Supervised Contact

Supervised contact is used when it has been determined that a child has suffered or is at risk of suffering harm during contact. Referrals will usually be made by a court, CAFCASS officer, local authority or another child contact centre, but in exceptional circumstances a child contact centre may accept a self-referral. Supervised contact ensures the physical safety and emotional well being of a child. It also assists in building and sustaining positive relationships between a child and members of their non-resident family. This requires supervisors who are skilled and confident enough to intervene immediately and firmly if necessary and can work professionally in a planned way with vulnerable children and highly distressed adults. Supervised contact requires the following:

  • Individual supervision of contact with the supervisor in constant sight and sound of the child, which, in turn requires that they have the support of a nearby colleague.
  • A high commitment of resources including continuity of supervision and the professional oversight of staff.
  • The supervisor and the centre having access to all relevant court papers and transcripts of any judgements in order to supervise effectively. The party making the referral ensuring that the court gives permission for such disclosure.
  • All contact to be closely observed and recorded in a manner appropriate to the purpose of protecting children and working in a planned way with parents.
  • A venue that provides privacy and confidentiality to each child and family and is structured to provide maximum safety to all concerned and maximum stimulation for children.
  • Contact is time limited with a planned aim to regularly access and review progress and the possibility of safer future outcomes.
The level of supervision may be reduced in a planned way after a professional assessment has been made. Some families, after being assessed, may move from constant supervision to an immediate level of supervision, escorted outings, supported or unrestricted contact, while other will always need the security of full supervision.
Supervised contact is provided by a variety of agencies, both in the voluntary sector and by the local authorities. Facilities will therefore vary, and different models will be offered.