At Pro-Contact, CANW we have learnt the importance of indirect contact, a specialist supervised service enabling parents and children to stay in touch following family separation, particularly when there are difficulties in direct contact. Indirect contact is also used as a means to reintroduce children to their parent after a gap in contact and can be used successfully at pre-visits as well as at formal sessions with children to prepare them for contact.

As part of this service [which is checked as part of NACCC’s enhanced accreditation for supervised contact] we ask parents to create interesting and child friendly materials to engage their child and to spark an interest in direct contact. Children who are reluctant to have direct contact are often interested in a short video, photographs of memories and letters. To support both parents with this we have produced a handbook with tips and guidance, advice on long term indirect contact, social media and children’s development. Pro-Contact’s other form of indirect contact is our post box service. Parents use this to keep in touch with their children when it has been decided that direct contact is not in a child’s best interest. Parents’ addresses are kept confidential and staff check the content before forwarding it on to the children.

Hannah Wilson, Pro-Contact, CANW (Supervised and Supported Contact Centre, Salford)

Some examples of indirect contact…

Please see an example of a letter sent to a 9-year-old child who has been reluctant to have direct contact.
An example of a page from the All About Me booklet for a 7 year old child who will be meeting her mother next week for supported contact after 18 months of not seeing her.
An example of a piece of indirect contact for a child aged 11 who has long term indirect contact with her father for the past 4 years. The father emails a special account set up for indirect contact four times a year. He also sends presents through the post. The father has no knowledge of his child’s interest and well-being and the child does not respond to the contact.

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