What is a Child Contact Centre?
A Child Contact Centre is a safe, friendly and neutral place where children can spend time with the parent/s they do not live with. It is a child centered environment which allows the child to form or develop a relationship with the parent at their own pace and in their own way, usually through play and child centered activities.
Who are the Child Contact Centres for?
Child contact centres are for:
- Children whose parents are separated and who are unable to agree safe and appropriate arrangements for the child /children to have contact with the parent they do not live with.
- Children who are in the care of the Health Service Executive who need support to have contact with their parent(s).
- Child Contact Centres are time limited services so families need to engage with family supports so that they can move to self arranged contact over time.
The service requires the agreement and participation of both parents in discussing and agreeing what is best for their child / children. The service is designed to meet the needs of children, so their best interests will always be central to all decisions made.
Barnardos and One Family Child Contact Centres
The Barnardos & One Family Child Contact Centre service operated on a two year pilot basis in Dublin: Ballymun and Clondalkin/Tallaght.
The service was available to children who live in the following areas:
1. Dublin North City, Health Service Executive area:
• Ballymun, Santry, North Inner City, Drumcondra, Whitehall, Donnycarney, Marino, Clontarf, East Wall, Cabra, Finglas, Blanchardstown, Mulhuddart, Corduff, Clonsilla, Castleknock.
2. South County Dublin:
• Tallaght, Clondalkin, Palmerstown, Lucan, Rathcoole, Newcastle, Saggart, Templeogue and Rathfarnham.
It provided the following services to children and families:
- Contact arrangements for children to have time with their parent(s). This service was provided by Barnardos:
- Supervised contact – where contact is supervised for one family at a time.
- Supported contact – where contact is provided for a number of families at the same time. This contact was supported by trained volunteers and a professional staff member.
- Handover contact – where an arrangement is agreed for one parent to bring their child to the contact centre to be collected by the other parent, without the parents needing to meet.
- A wide range of family support services to assist families attending the Child Contact Centre, designed to help them move on to self arranged contact in the future. This service was provided by One Family. It is essential that families engage in family supports so that they can move on to self arranged contact over time. Supports included:
- Work with parents individually and jointly
- Parenting Supports