Depending on your situation this process will vary but generally you will need to do the following in order to make use of a child contact centre.
Work out which type of contact service you need
- It is important that your child is safe using our services so you will need to make sure that you work out which type of contact service you need.
- You may have been told what type of service to look for or you may want to look on this website to work out what contact service is going to be best for your situation.
- It is likely that you will need either supported contact or supervised contact. But you may need one of the other specialist services offered such as a supervised assessment, indirect contact, escorted contact or life story identity contact. If you are looking for a safe meeting place for your child to be collected by their other family member then it may be that a handover service would be helpful.
Find your local centre
- Find out where your local centre is and if they offer the service you need. You will need to go on ‘Find a Centre’, select the service you need and enter the postcode to find centres nearest to that postcode that offer the service. Please note, we recommend that a centre is as close to where your child lives as possible.
Applying to use a contact centre
- You have to apply to go to a contact centre. This application is called a ‘referral’.
- Decide if you can refer yourself to the centre or if you need your solicitor, family mediator or Cafcass officer to make the referral on your behalf.
- Once the centre has received your referral application they decide if they are able to offer you a place.
Go for your pre-visit meeting
- If the centre can accept your referral, the centre co-ordinator will invite you and your child to attend the centre for a meeting to have a look round, chat about your situation and explain what they can offer. We call this a pre-visit.
- If you don’t live with your child, your visit will be at a separate time to your child’s visit.
- At this meeting you will be able to go through any queries or concerns you might have and also for how long you can use the centre. They will complete some paperwork with you which they will ask you to sign. This paperwork confirms what is going to happen during contact and will help them make sure it is set up properly.
Acceptance by the centre
- The centre co-ordinator will then write to you and your child to let you know if you are able to use their service and if so when this can start.
- If the centre cannot accept your referral they may suggest other options or alternative services that may be able to help.