Unsure what type of service you need?
This page has been written as a guide in order to help you to make decisions about the type of contact that might best meet the needs of either your own family, or a family you are working with.
This list is not set in stone, so its always best to contact your local centre and talk to them about what support they might be able to provide. However, what this page does intend to do is to help you to consider what service might work best.
When looking at the lists below, if more than one of the concerns is apparent then you might want to consider supervised contact initially, even if this is only for the first two or three sessions.
Using a child contact centre should be thought of as a Short Term Stepping Stone, for most families, most of the time. Families should expect to move on as soon as possible, usually within 3 – 6 months.
The final decision about whether a referral is appropriate for their centre will always rest with the centre, even when the Court has made an order for you to use a service. Always, check with centres before writing or applying for Court Orders.
Supported Contact Services.
Supported contact helps to keep children in touch with parents if trust has broken down or communication is difficult. Parents do not have to meet and several families use the facilities at the same time.
This is a form of contact where the level of risk is assessed to be lower than might be the case for supervised contact. It is also used as a way to progress from supervised contact.
In supported contact, direct observations are not made and reports are not written. Staff or volunteers will be present to ensure the comfort of those engaging in the service.
Is there a potential risk of harm? The centre ensures the physical safety and emotional well-being of children in a one-to-one observed setting.
This form of contact is provided where it is assessed that there might be a higher risk or greater complexity in a families circumstance. These sessions will be supervised by staff who are experienced in this role.
Observations will be made, and reports will be written. It is generally expected that staff will remain within sight and sound of children at all times.