When a child loses contact with someone important in their life, it can be difficult for everyone involved. That’s why child contact services exist; to allow children to re-establish contact with a parent and other important family members in their life.
When relationships break down,communication between the adults can be strained. This makes reaching an agreement about how child contact arrangements are going to work feel, at times, impossible. But, support is available when this is the case. There are different options available, including supported contact and supervised contact. It might be that the assistance needed is simply to ensure a safe and smooth handover when contact takes place.
If you’re unsure about which service is right for you and your situation, below you’ll find a breakdown to help you understand more about the differences between supported and supervised contact.
Children can be negatively affected by the separation of their parents, particularly if the split is acrimonious. If trust has broken down and parents are struggling to communicate, then supported contact can help the situation run far more smoothly.
Supported contact involves providing neutral ground for children to have contact with their non-resident parent. It’s perfect for situations where the risk factors are low and there’s no requirement for detailed reports to be made, beyond recording the date and time of the sessions.
Here at The Starting Point Centre, our staff are on hand to provide assistance and ensure a comfortable experience for all involved. There’s no interference, no direct observations - just a safe space to enable children to have quality and meaningful contact, without the risk of animosity between parents coming into play.
Depending on individual circumstances, this type of contact can be used as a way to progress from supervised contact.
Supervised contact is appropriate for situations where children are deemed to be at risk of suffering harm. The sessions are supervised by highly experienced staff and observations will be made as well as reports written. Staff are available at all times and within sight of the child during this type of contact.
This form of contact comes with strict requirements and normally takes place following a referral from a CAFCASS Officer, court or the local authority.
Whilst this type of contact may not be the first choice for many parents seeking to re-establish contact with their child, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be meaningful, productive and successful. For us, the physical and emotional well-being of the child is our priority when it comes to supervised contact, and that includes opportunities for play, engagement and happiness.
Sometimes following a separation, parents are simply unable to be in the same space as one another. In circumstances like these, contact centres are often used as a drop off and pick up point, and to support a child moving from one parent to another for contact.
Every situation is different, and depending on the circumstances handovers are sometimes used as a way to move on and progress from supported or supervised contact. It might also be that a person trusted by both parents is involved in handovers to help things run a little more smoothly. This could be a grandparent for example, or aunties or uncles.
At The Starting Point Centre, we offer all of the above services and more. Additional contact services like escorted, community, and letterbox and electronic contact. In addition, we can also provide a transportation service to ensure that the contact scheduled takes place as and when it should.
The safety, well-being and comfort of each individual child is always our priority. It’s important to us that the contact they have with their parents is meaningful and enjoyable, as opposed to an awkward and uncomfortable experience.
If you’ve got any questions about any of the services we offer then get in touch.