NRS Child Contact Centre was established in 2006 and provides supervised and supported contact, alongside other services, working in partnership with Cafcass, local authorities throughout the UK, solicitors and accepts self-referrals. NRS is located just off at the end of the High Street in Lewisham, south-east London with local rail and bus links. There are local buses from Lewisham station and the bus stops are located outside of the station. There is metered car parking outside the centre and a small carpark used mainly for the pool cars that staff use but if a space is required for a client that has a physical disability one will be made available. A large shopping complex (along with market stalls) is nearby and local parks which are approximately a 10-15 minute walk.
The main centre is on the ground floor and is able to accommodate families where there are wheelchair users although there are contact rooms on the first floor and basement. The centre has the use of three or four contact rooms (a room can also be used as a meeting room), all of which are of a high standard of decoration and cleanliness along with plenty of natural light. All rooms have signage, and the centre tries to keep the same room for the family for consistency. There is a kitchen, a large office space, reception area and a waiting area. There are toilets available on all floors including a toilet accessible for disabled persons. Baby changing facilities are also available. All toilets are clearly signed and were clean with relevant handwashing, hand towels, hand sanitisers and toilet paper.
The centre is child friendly with a good selection of equipment available for families to use but at the time of the report, due to Covid-19 restrictions, families were bringing in their own toys to use during the contact sessions and taking them home after the session had finished. If the child/ren were in foster care the foster carer was providing the necessary toys for the contact centre. At the time of the report, on entry to the centre it stated clearly that all must wear face coverings on entry and when moving about the building. In the session the supervisor was to wear a face covering but clients could remove theirs as long as social distancing is adhered to with supervisors.
The centre has an easy-to-use website where referrers and clients can find out the necessary information about the different services the centre offers, including photos of the centre and contact rooms. There is clear information about the referral process and all forms can be downloaded from the website. The website states clear information about the operation of the centre but clients will need to call the centre regarding costs for service. The centre has a map which states clear directions and local transport and will provide, if required, an interpreter for families but the charge will be met either by the client or referrer.
All the necessary documents required for supported, handovers & supervised contact sessions are signed by the various parties at the contact planning meeting and further meetings where necessary. Clear expectations are stated on forms including the wishes and needs of the children attending for contact. The Co-ordinator ensures that workers are allocated to families with two named workers for consistency.
NRS has a good pool of sessional contact workers, with the coordinator and personnel staff being full or part time. NRS also has a Board of Trustees who will assist with the operations of service. All staff have the relevant qualifications and experience to supervise contact sessions and at the time of the report, the necessary Covid-19 risk assessments and processes were in place. The service has three lease cars that are used for transporting children and will only transport children in the care of the local authority. All vehicles have British Association for Adoption and Fostering approved child car seats. All community sessions have an updated risk assessment completed and careful, discreet supervision is maintained by the contact workers.
The centre is very well resourced with staff, equipment for workers (computers etc) along with good size contact rooms and equipment for families. The director has appreciated the team’s hard work in getting the centre to a high standard and implementing changes that have benefitted all who work at the centre as well as the families. The centre meets the NACCC national standards required for enhanced (supervised) child contact.