Back From The Brink aims to protect the mental health of people who have been devastated by the removal of children from their care by providing counselling, trauma therapy and support, helping them recover and reintegrate effectively and positively into their community.
This is with a view that they might positively become a part of their loved ones lives again in the future.
On a charitable basis we offer a unique, bespoke and intensive therapy to support these people in accessing their innate resources so that they can survive their onward journey. It is difficult for them to comprehend what is happening to their world so we introduce them to a supportive community and guide them out of the darkness, encouraging them to take a lead role in their futures.
There are many reasons why children cease to be part of a persons life. It may be that the parent has experienced illness, divorce, domestic abuse, parental alienation, incarceration, detention of liberty or the child has been abducted to another country or within the United Kingdom as part of a manipulative tool to retain power over a fleeing parent. Also there may be professional parties involved, following on from allegations of physical, sexual or emotional abuse. Protective parents repeatedly report that these allegations are ignored routinely and often used against the parent. This leaves them highly tramatised and vulnerable to what is perceived by many as a exceptionally invasive, highly damaging social services and CAFCASS (or international equivalent) involvement which may run counter to criminal court involvement. Children are usually removed from protective parents through public law, private law or criminal law procedures or by manipulation by another person, usually the hostile parent, their family or professionals with a vested interest.
We are non-judgmental and highly experienced in supporting parents in this heavily guarded 'private' legal arena. We understand the damaging psychological impact and challenge people face when being thrown into the family court arena. Our total focus is the welfare of the parent. This is also the concern of a good many outstanding individuals in the legal profession who refer their clients to us as they can no longer assist post final hearing but have genuine care and concern for their clients.
Being removed from a child is a trauma beyond words for parents. It is a deathless death where even grief is denied, as the child is not deceased. Many describe it as the 'The Alice in Wonderland' reality. Certainly, how it happens is something you can only truly grasp when you have had to experience it, vicariously as a concerned professional, or from the eyes of the grieving parents and their traumatised children.
If a court has been involved then parents, already emotionally exhausted having fought to keep their children for so long, sometimes for years, leave the court to go home to a house where the child has already been removed in their absence that day. If there was no court and removal has happened privately at the hands of someone the parent once loved, the cognitive dissonance is equally as damaging. These fragile people, consisting of barely more than dust instantly petrify with the shock. There is nobody there to help them and many professionals and family members and friends are left struggling with what can be done to support the grieving parent in the months that follow. Nobody sleeps well.
The reality is that child removal is only the beginning of the dehumanising experience that our clients consistently report. Child benefits, working tax credits and council housing benefits are immediately and dispassionately stopped and jobs may be lost due to the inevitable declining mental and physical health of the parent or through interventions by professional organisations. In consequence these struggling people lose their homes and often have to relocate, usually on their own, a long way from their emotional support base. At the same time a society, which struggles to comprehend the unthinkable, begins to turn its back on the parent. A great sadness is that, without malice, friends and family also begin to fall away because the truth is unbearable and they are ill equipped to know how to support the parent. In their own way, we often find that the third parties associated with the parent are also grieving. Sometimes therapy needs to include these people as well.
Due to the nature of private family court in the UK and most Hague Convention countries, the parents cannot speak about what has happened to them as to do so would break family court orders and would place them in danger of a prison sentence. The threat of this action is often used to further isolate already fatigued parents from reaching out for valuable legal or mental health assistance.
There is no government agency to help. It is therefore difficult to obtain theraputic assistance from anyone who understands. Cruelly, parents are often dropped my mental health teams after child removal and told to just 'get over it'. They rarely do. Many end up sectioned or at high risk of suicide.
This is where we step in.
We are aware of the issue these people face. We pick them up, entirely broken from the experience. Often they cannot continue functioning as a whole person within our society. Some can literally no longer speak as they are so shocked by the experience. The curtains of their houses close and never reopen. Our counsellors describe these people as being 'as fragile as snowflakes, silently being thrown and shattered by the air and being shaped by the startling and traumatising environment around them'. This is very accurate. By the time they come to us, our clients are as delicate and numb as snowflakes.
Mostly, but not exclusively, they are women and are from all over the world.
We gently introduce ourselves to these parents, watch and guard their hearts and minds and carefully help them to make sense of and rebuild their lives, giving them the greatest of care, respect and time. To do this, we have developed a careful and bespoke all encompassing theraputic service that deals with every aspect of support that these people require. It is time intensive, requires knowledge of a huge range of theraputic methods, current legal practice and debate and is demanding for the counsellors. But it works. It is a diligence and gift that only a few counsellors are able to tackle, but it is rewarding. Every client of our service without exception has reported that it saved their life. This is the greatest motivator that our counsellors need.
We welcome you to our BFTB family. We invite you to come - Back From The Brink.
Back From The Brink – Registered charity number: 1183541