• Help and Support for Separated Families Press Release


    As a service which holds the Help and Support for Separated Families Quality Mark, we wanted to share this press release which explains the importance of the Quality Mark and its progress:

    27 June 2014

    Organisations line up to help parents and children remain a family after separation

    Family separation is highly stressful and all the research shows that children cope with the change best if parents collaborate. But doing so isn’t always easy and that’s why parents need to know where to go to get help.

    The Help and Support for Separated Families (HSSF) Mark does just that and after a the number of organisations signing up to has far exceeded expectations. Managed and promoted by 4Children, the HSSF Mark was initially launched a year ago as part of the Department for Work and Pensions’ wider Help and Support for Separated Families programme. The ‘mark’ was awarded to organisations that can demonstrate commitment to helping separated parents collaborate with their ex-partners in the best interests of their children as they go through their separation journey.

    It was initially estimated that 25 to 50 organisations would apply for the mark during the initial pilot phase. However 4Children reports that 35 organisations have successfully achieved the Mark by the time the pilot phase closed, with over 40 on a growing waiting list, surpassing all initial expectations of interest. The actual number of applications was considerably higher as some of the original applications were transferred to umbrella organisations that could act as accrediting bodies for their members.

    In a further endorsement of the relevance and value of the mark to the sector, research carried out by 4Children showed that 72% of the organisations who expressed interest in receiving the mark said they would be willing to pay for it.

    Steve Webb, Minister of State at the Department for Work and Pensions, said: I am delighted that 35 organisations have now been awarded the HSSF mark. We know that children do better when parents work together, even after separation. That’s why we want to make sure that separated parents can turn to organisations which will try to help them through separation in a way that is collaborative and which puts their children’s needs at the heart of the process.

    “The mark can provide reassurance to parents at what is often a difficult time and it’s been particularly encouraging to see the range of excellent support that exists for families and the diversity of organisations that are keen to carry the mark.”

    Peter Rogers, National Programmes Director at 4Children, said: “The HSSF Mark gives parents a clear signal that help is at hand at this highly stressful and destabilising time. I hope that the work we have started continues to grow so that more and more families can easily find the support they need to thrive beyond separation.”

    Sarah Read, 4Children Project Lead for the Help and Support for Separated Families Mark, said: “The huge interest and demand that has been shown in the mark shows just how relevant and valuable it is to a wide range of organisations who work with families on a regular basis. National and local organisations right across the country have applied for it - from mediation services, contact centres and web based organisations to national helplines and Children’s Centres. It is also testament to its value that despite acute financial pressures, the majority of organisations surveyed felt that such a mark of recognition was something they’d be willing to pay for.”