The Children’s Contact Service enables children of separated families to re-establish or maintain contact with both parents or other family members where appropriate. It provides a safe, neutral and child-friendly environment for facilitated contact visits and change-overs.
Why use a Children’s Contact Service?
The Family Law Act emphasises the importance for children having on ongoing relationship with each parent and others who are significant in the child’s life, when it is safe to do so.
Ongoing conflict between parents has a negative impact on children. When separated parents are not able to meet without conflict, CCSs provide a safe, neutral venue for the transfer of children between them. Where there is an actual or perceived risk to the child CCSs provide supervised contact between a child and their parent. Where a child and parent must establish or re establish a relationship, CCSs offer a supportive environment in which this may occur.
What is a Changeover?
In separated families, for a child to spend time with each parent involves the child being ‘handed over’ or ‘handed back’ between the care of one parent and the other. In some instances this exchange of the child is uncomfortable or provides an opportunity for conflict between the parents.
To alleviate conflict and assist parents who prefer not to meet face-to-face, our CCS staff facilitate these changeovers and changebacks. We offer separate entrances and separate waiting areas. This allows parents to safely exchange the child, without the need to come into contact with one another.
What is Supervised Contact?
Supervised visits allow a parent to spend time with their child in our Centre under the direct supervision of a CCS staff member. The staff member will observe the interactions and where necessary support, advise and guide the parent-child relationship ensuring the child is safe and the experience positive. Generally, the Service can offer two hours of fortnightly supervised contact per family over a period of six months.
How do I access the Children’s Contact Service?
Parents may be ordered by the Court to use the Service, parents may use the Service as agreed in a Parenting Plan or parents may voluntarily use the Service. If parents cannot agree on the contact times, they may use our Family Dispute Resolution (mediation) service to develop an agreement and then bring that agreement to the CCS.