Welcome - European Network on Family Group Conference

Democratizing help and welfare in Europe
Tunnel dad

Cristina is a Family Group Coordinator who was struggling to get in contact with a father. He is a full-time activist, which meant he was either up a tree or underground in London’s tunnels, out of reception and reach. She was trying to contacting him to arrange a meeting. He claimed he had no one that could come to the meeting. He had recently been informed he had a baby currently in foster care. He was in shock from the news and found it difficult to process. Cristina decided to ask the social worker whether they should offer an advocate to help explain his situation better. She called her colleague Jourdelle to try and ensure his wishes and feelings. They were careful to approach him gently as he could disengage from the situation. He didn’t have stable accommodation, and he couldn’t visualise a life with his child. Jourdelle described how most people have nine months to prepare for a child, and this new father had a couple of months to adjust to the news and make his decision. Meanwhile, Cristina worked on gathering his network. This task was proving difficult due to his mother living abroad without access to the internet. An unusual consequence of his phone being confiscated by the police was that they didn’t have access to his mother’s contact details. When the day of the FGC arrived, Cristina had to coordinate international calls, three different interpreters, and the call kept dropping. Throughout the call, they could hear cockerels on his grandmother’s farm, making everyone laugh. Jourdelle read from the father’s wishes and feelings to make sure they weren’t lost to the chaos of the meeting. The father agreed to take care of the baby with the help of his mother, who had a big house and help abroad. After the meeting, he acknowledged to Jourdelle that the outcome was what he wanted. The patience given by the coordinators allowed him to decide without panic.


A story from the UK


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