It takes a village to raise a child, but not everybody has a village to turn to. We may not be aware that we can and should ask for help, but every community needs a Billy Katz to build a village.

Our Kids First UK Charity
Our Kids First UK Charity

Advocating for the children.

It takes a village to raise a child, but not everybody has a village to turn to. We may not be aware that we can and should ask for help, but every community needs a Billy Katz to build a village.

Billy Katz is a man who insisted on making a WhatsApp group for divorced dads, and with the help of those dads turned it into Our Kids First. Ari and Billy were neighbours in a cul-de-sac where Ari laughs aloud how he barely acknowledged Billy at first. They were both divorced within six months of each other, along with another four families in their street. Billy insisted Ari join his WhatsApp group, Ari declined, Billy persisted, Ari caved in. In early 2019 there were five men on the group and by June there were 40 all supporting each other in various ways.

Ari decided to host dinners for the group members, and until today they encourage socials to build stronger community ties. At one of these dinners, Billy encouraged a man he knew was alone to join them. It appears it's impossible to say no to Billy. From Billy's random act of kindness, this man found the support and care that he needed without having to ask. Ari's small home seemed to have infinite space.

When there is room in the heart, there is room in the home.

Between the members of their Whatsapp group they helped this man find housing, furniture, and assisted him with his divorce (including child arrangements) all in lockdown. From this one kind act they realised the strength of their group and went on to help dozens of other people. Their WhatsApp group expanded to 60 members. The professionals within the group can offer advice ranging from finances, social services, solicitors, the religious system to the very basic 'I am hungry and I don't know how to cook, & I can't afford food.'

You can't negotiate a parenting schedule when you are starving.

At first they helped men, but over time women heard about their services and asked for help with their soon to be ex-husbands and ex-husbands. They would contact the ex and encourage them to think of their children, which wasn't always appreciated but there have been times in the middle of the night where arguments have escalated and they have turned up to help calm the situation.

They were growing and knew that it was time to turn this into something official and hire skilled professionals. The original members of the group took a spa day to brainstorm.Billy, Ari, Dov (knows about finances and Form E's) and Shuli (understands pastoral care and helps with emotions and practical support + social events) were the original members (plus another member). They determined that at the core of all the work they were doing, it was the children that needed the most protection. Protection from their parents, extended family, the lawyers, social workers and societal ignorance.

Children are not victims of divorce, children are the victims of the adults bad behaviour, fighting over finances, and collectively making bad decisions that affects the children.

Our Kids First became a charity in 2021, and in the past year have served over 150 families. They don't charge a fee to the families, but rely on their donations and other generous donations. They don't advertise their services either, they don't need to. What makes them different to the other charities that serve families of divorce is that they predominantly focus on the Jewish community as their divorce has an extra layer in that there is a religious court called the Beit Din that provides a Get- the religious document of divorce. For religious families, the parenting schedule requires more planning with the holidays and sabbath.

Our client is 'Jewish with kids.' You don't have to be Orthodox.

The future of Our Kids First is expanding and holding a fundraising campaign to:

  • Hire 4-5 divorce professionals, and a Head of Operations.
  • Therapeutic Support for parents and kids. This can be actual therapy or home support.
  • Food- an essential ingredient to decision making can only happen when basic needs are met. (https://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html)

They will also be creating 4 educational programmes:

1: Separated Parents Information Program: They are working with a mental health professional to develop their own program to help with single parenting.

2: Educating schools. They have been asked by schools for help with how to support children of high conflict divorce and divorce in general. SENCO support and teacher's sensitivity towards children with two homes. ie forgetting trainers or homework at the other parent's home and how not to single out a child but to reach out to the parents instead. How to help the parent's. They will be joining up with the Southampton Mediation Trust to develop this programme.

3:High Conflict Communication Course. This course will blend the teachings of non-violent communication (NVC) and BIFF (brief, informative, friendly, and firm). Opening up the path to healthier communication between divorced couples will inevitably benefit the children.

Billy is a Divorce Coach, and Ari is a certified Mediator. The members of the WhatsApp group continue to offer their support and advice to those in need. In 2022 they hired Nehama, a family mediator and civil mediator with a background in law.

If you want to get in touch with OKF, I suggest using their website contact. They openly admit their social media accounts are quiet, but that is because they are busy working.

Our Kids First – a child-centred approach to divorce

Our Kids First

@ourkidsfirst or FB: Our Kids First


For those who aren't aware of the complexities of a Jewish Divorce, the Chabad is always a great place for information.

'In Judaism, marriage between living spouses is terminated through a special divorce ceremony, whereby the husband gives his wife a document of divorce known as a get in the presence of witnesses. Written by a scribe, the get is prepared and given under the careful guidance of a beit din (Jewish ecclesiastical court).'

If you would like to share your story or you are a professional who wants to share some insights, please email me at contact@angryexwife.com