We recognise that not everyone uses the internet, and that some of those
who do may wish to follow up their initial online search with a telephone conversation. That is why we are developing a co-ordinated telephone
network to complement the web application.
Instead of creating a new, centralised, telephone support number, the
co-ordinated telephone network will build on, and strengthen, the support
that the voluntary and community sector already provides.
This co-ordinated network will consist of a core of quality-marked organisations, commissioned through a competitive process, which
already provide support services for separating and separated parents.
These organisations will provide an additional collaborative parenting conversation and will signpost parents to other organisations as appropriate.
The co-ordinated telephone network will:
offer both emotional and practical support to parents and wider
family members on the broad range of issues faced at separation,
in an empathetic way and using a non-judgemental approach, so callers feel listened to, respected and supported;
adhere to the principle of promoting the benefits of collaborative parenting in the interests of children and, when it is appropriate
to do so, discuss this with parents;
help to diagnose and prioritise the needs and barriers that may be stopping parents making informed choices about how to best meet
the needs of their children;
increase signposting between the network of organisations and
other specialist national or local support groups; and
identify at-risk callers and signpost appropriately.
We envisage that we will achieve this level of service through a bespoke training package that any organisation applying to the network would be required to complete.
This training will include a range of elements such as relationship
coaching techniques, strategies to help families communicate and triggers
to empower callers to take the right next steps to overcome conflict.
The training package will help to ensure that advisors have a high level
of emotional empathy, are trained to recognise signs of distress and can support and signpost accordingly.
We expect the telephone network to be in place in summer 2013. We
will continue to work with the Ministry of Justice and the Department for Education to ensure this proposal aligns with the response to the Family Justice Review.