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Kids in the middle


Kids in the middle

What is Kids in the Middle?

Kids in the Middle is a charity backed by family law and mediation firms. Kids in the Middle exists to raise awareness of the experience of children in separating families in the UK and to raise funds to support these children and young people. It will create and finance both national and local services that child-centred family lawyers and mediators can use in their work.

The centerpiece will be an on-line peer support website, KidsintheMiddle.org.uk, where children and young people who have experienced separation will tell their story to children and young people in the middle of it (and to their parents). We will deliver peer group discussion, mentoring and on-line professional counselling in partnership with Mindfull.org, a fantastic new service for children and young people having difficulties, created by the Beat Bullying charity.

Why is there a need for Kids in the Middle?

The proportion of 16 years olds who have experienced the separation of their parents is heading for nearly one in two. That’s over 250,000 children experiencing their parents’ separation each year.

In preparation for this campaign we researched the views of young people who have been through separation and the views of professionals working with them. We found the need for a dedicated service to support young people that is promoted by those working with separating families – lawyers, teachers, family courts, etc.

“I think that any service needs to be very accessible and that children are given the message that there is a service out there that they can use that is private and confidential. Children often feel under a lot of pressure and it is difficult for them to not take sides when their parents divorce.” Cafcass practitioner

Three on-line services for children in separating families have recently closed down. One closed because the organisation changed its priorities. Another closed because it was funded by a Government grant but had no long-term plan. The third closed because it was built in a very expensive way and cost too much to run. This shows us we must not only be very good but we must be viable.

Who supports Kids in the Middle?

Strong support for the project has also been expressed by others:

Resolution:“Projects like these are absolutely crucial to helping children deal with the emotional fall out of separation.”

Anthony Douglas CBE, CEO of Cafcass: “Kids in the Middle is an inspired campaign to give children and young people an opportunity to communicate what they are going through.”

Tam Baillie, Scotland’s Children’s Commissioner: “On many occasions the experiences, views and emotions of children whose parents are going through divorce or separation are forgotten about. Usually the focus is on the parents and too often the children and young people are overlooked. It’s time we were more conscious of children and young people’s perspective in this. For that reason I wholeheartedly support Kids in the Middle’s campaign to establish an online outlet where young people in separating families can share their stories. This is especially important at a time where funders are reducing resources for services that directly support children.”

We have had many endorsements from family lawyers and mediators – we have recorded these. 120 law firms have so far declared support for Kids in the Middle.

What is the plan?

Family law and mediation firms are running campaigns all over UK, many with young people, to raise money for KidsintheMiddle.org.uk during 2014. During the same period we will build the website.

What makes KITM different?

Kids in the Middle will be hosted by young people who have been through separation and will communicate their point of view. The site will mainly be videos of children and young people communicating key messages from their perspective. So Kids in the Middle will be a service for young people, provided by young people.

The service will also be designed with professionals working with separating families – lawyers, mediators, barristers and others, so that it can become a tool that they use all the time.

Kids in the Middle will be built to be long-lasting, with a strong foundation of on-going financial support and low running costs.

Whom will this service support?

Children and young people who are experiencing the separation of their parents.

We know that separating parents will also visit Kids in the Middle and we want to help them see things from the child’s point of view.

In conjunction with professionals working with separating families, we will actively promote the service. Our vision is that at least one person in the life of every child experiencing family separation recommends they visit KidsintheMiddle.com.

How is money being raised?

The fundraising campaign started in school year 2012-2013 with two groups of teenagers in two schools - Hereford Cathedral School and Crickhowell High School. They raised £15,000 – their campaigns are visible at Justgiving.com.

The project worked well and for 2014 family lawyers and mediators are leading the way forward. Over 40 firms have become Founding Partners, each committing to raise at least £2000.

How will my money be spent?

The on-line peer support service will start being built during 2014. At the same time, we will commission an information pack and presentation materials for schools so that family lawyers, mediators and others can engage easily with schools to raise awareness of the issues and the help available.