Carlisle Child Contact Centre
What is a Child Contact Centre?
Carlisle Child Contact Centre offers “supported contact”. This means that there is no close observation, monitoring or reporting of individual contacts/conversations. Carlisle Child Contact Centre does not accept referrals or facilitate “supervised contact”. If you do require supervised contact please contact NACCC for information.
The volunteers at a Child Contact Centre are there to help provide a safe, friendly and neutral place where children of separated families can spend time with one or both parents, and sometimes other family members. It is a child-centred environment that puts the needs of children first.
What is it like at a Child Contact Centre?
The most important people in the Child Contact Centre are the children. We aim to create a warm, sociable atmosphere where you and your children can relax and enjoy yourselves alongside other families. The Centre is equipped with games, toys, books, etc, for younger children. The volunteers will offer you a hot drink. You might want to bring refreshments, toys/activities (especially for older children) or other things you might need.
How are visits arranged?
Visits can be arranged by families themselves by getting in touch with the Coordinator. Each party will then be invited to attend an initial appointment at the Centre with the Coordinator to complete the referral process. Depending on the outcome of this, the family may be offered regular times and dates to attend for sessions or as a neutral venue for handovers, whatever has been requested. Visits can also be arranged through referral from professionals involved with the family. The person making the referral sends the completed form to the Centre Coordinator. The referral process takes at least 2 weeks from when the Coordinator receives the form, sometimes longer if there is a waiting list for places at the Centre.
How often families come to the Centre is arranged at the point of referral and can be changed if everyone agrees. Before the first contact, the child and their parent/carer will be invited for an initial visit. The person having contact can also visit the Centre before contact starts, but at a different time.
Both parties involved in contact will receive a letter from the Coordinator to confirm your start date and other arrangements for contact.
Please note that the Contact Centre requires the contact numbers for both the resident and contact parents before contact takes place. These will not be shared between parties without your consent.
Who can attend?
Only those stipulated in writing on the referral form can attend the contact. If you would like any other family members etc to attend with you, you should contact your solicitor/referrer first, who will then liase with the other party’s representation. Please do not encourage anyone to just turn up without the coordinator receiving confirmation in writing prior to the session as they will be asked to leave.
This applies to anyone else other than the people detailed on the referral form who are bringing the children to the centre. The coordinator needs written confirmation of who to expect and their contact details prior to attendance.
Do I have to meet my ex-partner when I go to a Contact Centre?
No, just tell your referrer at the time of referral and definitely before your first visit and we will manage the handover without the adults having to meet each other. However, parents are responsible for their children at all times, so you will be asked to wait with your children until your ex-partner arrives.
Does the Centre make any reports about us?
The Child Contact Centre is independent of the courts, social services or any statutory agency. We do not make any reports about visits, apart from dates and times of attendance. The only exception is if we believe that a child is at risk, or if a member of staff, volunteer or Centre user is at risk of harm.
Is there anything I need to do?
This is a special time for children to spend with close family members they would not see otherwise, so we ask that new partners do not attend the Centre. Please ensure you keep to the agreed times and let the Coordinator and the other party know as soon as possible if you can`t attend the arranged visit. It can be upsetting for children and adults if they are kept waiting.