A contact centre is a safe place for children to spend time with people that they care about that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to see.
Before contact starts the centre will invite you to have a look round, meet the staff and see the centre. We call this a ‘pre-visit’. Your child and the family member that they live with will have a separate visit at another time. This visit is a good chance for you all to find out about how the centre will work with your family but it is also really important that you are able to share about your situation so that the centre staff can make sure that their service is going to be right for your situation. (See our other questions about what happens at a pre-visit for more detail)
As long as the pre-visits go well and the centre is still happy to accept your application you will be invited to come for your first contact session. A contact session is where you and your child can spend time together, do an activity or play a game.
Depending on if you are using a supported or a supervised centre (and also on the layout of the centre) there might be several families using the centre at the same time, or you might have the contact room to yourself with a member of staff observing.
Because centres are all different it might be best to ask them about how they will support you and what will be happening there.