Family Contact Services (previously Pembrokeshire Family Contact Centre) is in Neyland, Wales. The name change is due to a recent council restructure but has not altered the service. Neyland is in an area of deprivation and this centre only takes referrals from Pembrokeshire County Council and Cafcass Cymru. There are local and national bus services which serve the area, and a train service is in operation.
The accreditation visit was carried out remotely.
The building is owned by the county council and must meet their standards. The outside is equipped for disabled access (handrails and ramps) and has clear signage with on-road parking available just outside of the centre. The building is appropriate for contact and the rooms are bright and child friendly with displays on the wall for children and information around the building for families. The contact centre is equipped for babies and older children with a range of activities, toys and resources. There are areas for play and areas for non-resident parents to just spend quiet time with their child/ren. There is a kitchen area which families can use. Internal doors have an automatic locking system, with push button access. The bathrooms are well equipped for children and families and appear clean, tidy, and maintained.
The centre leaflets contain an excellent amount of information which give referrers and parents a good idea of the centre, the purpose of contact, what happens and who does what. Contact plans are always in place and the service delivered is personalised, reflecting the needs of the family/parent. Details of who will bring the child to the centre and who will collect are recorded on the contact plan, as are details about photos, videos, gifts, food and drink. At the time of the report, rules around Covid19 were being shared and the staff team were making sure that parents were familiar with procedures to lessen the risk and ensure that they were kept safe whilst accessing the centre.
Contact workers keep children at the heart of what they are doing, taking into account their needs, wishes and views. Where possible children are welcomed into the centre as part of the pre-visit meeting to ensure that they are familiar with the setting, however in some cases this is not always appropriate. Children are spoken to at the beginning of contact sessions and workers will talk to the children about what the session entails and set up either a safe word or safe toy that the child can use to demonstrate that they are uncomfortable with contact and that it needs to stop. Working with children is social worker led and there are workers within the local authority social work team who will work with children. The co-ordinator works in partnership with Cafcass workers to ensure that children’s needs are met. Staggered arrivals and departures are used, as are separate entrances and exits. The centre maintains safety at all times and ensures that children are safe.
Reviews are carried out at the social worker’s discretion, in conjunction with the centre staff who are allocated the family case. They are completed with the social worker or Cafcass worker and recorded on the individual case notes on the centre`s system. Changes to contact plans are made considering the wishes and feelings of parents and children.
Transport can be arranged through the centre, but this is used less now. It is a requirement that staff use their own car for transporting families to and from the centre, that they have adequate business insurance and a valid MOT certificate. Staff providing transport must have completed their level 1 in Safeguarding training, have a photo ID and shadow an existing member of the team before they are able to provide transport alone. There are car seats in the centre and these meet requirements and are checked for safety and suitability regularly.
No home visits are carried out.
Some local authority contact is delivered at a centre in Hakin, Pembrokeshire. None of the contact sessions carried out at the Hakin centre are completed for Cafcass and all of the policies and procedures, paperwork and systems remain the same and are suitable.
This is a busy and well-run centre with the same manager in place for many years. At the time of the report the centre was experiencing a restructure, however the manager was dealing with it well ensuring that staff were supported. The contact sessions have not been affected and families continue to be well supported. The centre meets the requirements for enhanced (supervised contact) reaccreditation.