There are an estimated 3.6 million children in the UK whose parents have gone through a divorce or separation. Meaning they are only living with one parent and could be losing out on crucial connections and making memories with their other parent.
A child contact centre has many benefits to both parents, children and other family members involved. It is a place where children can meet their parents, or other members of their family, which they don’t live with, in a fun, safe and neutral venue.
Children Should Not Be Witnessing Conflict
Sometimes when parents choose to separate, there are tensions between both parties, which can cause big arguments. Occasionally the resident parent does not want to talk or see the other parent at all, and they might not want their children to talk or see the other parent. It is a child’s right to see both parents.
When children witness argumentative behaviour from their parents can have a bad effect and damage a child’s mental health, in a similar way that the loss of contact with a parent does.
Benefits Of A Contact Centre For Children
Child contact centres provide a safe space where children can see their non-resident parent. They can draw pictures, play with toys, make up games or just have a catch up with the parent they don't live with. Using a centre like this is great because the parents don't have to see each other if they don't want to. This way the children still get to create positive memories with their non-resident parent.
Different Types Of Child Contact At A Contact Centre
You can get a variety of contact sessions at a child contact centre. Supervised will be observed by a social worker or support worker. The type of observation can vary depending on what contact session you need.
If both parents are comfortable, then they can opt to do ‘supported contact’ where the non-resident parent and child will play in the centre. A social worker or support worker will be in the same room overlooking in case of safeguarding, but no written report is given.
Sometimes the children might not even need to come into the centre to play and could just be handed over to the other parent by staff members at the centre, this is called a ‘handover’. This ensures that the parents don't actually see each other.
How do I begin using a child contact centre?
At the Starting Point Centre, you can being the process of arranging child contact sessions by simply making an enquiry with us! There are many ways you can enquire, you can either use the 'Make an Enquiry' Button at the top of our web page, email firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on 0113 2464940
Too Far Away?
If you are too far away from us you can always find a child contact centre near you by going to the NACCC website where you can compare different centres using their, Find a Contact Centre search tool