Accreditation of child contact services is something that demonstrates that Child Contact Services are safe and appropriate places for children to have contact with parents and other family members that they no longer live with.
As we grow and develop we are constantly reviewing our standards, policies, procedures, processes, training and so on. This means that we are constantly getting better at what we do. One of the benefits of being a small, but national charity is that we are able to be flexible and change quickly to respond to changing needs. This can only be a good thing because it helps us to ensure that families receive services that work for them when they most need them.
A recent example of this includes an addition to the National Standards that accredited centres work to. NACCC now has standards that cover the following circumstances.
- Supported Child Contact Centres
- Supervised Child Contact Centres
- Supervised Child Contact Services.
What is a Child Contact Service and how is it different to a Child Contact Centre?
In terms of our standards, a Child Contact Service is an organisation providing contact without the traditional fixed contact centre as the main venue for offering services.
Child Contact Services are organisations that work predominantly in the community. Our new standards require these organisations to do extensive work on their complaints, lone working and risk assessment processes.
The people running these services are qualified and experienced professionals. The people offering the services also have qualifications and a high level of training that enables them to anticipate and meet the needs of children and families.
This enables children to enjoy time with family members in more natural community-based environments, where this is deemed to be in the best interests of these children, as well as being safe.
The contact sessions remain fully supervised. This means that staff will be within sight and sound of children at all times, but they also ensure that this looks natural to people in the community so that families do not stand out when receiving services. Staff will also continue to write contact reports (after sessions are completed) so that this information is available to families and the professionals who support them. Staff offering these services will not usually be wearing marked uniforms or have identity badges on display to avoid stigma within communities.
The locations used for this service will vary. However, the staff will have completed careful risk assessments prior to any service being delivered. Families will be able to enjoy time:
At the Beach.
At the Park.
At the Library.
In a Shopping Centre.
At the local Soft Play.
In a School or Children’s Centre.
The list is endless and this is what makes the service special. Where this can be offered safely and in agreement with all parties contact can take place in natural venues that might be more like the types of things that families have done together in the past, or that they might do together in the future.
This service is particularly beneficial to rural communities where the nearest centre might be a long way away. It also has benefits for professionals from a range of disciplines (social services, Cafcass, family support and so on) that might be working with families in more flexible ways to meet the individual needs of these families.
If you would like any more information about this service, you will find it on this website, alternatively, you are most welcome to contact our helpline on 0115 948 4557 or by contacting us by email at email@example.com