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Holding a family together

Anna and John became volunteers for Safe Families as ‘empty nesters’ who felt like they had some capacity to help other families who might be struggling at an earlier stage of the parenting journey.

SFFC introduced them to a single dad in a nearby town, struggling to cope with his kids after his relationship with their mother had broken down. Social services had become involved as there was a concern that he may not be able to cope and that the children’s health and development could be at risk.

In order to give dad a break from the constant demands of being a full-time carer to 3 boisterous kiddies Anna and John* met the family in their home and offered once in a while ‘daytime hosting’ of the children i.e. taking them out for the day, but not having them to stay overnight. Everyone got on well and agreed it was a great idea.

Dad came along on the first day out, understandably a little nervous about how his kids would get along with these new people that they’d only just met. The weather was great and lots of fun was had at the park. Back at home afterwards it was arranged that another day out, at a nearby farm, was planned for two weeks time, but this time dad would stay behind in order to recharge his batteries and get a few important jobs done.

Fast-forward 3 months and numerous day trips the impact on this young family has been enormous. Not only have the children benefitted from the care and affection of a new ‘auntie and uncle’ but dad has been helped to stablilise and adjust to the challenges of his new role as a single parent. A real answer to prayer has been the thawing of the relationship with his ex-partner, and the reduction of the hostility there has clearly been beneficial for the children too, as they are now allowed a degree of contact with their mum.

Sonia Daniel, SFFC Family Support Manager comments, “Anna and John have been a lifeline in this situation, and knowing the concerns that social services had in the beginning I believe that they have held this family together and saved the children from going into care. We’re all absolutely delighted with the difference that has been made.”

*Names changed to preserve confidentiality

Article from Safe Families for Children

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