CREATING SAFE SPACES FOR KIDS
Information and Interview with Sandy from Kids Reunited Inc.
I’ve known Sandy for about 8 years when I had the opportunity of meeting her while she developed Kids Reunited Inc, a not-for-profit organisation that reunites children with parents they do not live with.
While visiting the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors’ support centre, Sandy expressed the need for more people to work as volunteers for the Children’s Contact Service.
The importance of accessing mature-aged students of counselling, coaching and community services is to give them the opportunity of putting their learned skills into practise. What the students have learned within the context of their studies include communication skills, observation, active listening, body language, rapport building that are not considered in their workbooks in text.
The Children’s Contact Service would not exist if it wasn’t for the presence of many volunteers working to create a safe space where parents have contact time with their children when access is not available outside this environment.
Some parents, for various reasons, are unable to have contact with their children where there may be family and domestic violence, alcohol and/or other substance abuse, even incarceration.
The reintroduction of a parent who has not seen their child for a long time, e.g. parents with mental health challenges, can be circumstances where a parent is not allowed to spend time with their children and a parent may not have a suitable home for their child to visit them.
There is also the opportunity of what Sandy called a change-over. This is where parents arrive at the centre at specific times and enter the building through separate entrances. The child is moved from one parent to the other through the building, safely. After the child has left with the parent, he or she is spending time with, the other parent can leave the service. These are different circumstances again.
The Children’s Support worker then takes time with that waiting parent and this is where their communication skills really unfold. So even though it is all about the children, it is still very important to have a safe space for both parents as well. The focus is on the children and it is about the entire family.
Often grandparents are involved and these are other complicated dimensions that require the presence of people who are trained to work with particular age groups.
Having the victim and a perpetrator (sometimes) there at the same time, the role of a Children’s Support worker is to create a safe space for all participants is a role that requires a high, vigilant level of focus, however must be calming and harmonious for all in attendance.
Sandy states that the parents in attendance are all compliant and creating this happy space has a flow on affect which then enhances the life of the children which forms part of Sandy’s mission with Kids Reunited Inc.
Her message in this video is to promote the need for more Children’s Support workers in the form of volunteers because this is a not for profit organisation much needed in our world today to create a more peaceful environment for families to grow stress-free. You can watch the video below this post.
This Children’s Contact Service is about the children. It’s about creating a space as homely as we can, in a controlled environment. Children do not experience family and domestic violence while their parents use the Children’s Contact Service. Children move between their parents and they do not have to experience or feel their parents conflict.
Please email Sandy at the contact service through: firstname.lastname@example.org
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