How to set up contact for your child

Depending on your situation this process will vary but generally you will need to do the following to set up contact arrangements at a child contact centre.

Step 1: Work out which type of contact service you need

  • It is important that your child is safe using our services so you will need to make sure that you work out which type of contact service you need.
  • You may have been told what type of service to look for or you may want to look on this website to work out which contact service is going to be best for your situation.
  • It is likely that you will need either supported contact or supervised contact. But you may need one of the other specialist services offered such as a supervised assessmentindirect contactescorted contact or life story identity contact. If you are looking for a safe meeting place for your child to be collected by their other family member then it may be that a handover service would be helpful.

Do check our FAQs for more guidance on which contact service is best for you. For example What is the difference between supported contact and supervised contact?

Step 2: Find your local centre

  • Click to find details of your local centre. You can tick which contact service you require and then enter your town or postcode to find the nearest centres to you.
  • Please note, we recommend that a centre is as close to where your child lives as possible.

Step 3: Apply (see if you can self-refer)

  • You have to apply to go to a contact centre. This application is called a ‘referral’. If you apply yourself this is called a self-referral.
  • Decide if you can self-refer or if you need your solicitor, family mediator or Cafcass officer to make the referral on your behalf. The grid below may help you to decide if you can self-refer:
Communication is OK between me and my ex -partner. We can communicate via email/text We have a friend/family member who can assist with communication about our child My ex-partner and I cannot communicate at all My ex partner and I are not allowed to communicate or meet face to face
You should be able to self-refer as long as your local centre accepts self-referrals You should be able to self-refer as long as your local centre accepts self-referrals If there is no means of communicating between you as parents you will need to be referred by a solicitor, family mediator, Cafcass officer or another organisation helping you. A court injunction may be in place preventing you and your ex-partner from communicating. You will need to be referred by a solicitor, family mediator, Cafcass officer or another organisation helping you.
  • Check if your local centre accepts self-referrals and whether you can apply to them direct or if you need to apply via NACCC’s Safe Referral System. This is a website which helps you to apply to child contact centres registered on the system.
  • Make your application to the centre
  • If your local centres do not accept self-referrals then you will have to be referred by the organisation helping you or another professional such as a mediator, solicitor, Cafcass, family support worker.

Step 4: The centre co-ordinator decides if they can offer you a place

There may be a delay whilst the centre co-ordinator goes through your form and carries out their risk assessment. They may have to contact you to find out a bit more about your situation.

If they are unable to offer you a place, they may suggest other options or alternative services that may be able to help.

Step 5: Go for your pre-visit meeting

  • If the centre can accept your referral, the centre co-ordinator will invite you and your child to attend the centre for a meeting to have a look round, chat about your situation and explain what they can offer. We call this a pre-visit.
  • If you don’t live with your child, your visit will be at a separate time to your child’s visit.
  • At this meeting you will be able to go through any queries or concerns you might have and for how long you can use the centre. They will complete some paperwork with you which they will ask you to sign. This paperwork confirms what is going to happen during contact and will help them make sure it is set up properly.

Step 6: Acceptance by the centre

  • The centre co-ordinator will then write to you and your child to let you know if you are able to use their service and if so when this can start.
  • If the centre cannot accept your referral they may suggest other options or alternative services that may be able to help.

Please also see our fact sheet ‘Service delivery flowcharts’. This document is provided as guidance to what a NACCC accredited child contact centre might look like, whilst recognising all families and services are different and this should be celebrated. The flowcharts describe the following processes which are carried out by the child contact centre on receipt of a referral. They also describe the pre-visit, risk assessment and review processes that form part of the service. As shown, it may be the case that a supported contact centre may have to refuse a referral depending on the outcome of the referral process. If they are unable to offer a place to a family, they may suggest other options or alternative services that may be able to help.

We need your help to keep our Child Contact Intervention Centre open

The scale of the COVID19 crisis is unprecedented. Typically, we depend mainly on income generated from Child Contact Intervention and Advocacy Services delivered to a wide range of Local Authorities across the country and some fundraising activities to support the Child Contact Centre Intervention Project and Organisational Overheads . Sadly, we have now lost these income streams due to the Corona-Virus pandemic.

We Must Raise £100,000.00

Over the last 10 years, we have partnered with approximately twelve UK Universities across Berkshire and neighbouring Counties to offer 70 -100 days Social Works Placements / Training for five to seven undergraduate and post graduate students a year. With a rolling group of trainee social workers working 3-5 days a week,  plus volunteers and a small staff team, the Contact Centre Project and Operational Cost were covered. Unfortunately , due to the impact of COVID19 we have lost a significant source of our revenue, including university student placements / funding. With a long waiting list of children and families needing our support, we are significantly short of project workers to support the families who desperately need help.

Helps us to nurture the child’s VOICE without making them CHOOSE between separated parents

Sadly, the dark side of COVID19 social isolation has resulted in over 50% increase in domestic violence reports, with more women and children at risk with the worst yet to come. For children and young people trapped in the middle of high conflict couple relationship breakdown and separation, life is a living nightmare. We are now experiencing an exponential 50% increase in referrals for Child Contact Centre Intervention support for children and families experiencing chronic parental conflict.

Help secure the future of children

The stark reality is that the future of Voice of the Child-Child Contact Centre Intervention services is at stake as we are struggling to offer desperate families the support they need.

We are under enormous pressure not only to secure adequate resources to meet increasing demands and reach out to more families,  but to simultaneously support existing families during this difficult time and  beyond whilst safe-guarding the Child Contact Centre from drowning from the unprecedented financial impact of COVID19.

Please support us today to help ensure the survival of vital services we offer to children, young people and families.

Families do not need to travel any further

Voice of the Child is the only Nationally Accredited Child Contact Intervention Centre within a 75 miles radius of Reading, Berkshire. We generally open and accessibly Six days a week and providing a wide range of Child Contact Intervention Support Services to separated families in Reading, Berkshire and Surroundings and across the country through established partnerships with over 40 Local Authorities, 30 UK Courts and 300 Solicitors. But in response to Covid19, we are currently open four days a week and under enormous pressure to open 7 days a week.

How your contribution would help save the Child Contact Intervention Project

Averagely, each family benefits from 2 hours weekly Supervised Contact for up to 12 months prior to transitioning into independent family arrangements which are exclusive of third-party support. It costs approximately £357.00 for two hours contact x 52 weeks (£18564.00 per year) per family. The cost covers, a private room for contact, pre and post session support for parents and child, a key project support worker @ 6hrs work per each contact including contact observation, report writing for court purposes, pre and post session work. Other running cost / overheads include: general administrative support, management cost, utility bills, Centre hire, monthly accreditation, accounting subscriptions, cleaning, groceries, management cost, rents.

Every penny you give counts towards one child or a sibling group reconnecting and enjoy quality time and building positive memories with a parent they no longer live with, week after week.

The more we raise the more contacts we can offer and the more families we can reach.

Donate or Fundraise4us and watch every child smile as they hug the parent they no longer live with.

For Every £1 you raise, a child or a sibling group get to spend quality time with their dad or mum they no longer live with, with the support of our child contact centre.  For some children, this will be the first time ever they meet their father or reconnected to their mother or father after a good few years.