Children and Young People's Services FAQ

OFM Children and Young People's Services FAQs

 

Children's Voice
 

Is there a cost for this service?

OFM is able to offer up to four sessions for children and young people, at a nominal charge of £10 per session thanks to generous funders.  There is also a scheme to help those for whom £10 is not possible.

It is our ethos that children and young people should be given an opportunity to talk about their experiences of parental separation, as and when they need it, regardless of their financial situation.

In order to continue to provide this service however, OFM rely on charitable donations, and so if able, we encourage parents to give what they can to contribute towards the actual cost of each session, which is £50.

If the children and young people we work with feel that they could benefit from more time with their Support Worker, then we are able to offer a further two sessions, which are priced at £50 per session.

Introductory meetings to the service for parents are priced at £35 (individual) or £55 (joint), and enable us to continue to offer up to four sessions free of charge for children and young people.

What happens once I’ve made a referral?

Once you have completed a referral form and returned it to OFM either via post or email, we will be in touch to book an Introductory Parent Meeting to the service.

If we have not heard back within ten working days of making contact, we will assume that the service is not right at this time and will close the case. You are always welcome to contact us and re-refer at any time if you wish.

Can anyone make a referral?

Referrals can be made by either one or both parents, school link workers, SENcos, hub workers, GPs, social workers or any other professionals working with a child and/or their family.

Young people over the age of 13 may self-refer; however, they will need the written consent of at least one parent.

Young people over the age of 16 can self-refer without consent from either parent; however, we always advise that young people inform their parents if they wish to access the service.

I have more than one child who I feel could benefit from your help. Am I able to refer more than one child at a time?

You are welcome to refer as many children or young people as you wish at any one time. Please use the same referral form and indicate which children or young people ‘wish to be seen’.

Are you only able to see one child per session or can my son/daughter be seen alongside their siblings?

Sessions are determined by the client, and so we are always happy to accommodate if children or young people wish to be seen alone or alongside their siblings. Sometimes they may wish to vary this from session to session, which is also fine. Parents and other significant people in the child/young person’s life may also be included in some sessions.

Do both parents have to be involved for children to access the service?

It is our policy to contact both parents when we receive a referral to the service, so that we may offer them both an opportunity to be part of the process. We find that when both parents are involved, clients are much more likely to benefit.

When contacting the non-referral parent(s), we allow up to ten working days for them to object to their child/ren accessing the service and thereby remove their consent. In this situation, we will unfortunately have to close the case. If we do not hear back within that time frame however, we will take this as proof of their tacit consent and proceed without them.

We understand that there are sometimes exceptional circumstances in which these guidelines do not apply. If you have any queries regarding referrals, parental involvement or access to the Children’s Voice service, please call OFM on 0844 847 6658 or send us an email.

What do I have to do as a parent involved in this service?

In addition to the four free sessions we offer to children and young people, we are able to provide two sessions to each parent involved in the process - one before their son/daughter accesses the service (Introductory Parent Meeting), and another when their sessions come to an end (Final Parent Meeting). Introductory Parent Meetings are priced at £35 for individuals and £55 if parents want to attend together. Final Meetings are free of charge and are usually incorporated into a child/young person’s final session, or conducted over the phone.

If agreed by the child or young person concerned, Final Parent Meetings can be used as an opportunity to give feedback to parents, with the aid of their Support Worker where needed. Either way, we respect the decisions of the children and young people we work with and remind parents that it is their son/daughter's space to determine as they wish.

If a child is under 16, they will need to have a parent or responsible adult on the premises at all times during their sessions. Please note - parents are expected to wait nearby during their son/daughter's appointment and to respect that unless otherwise indicated, sessions for children and young people are to be conducted independently and on a one-to-one basis with an OFM Support Worker.

To enable OFM to report back to our funders and ensure that we continue to provide a high quality of service, it is vital that we receive feedback from our clients. We use evaluation forms throughout the Children's Voice process, which helps us to measure whether we are making an impact. We ask that clients and their parents ensure they complete and return all forms to their Support Worker or to the OFM office. We also welcome feedback via email.

We ask that parents remain sensitive to their son/daughter's needs throughout the process. For more information on how best to support children and young people affected by separation and divorce as a parent, please visit our Useful Information Page, which includes signposting resources, information and advice booklets for parents and their children.

Do myself and my ex-partner need to be in mediation to access this service?

No; parents do not have to be in mediation for their children to be able to access the service. However, we recommend that referrals are made after parents have been through mediation or divorce proceedings so that children have had a chance to adjust and settle into their new lives.

Will I have to see my ex-partner at any point during the process if I don't want to?

Introductory and Final Meetings for parents are offered separately, or on a joint basis, depending on what suits the child/young person and family concerned. Therefore ex-partners who do not wish to see each other will not have to any at point during the process. However, we do encourage both parents to work alongside one another in support of their child/ren.

It is important to note that all sessions are treated in confidence, unless safeguarding issues arise.

Is this service the same as Child Inclusive Mediation?

We find that children and young people benefit from our therapeutic support services most, when mediation has taken place within the family first. In some cases therefore, we may recommend mediation or Child Inclusive Mediation (CIM) as a more suitable option - particularly when it is practical and not necessarily emotional issues, which need addressing.

Depending on the age of the child or young person affected by parental separation, CIM encourages parents to ask their children for their opinion about the situation or the issues they may be facing as a result, with the guidance of an impartial third party (the mediator). However, whilst children and young people may be being asked for their opinions, they are not being asked to make final decisions, as this can make them feel responsible for changes in their family and may lead to a confusion of roles between parents and children and add unnecessary pressure.

For more information about mediation or Child Inclusive Mediation, please email the office or call 0844 847 6658.

Are there any instances in which you won’t see a child/young person?

Our services are open to all who need it. However, as we do not provide crisis intervention services, we prefer not to see children or young people who are currently under the care of social services and/or accessing support elsewhere. This is because it can often be detrimental and confusing for a child or young person to be involved with multiple support provisions.

We will not take on cases where we feel that one parent is using the service to manipulate their ex-partner in any way, or is placing a child in the middle of their conflict. We are strongly committed to promoting communication between families, and to ensuring that children and young people’s wellbeing is central to all that we do.

 

We hope you have found this information useful. If you have a question which remains unanswered, or would like to enquire further about any of our other services for children and young people, please feel free to call OFM on 0844 847 6658 or send us an email. Thank you. 

 

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