Familyfocus believes that a good ‘attachment’ between a child and parent/carer, is one of the main contributory factors to a stable family life and key to providing a positive foundation on which children and adults can grow both emotionally, physically and psychologically together.
The reason for contact must be seen in the light of the long term plan for a child and indeed should be part of the plan.
Understanding the aim of contact also determines what style of contact we offer. If the plan is to build up an understanding of how a parent is able to parent their child we will agree to not only supervise contact but offer advice, guidance, structure as well as support and feedback at the end of any contact.
The choice of venue is often overlooked. We are happy to supervise contact within the home environment, or another venue, but not play zones or public/private swimming pools.
Familyfocus offers a pre-planning stage for supervised contact. It is important that fears, concerns and anxieties are resolved in a manner that will allow contact to take place within a near as possible stress free environment.
It is important to review supervised contact at agreed intervals. This is particularly relevant if contact includes an intervention/teaching/guidance element to it. Sharing of information is also about helping to plan for the future, but more importantly to enable the adults to be aware of what they have to do in order to achieve the aim of contact.
Closure of contact will not be considered until the initial aims of the contact have been met. There should be no hurry to end contact, or have a set time span for contact to take place in. Contact is never about the quantity but should always be about the quality. Contact must be seen and acknowledged as an essential part of the planning for a child’s future.
If you require more information we are happy to discuss our work and supervised contact with you at any time. Please feel free to contact us using the enquiry form under ‘contact us’ on the website.
Early intervention work
Supporting your family when you most need it.
familyfocus has been asked to help your family in the difficult and often painful period when
the decision has been taken to either separate or divorce. We recognise you may be feeling
as if your lives are falling apart or that you are all being tossed in the air and not sure where
you will fall. We hope to help you all make sense of what is happening over the coming
weeks. We are sure you will have lots of questions and we have tried to answer some of the
questions, we think you may have.
familyfocus and Mark Shirley have between them, many years of experience of both family support and court work and together we hope to be able to offer all your family time to reflect and plan for the future. We will all meet on five different occasions, either at a venue of our choice or somewhere you all feel comfortable. We would suggest this is not your home as often this has been were difficult situations have taken place, and you have a mixture of memories about your home. We feel it is important you are able to reflect and talk about
concerns somewhere that is both neutral and safe for you all.
The first and last meetings are when we both plan and review. The planning is the first stage and
this gives all of us the opportunity to explore what the main concerns are for the future. The last
meeting is the review and we help you to make some plans for whatever your next step maybe. In
between these meetings we will help you to explore what has gone wrong in the past and how you
can all, children as well, make plans for the future that do not cause too much pain for individuals. It
is important you understand that your time with us will not be easy and we do recognise this is a
difficult, painful and highly charges emotional time for all of you. No matter what may have
happened there are likely to have been good times, which makes it difficult to understand how
family life could have gone wrong.
By all working together at this very early stage it is our hope that your family can avoid the need to go through the court process. We know this can at times escalate the pain and anger that is felt
and many families feel this process causes more rift and division.
We hope that our work with you will ensure you are able to deal with issues without resorting to this
However we are also very realistic and understand for some families this maybe the only course of
action they feel they can take. The court will want to know how much you understand of the
difficulties you have experienced and what you expect of the court process. If this is the case we
hope your work with us will make this particular process clearer but mostly enable you all to
understand the need for a solution that involves working together rather ‘taking sides’ and ‘fighting
your corner’. This should mean the court process is not dragged on for many months and an
agreeable solution is found early on.
We both very firmly believe it is important children have opportunity to express their views and
wishes. We never underestimate the impact a change in family life can have on a child as well as the
long term impact, unless they are able to make sense of these changes at the beginning.
We will spend some time alone with your children but on the understanding information they may
talk about is shared with the rest of the family. No matter how painful it maybe to talk about our
feelings we believe it is important all the family should know how each person is feeling. Part of the
reason you are working with us is because we can help you
deal with these feelings in a safe way.
We can help children explore and talk about how they feel with the use of various games, books and fun type exercises.
There is one rule we have which cannot be changed. If a child was to talk about issues of a safeguarding nature then we are professional bound to share this information with the local
We are sure there will be other questions you want to ask. We would suggestion you make a note of
these and bring them to our first meeting. Your children may also want to do the same. We hope
this information has been able to give you some idea about your time with us.
Mark and I look forward to meeting you all.
Hilary Sharpe and Mark Shirley