FHN Director, Dr Samantha Callan, awarded OBE

Posted 3rd January 2024

Her final report, the ‘Independent Review of the CMS response to Domestic Abuse’, published in 2023, recommended:

  • Preventing the CMS being deliberately used as a form of coercion and control (for example, by withholding maintenance or making deliberately erratic payments).
  • Doing more to ensure child maintenance liabilities for low-income paying parents are affordable.
  • Including both parents’ income in child maintenance calculations.

She also emphasised the need to integrate early intervention with the CMS, so parents are helped to avoid or resolve entrenched conflict at an early stage. Family Hubs have a key role in providing this support and linking it to services to tackle debt, mental health, housing and other problems often faced by separating families, in which at least a third of all children live.

Samantha has championed Family Hubs since 2006, to fulfil the 1989 Children Act requirement for local authorities to provide family centres and the need for universal family support identified after the second world war as part of the founding of the modern welfare state. Family breakdown then, as now, was a major social problem but efforts to improve family stability have to run alongside an awareness of the prevalence of domestic abuse. Family Hubs’ accessibility, connectedness and relational approach make them key places for the delivery of non-stigmatising support for victims of domestic abuse. 

We are delighted that she has been honoured for her unstinting efforts to bring together, in local areas, all the help families and children need, so they can overcome challenges and thrive. The Family Hub journey in England has started well but there is still a long way to go. There is much we need to do together, across the UK, to build on this welcome recognition of the importance of family support to national flourishing.

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