Thoughts on 2020 by the Chair of CFAB, Michael Phair

December 2020

We are all coming to the end of what has been a rollercoaster of a year, in all manner of speaking.  

As Chair of Children and Families Across Borders, I have had the privilege of working alongside our Board, our staff group and our team of international social workers throughout this seismic year.  

There have been more than a few challenging moments, in which the essential safeguarding and protection services we provide to children have had to rapidly change and adapt to the new working conditions of a global pandemic. As the only UK member of the International Social Services, we have a unique international reach and network, enabling us to reunite families where others can’t.  During the summer months, calls to our Advice Line increased by 56%, with many concerned with the risk of domestic violence. We have seen a significant increase in our direct case work, with many highly complex requests.  

Leaving the Herculean task of responding to children’s needs during COVID-19 aside for a moment, the year 2020 is particularly special to me as it marks CFAB’s 65th anniversary. Our celebratory plans have changed somewhat, although its meaning remains the same. CFAB was formed after the Second World War and over the last six and a half decades we have protected the most vulnerable children through war, uprisings, migration challenges and now a global pandemic. Today our mission seems more relevant than ever: to ensure vulnerable children and families who are separated across international borders are given care and protection, no matter where they come from.  

The road ahead is no doubt steep: children are on the move globally more than ever; nations are closing down legal migration routes as well as borders; the UK will have to adapt its legislation and face the financial and social consequences of both Brexit and COVID-19. With our history, expertise and network of partners in over 130 countries, CFAB will continue to be at the forefront of influencing policy domestically to help deliver best practice in the fields of international child protection and family reunification.  

In the year to come, we will build further on our experience through innovation: by implementing new ways of working such as processing cases remotely, supporting new service development and building the capacity of our child protection partners overseas.  

In order to do this, I need to ask for your help. This year has placed a financial strain on CFAB like no other. In order to raise additional funds, we have launched an end of year fundraising appeal and I would be most grateful if you would consider making a donation.  

CFAB have been given a very special opportunity from The Dulverton Trust, one of our long-term supporters. They will match fund any donation you make during 1st December to 8th December through the Christmas Big Give Challenge.  It really is extraordinary to think what a gift of £50, £500 or even £1,000 – then doubled – could do to propel our work forward.  

Please do consider helping us make the most of the remarkable match funding offer and help us to help others just when they need us most.

Support CFAB and have your donation doubled #GivingTuesday