will not be actively monitoring content and will respond in the same way as any other member.
The groups are intended to be places whereby we can access advice, support and share best practice and therefore, we would like to invite Co-ordinators, Deputy Co-ordinators, Chairs, Managers, Directors and other appropriate people to join in. In order to make the content as relevant as possible we will create a group on Facebook for Supported and another for Supervised. However, there is no restrictions as to which group you choose to join. Your welcome to enter both if you would like to do this. The Facebook group will have a ‘secret’ setting so that the general public and other people uninvited will not know that the group exists. However, please accept that this is not a 100% confidential space (because this can never be guaranteed) and therefore we would urge you to consider this when writing posts or sharing content.
Members using either group as a place to be unduly negative about each other or NACCC may well find themselves being removed from the group. This is planned to be a safe and supportive place, there are other ways to deal with things we might be unhappy with.
Why not also use the groups to share good practice, news, research, stats, events, achievements and other things that people might be interested in knowing?
In order to join the Facebook group, you will need to have a Facebook account. If you don’t have one these are relatively easy to set up and if you want or need support with this, please speak to Phil at NACCC and he will gladly try and guide you through the process.
Once you have an account email firstname.lastname@example.org to let Phil know the email address associated with that account and we will add you to whichever group you want to be associated with.
In order to join the WhatsApp group, you will need to have downloaded the app to a smartphone and set up an account. If you haven’t downloaded the app this is relatively easy to do and set up and if you want or need support with this, please speak to Phil at NACCC and he will gladly try and guide you through the process.
Once you have an account email email@example.com to let Phil know the telephone number associated with the WhatsApp account and he will add you to whichever group you want to be associated with.
As explained in previous communications with you NACCC has recently been awarded funding in order to review the resources that we provide to children and we have also reviewed our website (for members, referrers and the public). We are currently undertaking a process of accessing quotes for an updated website (including an area for young people with children’s stories and an app). This is entering the final stages and we are hoping to be able to commence shortlisting in the near future. The children’s resources will then be prioritised with a desire to have these available midway through 2020 with the new website following alongside.
We are really excited about these developments, particularly being able to ensure that children and young people will have resources that have been specifically designed and written with them in mind. Again, we are eternally grateful to the Family Justice Young People’s Board (FJYPB) who have agreed to work with us on this to help us to do an excellent job for the young people that will eventually be using these resources.
As ever NACCC are committed to best practice and working with partner agencies to talk about our work and the crucial work of child contact centres, this includes working with our close friends at Families Need Fathers and Match Mothers (image below). This week Phil (Service Development Manager) attended a conference with Match Mothers sharing information about the work of child contact centres and how they might be able to assist those needing the services of Child Contact Centres.
Need advice about employing a coordinator?
Thinking employment might be good for your supported centre but unsure/wary about how to proceed? Buzz Child Contact Centre (running a supported centre in Sheffield) are happy to offer advice/support to centres unsure about employing a co-ordinator. Please contact them on firstname.lastname@example.org
Again, we hope that this newsletter is helpful. Do share it as widely as you can.
Elizabeth Coe, NACCC Chief Executive Officer
Views expressed in this newsletter are not necessarily those of the NACCC and publication does not imply endorsement. © NACCC 2019 (NACCC member centres exempt)
If you have difficulty accessing the NACCC website links, please do the following:
1. Logon to the members area of the NACCC website using your centre’s username and password
2. Click back to this newsletter
3. Click on the links that you are interested in. They should now take you to the correct web page.
Not yet registered?
If your centre has not yet registered on the NACCC website, complete the form by going to the sign up page.
Any problems, please let the office staff know.