The office for National Statistics tells us that over 28 per cent of children in the UK will be coping with the dramatic effects of their parent's separation and the NSPCC revealed the appalling statistic that only 10% of children will find someone to talk to when their family is breaking apart.
Moreover a study of 21 countries conducted by Unicef found the UK was at the bottom of the table in terms of child wellbeing and happiness. This needs to change
When setting up a kidspace, we discovered very little support was available for children going through family breakdown. With the divorce rate rising and, according to Relate, couples aged between 40 and 45 being at most risk of breaking up, it is likely that family breakdown will be experienced by more and more children. This confirms our belief that all children need access to support during such a traumatic and life changing event.
We've developed a kidspace as a support programme in response to this unacceptable situation. It is evident to us that many children are being failed. We want to provide a safe and confidential space where children are able to express their feelings and learn new tools to help them cope and adjust to their changed situation. We believe that the group process is incredibly valuable for children - they often feel less isolated as they can share their feelings with other children going through a similar experience. All of our workshops and groups, are run by experienced and registered health professionals or counsellors.
Baroness Tyler, acting Chairman of Cafcass and previously at Relate, believes mediation is the way to reduce the number of cases coming to court and help prevent children being caught between warring parents. She states: "When parents split up there is high emotion and anger. It is difficult to focus on practical issues. I want there to be a strong focus on mediation."
Her comments were echoed in the Final Report of the Family Justice Review published in November 2011, which stated that children involved in the family justice system need a voice, and need to be heard.
In response to the summer riots of 2011 the Prime Minister David Cameron said "If we want to have any hope of mending our broken society, family and parenting is where we've got to start." However, the reality is that many children have a far from happy family life and this cycle is often repeated when they themselves become parents.
Our ambition, at a kidspace, is to break this cycle, by offering our service not just to children whose parents can afford it, but to all children, whatever their circumstances.
Emma Cohn and Stacey Hart, founders of a kidspace.
Jordan Publishing's Family Law Awards 2012 is proud to support a kidpsace.