Fegans’ Election Plea
Fegans’ job is to counsel traumatized and vulnerable children and work with parents to achieve a wholesome, enjoyable, hope-filled family life.
However, much of the issues we deal with have, at their core, common characteristics which we would want the incoming Government to address. This, therefore is our petition for the next Prime Minister’s inbox.
Dear Prime Minister
As you start this new parliamentary term I am aware that you will have many urgent issues facing you including the threat of terrorism, Brexit and the economy. However, I would assure you that if you prioritise my petition your next 5 years will undoubtedly strengthen the next generation. Firstly, please indulge me as I explain who we are.
Fegans is a 150 year old charity that has adapted our working practices to address the needs of vulnerable children and families of the day. But the escalation in mental health issues that we are seeing is so fast, so complex, so damaging to children that although we have doubled the numbers of children we see each week in the last year we would need to keep that rate of growth going for 30 years to reach all the children that need help. Indeed, if every counsellor in the UK committed to only see children for the next 2 years they would, at the end of that time, still have a waiting list over 3 years long.
So whilst my charity has a great solution to many issues facing children and families and we need all the money we can raise, my plea is NOT for more (or even any) funding. No, I would simply like to ask your new Government to commit to the following –
- Enforce the Family Courts to adhere to the model outlined in the 1991 Children’s Act. A model where separation is no longer a lawyer-fueled court battle with the children as weapons of choice that inflicts deep and lasting damage, which Fegans is then asked to fix (waiting lists permitting). Let’s accept that separation is NOT about justice for either parent – there is little if any. Our priority is limiting the damage to the children.
- Ban social media for under 16s. This is admittedly tricky. But if we don’t, future generations will judge us for our failure to protect children from grooming, hard core violent pornography, trolling, body shaming, cyber bullying and the like; they will see us as morally reprehensible as the Victorians who sent homeless children down coal mines and up chimneys (that, incidentally, led to Fegans being founded).
- Fund and implement community-based parenting. Good parenting strategies cannot just be made up – they have common attributes and we should be clear that poor parenting produces unhappy kids and that good parenting means boundaries, family values, loving quality 1-2-1 time, taking responsibility and being the grown-up. In return I make this pledge: if you commit to the above, the need for Fegans will decrease to such an extent that by the time of the next general election Fegans could well no longer be needed; but you will be known as the great social reforming Prime Minister who saved a generation of children.