Elizabeth Coe, NACCC CEO heads up the staff team at NACCC
Welcome to our newsletter – we are trying to keep you as up to date as possible. Do let us know what you think and please do share as widely as you can, to your staff and volunteers, management committee and supporters. We want to spread the message far and wide…
Parliamentary outreach and engagement on the Domestic Abuse Bill
While we have been in lockdown over the last six months, NACCC has been working virtually with MPs and Peers to promote changes to the Domestic Abuse Bill. We are promoting an amendment to ensure universal accreditation for all Child Contact Centres, so there is a level playing field in child contact. As a charity we are committed to improving standards and safeguarding in the sector, to improve protections for children and ensure better quality child contact.
The Domestic Abuse Bill is currently in the House of Lords waiting for its Second Reading date. Baroness Finlay and Baroness McIntosh (Vice President of The National Association of Child Contact Centres) will table an amendment in the House of Lords to seek universal accreditation. The amendment will protect the child’s interests during divorce and separation, to ensure where necessary they are protected against domestic abuse, and where appropriate they retain a meaningful relationship with their non-resident parent.
A link to our submission to the House of Commons Public Bill Committee can be found via the link below:
We also, recently, re-launched our All-Party Parliamentary Group on Child Contact Centres. Alex Norris MP is the Chair with Baroness Anne McIntosh as Vice Chair, members also include Jess Phillips MP, Shadow Minister for Domestic Violence and Safeguarding, Lee Rowley MP and Baroness Finlay. The group will focus on our Bill work and securing the amendment for universal accreditation over the coming months.
NACCC’s virtual AGM and conference was very successful this year with over 70 delegates attending with representation from over 30 accredited centres.
Child contact centre co-ordinators across the UK were able to come together for NACCC’s first online AGM chaired by our trustee Lesley. Lesley took the opportunity to take a look at NACCC’s achievements over the last year which are underpinned by the charity’s finances presented by our treasurer Malcolm.
Elizabeth Coe (NACCC’s CEO) paid tribute to the work of the NACCC team and of course all the accredited centres up and down the country which have worked so hard keeping services going virtually during the pandemic, keeping in touch with families and getting back up and running now for children going through divorce and separation. She acknowledged that times were still difficult with some areas affected by local lockdowns and recommended the new ‘Coffee Shop Live’ forum for co-ordinators to offer each other mutual support at this time. Elizabeth and Service Development Manager Phil launched the online seminar series which follows the AGM meeting (see below). Tribute was also made to Alan who will be retiring soon after 14 years of managing the finances of the charity – he will be greatly missed.
As mentioned above Elizabeth Coe and Phil Coleman have prepared a host of seminars for you which have been sent out to all centres following the AGM. If you haven’t had a chance to take a look yet please do clicking on the ‘Sway’ link below.
These can also be found on our YouTube channel
- Family Hubs Network
- Contact Lockdown & Beyond
- GDPR & Code of Conduct
- Fundraising for Child Contact Centres
- Advice Now
- Match Mothers
- National Centre for Domestic Abuse
- Child Contact in Japan
- EduCare – The Changing Face of Safeguarding
- Only Mums & Dads
- Parenting Apart
Centre status update
Thank you for sending in details regarding your centre’s status in relation to the pandemic. We have the latest figures (as at 1st October 2020) to share with you. These figures reflect a huge amount of hard work that is going on behind the scenes ensuring risk assessments, equipment, new layouts and safety procedures are all in place. We are not wanting to put pressure on centres to reopen as it is of utmost importance that centres reopen safely.
- 46% of supported centres are now open, with 31% making plans to reopen. 23% were still closed for the time being. [On 3rd August 2020 17% of supported centres were open with 50% making plans to reopen]
- 78% of enhanced accredited centres are now open, with 20% making plans to reopen. 2% were still closed for the time being. [On 3rd August 2020 50% were open with 34% making plans to reopen]
- The majority of supported centres (69%) thought that it would not be until into 2021 before they could work with the number of families that they would have expected prior to lockdown. 44% of enhanced centres thought the same.
- 75% of enhanced centres and 38% of supported centres had been able to offer virtual contact during this period
- 84% of enhanced centres and 31% of supported centres now hope to offer virtual contact alongside face to face services
Please see the report download for full details.
Statistics update: Findings and trends for the period 1st April to 30th June 2020
To complement the above we felt it would be helpful to share the findings and trends from the first quarter’s statistics submitted by accredited child contact centres for the period 1st April to 30th June 2020.
Available and booked contact sessions at 35% compared with last year with supported centres hit hardest
Supported contact: Overall the number of available supported sessions was at 24% of those available in same period last year, because of the temporary closure of centres due the pandemic.
- 699 of available supported sessions were at supported only centres (15% of what was available in same period last year)
- 5,519 of available supported sessions were at centres providing both types (26% of what was available in same period last year)
Supervised contact: Overall, the number of available supervised sessions was at 41% of those available in the same period last year, again due to the impact of the pandemic.
- 5,229 of available supervised sessions were at supervised only centres – this has increased by 33% on last year. This is possibly linked to increased capacity due to virtual contact not requiring a venue.
- 13,353.5 of available supervised sessions were at centres providing both types (32% of what was available in same period last year)
Supported contact: Overall, the number of booked supported sessions was 7% of those available in the same period last year, again due to the heavy impact of supported centre closures.
- 186 of booked supported sessions were at supported only centre (6% of those booked in same period last year).
- 359 of booked sessions were at centres providing both contact types (8% of booked sessions in same period last year)
Supervised contact: Overall, the number of booked supervised sessions was 40% of those booked in the same period last year.
- 2,744 of booked supervised sessions were at supervised only centres (138% of booked sessions in same period last year – this is due to increased capacity of a few centres brought about by virtual contact availability).
- 6,276 were at centres providing both contact types (30% compared with booked sessions in same period last year)
Number of children using centre at 28% overall compared with last year with majority of these using supervised services
Supported contact: Overall, the number of children using supported centres was at 8% compared with the same period last year.
- 299 of these children were using supported only centres (8% compared with children using supported only centres in same period last year).
- 90 of these children were using centres providing both contact types (8% compared with children using these centres in same period last year)
Supervised contact: Overall, the number of children using supervised centres was at 46% compared with the same period last year.
- 636 of these children were using supervised only centres (118% compared with previous year. Again, this is due to increased capacity of some centres delivering virtual contact)
- 1,957 of these children were using centres providing both contact types (38% compared with previous year)
Referrals to centres at 21% overall compared with previous year
As expected, referrals were very low in all categories compared with last year although local authority referrals had not dropped as much, perhaps due to their duty of care.
Referrals received for quarter 1 (compared with Q1 2019-20 shown in brackets)
Training update October 2020
Phil Coleman, Service Development Manager oversees accreditation and training at NACCC
Training has been something that NACCC has given lots of energy to in light of Covid and what this has meant for us. Like all of you we have had to be creative in how we provide this and how we reach people during times when participants cannot come together.
Consequently, we have now significantly expanded our repertoire of online content and our AGM seminars are an example of this.
Coffee Shop Live
NACCC has hosted a number of online events which have had great take up amongst child contact centre staff and volunteers. We are constantly looking for new ways to support the amazing people that we are incredibly fortunate to work with every day. We now have social media groups where centres support one and other and these have become invaluable.
Our live version of the Coffee Shop has been immensely popular giving co-ordinators the chance to talk about anything that is relevant to the operation of Child Contact Centres and the opportunity to share the experiences, memories, knowledge, and wisdom of other members. Do check your emails for the latest dates.
Phil Coleman, Service Development Manager
Spotlight: Neutral Ground share reopening videos with parents
Gemma, Co-ordinator at Neutral Ground Child Contact Cenre in Abbeywood, Greenwich has sent in these fantastic videos which help introduce children and their family to the new look centre following their reopening:
- Covid information for resident parents https://youtu.be/JeP6cqrMZcI
- Covid information for non-resident parents https://youtu.be/T1WwWLzw_fI
Gemma explains the new safety procedures relating to covid and gives them a guided tour round their fantastic new ‘pods’ which enable children to spend time with their family member in a self-contained gazebo area set up especially for them. She told us “We decided to use the gazebos and make contact pods to give the families a safe socially distanced space in which to have contact. The children and contact parents have praised our ingenuity and have asked if we could keep them on a more permanent basis. We’ve been lucky enough to be able to reopen using the pods and will be able to stay open for as long as the government will allow us to”. http://www.neutralground.info/
Well done everyone!
Spotlight: ACC Contact Centre supports 20 families with funded supervised contact
ACC Contact Centre in Dudley managed to secure Lottery funding to enable them to offer free supervised contact for 20 families during lockdown.This is an amazing achievement, so innovative and must have made a huge difference to these families. Christian, Co-ordinator at the centre told us “We wanted to help local families whose finances had been affected by the pandemic which may have meant they couldn’t keep in touch with their children. In partnership with The AoC Trust we were able to offer up to 6 FREE contact sessions at our centre in Dudley.”
Christian went on to say “We were able to reopen on 29th June 2020 and will continue to remain open. Earlier this year we provided several families with creative Zoom support and are now working on creating a tool kit”. The tool-kit will help families to help enhance their interactions over Zoom and has also been funded by the National Lottery.
A C C / Dudley’s Accredited Children’s Contact Centre, is managed by The Arts of Change Trust, a celebrated counselling and therapy registered charity that serves the entire West Midlands region and beyond. For several years The AoC Trust have been supporting all ages with emotional, psychological, behavioural, social and family difficulties and with huge success. It continues to grow today with a staff team of over thirty and is closely affiliated with The Arts of Change Ltd, which has won a number of awards for innovation and creativity. https://www.acccontactcentre.com/
New website and children’s resources sneak peek!
We are so excited to introduce you to the characters from our stories – due to be launched on our website next month. NACCC staff have been working with Rusty Monkey a creative agency based in Nottingham to develop new stories for younger and older children to work alongside a new website for NACCC. Partly funded by the People’s Postcode Trust these have been developed in consultation with the Family Justice Young People’s Board, getting their feedback at appropriate points during the process.
Charlie the hedgehog
Our first story ‘Charlie and the multi-coloured monster’ helps to introduce the concept of supported contact. Charlie’s multicoloured monster changes in size and colour throughout the story reflecting Charlie’s changing mood and emotions. We introduce the rollercoaster of emotions that children can have following their parents’ separation and introduces the contact centre as a way of getting back to some normality.
Sam the robin
Sam is a fiery bird going through the complex emotions of divorce. Sam worries about mum who is not living with them anymore. We see Sam meeting centre worker Stan and the concept of supervised contact is introduced as Stan keeps them company during contact taking notes.
Again, ‘Sam and the multi-coloured monster’ introduces the range of emotions that children affected by divorce and separation can be feeling, how this can affect them physically and helps to explain the potential journey from supervised contact through to supported contact and then contact in the community.
Stan the centre worker
Stan the walrus is an ever-present character in all the stories. As centre worker he represents a friendly but strong and stable presence for Charlie and Sam who are experiencing a time of turmoil and confusion. Stan is there when they have their pre-visit and can answer all the questions that they might have.
Robin the sloth
Robin is angry and sad about what is happening with mum and dad splitting up and didn’t want to have to take sides. ‘Robin and the emotion avatar’ covers similar issues to Charlie and Sam’s stories but explores the complexities of feeling caught in the middle and being protective of siblings.
This story introduces the concept of supported contact to an older reader and also includes more detail on moving on from the centre, living in two homes and getting to know new partners.
And finally… Alex the racoon
‘Alex and the emotion avatar’ follows a similar storyline to Robin’s story but introduces the concept of supervised contact to an older reader. Here we see Alex and the little brother chatting with Stan at the centre “about some of things that have been happening at home… the good bits and the bad bits.
This story explores the anxieties of seeing a parent again after a gap in contact, getting used a supervisor and getting an understanding that both parents still love you. Again the story progresses from supervised contact through to supported contact and then developing a new routine out of the centre.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank the creative team at Rusty Monkey for coming up with such wonderful characters for us! So for the time being… Watch this space!
1. All our latest guidance for parents, families and centres with regards to the coronavirus can be found in our dedicated Coronavirus update section on our website
1. Catch up on our spotlight articles and news on our website:
- Keeping our families connected during COVID19
- ‘More than just a contact room…’ How AG Contact Centres have adapted and thrived in the face of Covid-19 challenges
- ‘The innovative way of keeping the children in contact with their non-resident parents during the complete lockdown would not have been possible without the cooperation of both parents and for that, I thank them’
- Face mask donation from ViraxCare supporting child contact centres looking to reopen their vital services
Again, we hope that this newsletter is helpful. Do share it as widely as you can.
Elizabeth Coe, NACCC Chief Executive Officer
Views expressed in this newsletter are not necessarily those of the NACCC and publication does not imply endorsement. © NACCC 2020 (NACCC member centres exempt)