Swan Family Centre – Croydon North is overseen by Swanstaff Recruitment which operates within a wide range of sectors across the UK. Swanstaff has many service level agreements with local council authorities in England and Wales and is a growing contact service. The centre works closely with the centres located in Lambeth and Croydon South with staff working between all three centres. Croydon is served by East Croydon, South Croydon and West Croydon rail links and has many buses that run from central London to Croydon and the south west. The Croydon North Centre is in Thornton Heath just off the main town centre. There are excellent transport links to the centre and free parking is available on a street adjacent to the centre, although it does get busy. Thornton Heath is serviced by London bus routes 50, 60, 64, 109, 130, 198, 250, 289, 450, 468 and X68 and has a railway station 8 miles down the line from London Victoria. There is a local park within walking distance with a good selection of shops and local cafes for families to use if community contact is in place.
The Swan Family Croydon North is on ground level with 3 rooms that can be used for contact sessions, one of which can facilitate a larger family. A small kitchen area is available, and there are toilets that meet the requirements for NACCC. A waiting area is available, and everyone signs in on entry which is next to the office. The centre has a good variety of equipment for all ages with a strict cleaning regime. There is no outdoor facility available at the centre but as mentioned above there are local parks within a short walking distance away along with local shops and affordable eating places.
At the time of the report Information was available for all to be aware of coronavirus and what is expected when using the centre. Staff and clients were no longer required to wear face masks although social distancing was still in operation.
Swan Family Centre’s website has clear information about operating operations, where centres are located, pictures of rooms and facilities available. It also has a map showing the location of the centre and relevant transport links. The centre has leaflets for parents/referrers and information on charges are given to families/referrers when an enquiry is made to the centre for possible contact sessions. All families are clear about these charges, opening hours and contact details for the centre. Prior to using the services all families are given information about the procedures that needs to be followed by all clients and staff to ensure the safety of all at the centre.
The centre’s main referrals are from local London boroughs which Swanstaff contact services has contracts with. The centre has a referral form for looked after children in care proceedings. Families that are going through or have gone through the court can complete a referral on-line securely or request via email.
As in the team at Swan Family Centre Lambeth, the staff at Croydon North also work between these centres along with Croydon South. The team comprises of a good selection of qualified staff, qualified in NVQ Level 3 health and social care, social work, to staff with law degrees. The centre staff team reflect the diversity of the local community. The centre manager ensures that workers are allocated to families with 2 named workers for consistency. They ensure all contact workers are clear of what needs to be observed during the contact sessions and potential risks.
During the pre-contact meeting families are informed of the processes and services they will be getting and by whom. Contact plans are put in place including for any handovers and indirect contact being provided. Risk assessments are completed prior to contact being held in the community or in family homes with a clear procedure in place in case of emergencies. Staggered arrivals and departures are put in place. Staff at the centre do not use their own vehicle for transporting children. Children are either brought to the centre by the resident parent or if the centre is facilitating a contact session for the local borough, children are brought to the centre by their foster carer or use the allocated taxi firm registered with the local social services borough. Reviews are completed for private referrals and staff attend Looked After Children (LAC) reviews with a prepared report sent prior to the meeting. The manager liaises closely with social workers allocated to families. Signed copies of all in attendance are given to relevant parties with detailed summary of future work where applicable.
Most of the families who attend the Croydon North centre are self-referrals. To the best of the centre manager’s ability, they will encourage the child/ren to visit the centre when the pre visit is being conducted with the resident parent prior to any contact sessions being offered. This gives the child/ren an opportunity to look at the facilities available and to meet the contact supervisors. The centre uses child evaluation forms for feedback along with receiving a selection of thank you cards from clients.
The assessment carried out shows that Swan Family Services is providing a safe and caring environment in which to facilitate contact. Centre management have demonstrated a keen commitment to meeting the NACCC national standards, evidenced by the level of work input over several months. The premises were clean, inviting, and well-resourced to meet the requirements for NACCC standards. The centre provides a good quality service for their users and staff. It was a pleasure visiting the centre and meeting the staff team. The centre meets the requirements for enhanced (supervised) accreditation.