Back From The Brink aims to improve, preserve and long-term protect the mental health of people who have been devastated by the sudden removal of children from their care by providing counselling, trauma therapy and support with a view to helping them 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, if possible, some time in the future. They may be a parent, special guardian, adoptive parent or primary carer, herein called 'the parent'.
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 alone. 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 that leave highly tramatised protective parents vulnerable to what is perceived by many as a exceptionally invasive, highly traumatising and damaging social services and CAFCASS involvement which may run counter to CPS involvement. The children are usually therefore removed through public law, private law or criminal law procedures or by manipulation by another person, usually the hostile parent, using their family or hired 'professionals'.
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 such a world. 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 cannot ethically assist post final hearing.
Being removed from a child is a trauma beyond words for most 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 them in the months that follow. Nobody sleeps well.
The reality is that child removal is only the beginning of the dehumanising experience. 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. A great sadness is that, without malice, friends and family also begin to fall away because the truth is so unbearable and nobody knows what to say. In their own way, they are also grieving. Due to the nature of private family court, 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.
Aside from the ripple effects of damage on our entire society, the implications to the mental well-being of the parent is catastrophic. There is no government agency to help. Often, due to restrictions on disclosure, the parents cannot tell anyone what has happened. It is therefore difficult to obtain theraputic assistance from anyone who understands. Cruelly, they are often dropped after child removal and told to just 'get over it'. They rarely do.
This is where we step in.
We are aware of the issue these people face and 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.
We scoop them gently up, guard their hearts and minds and carefully help them to rebuild, 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 are all - Back From The Brink.
Back From The Brink – Registered charity number: 1183541