Child Contact Centre services were run on a pilot basis in two locations in north and south Dublin between 2011 and 2013 by Barnardos and One Family in a partnership arrangement. The service offered a range of assessment, contact and family support services to high-conflict families who were frequently in legal disputes in relation to contact arrangements for their children.
‘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 centred 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 centred activities.’
The services to families that the Child Contact Centre provided included:
- Assessment to identify whether contact is in the best interests of the child and if so what supports the child and family require including risk assessment.
- Preparation for contact the child and for both parents.
- Supervised contact, supported contact and handover contact services.
- Family supports for parents including individual parent mentoring, mediated parenting plans and counselling.
- Family supports for children including play therapy and art therapy.
- Regular reviews with inputs from the child wherever possible and from both parents.
- Pre and post-contact family supports as required.
- Information on and referral to other services as required.
- Court reports as appropriate.
On Friday 28 March, One Family will launch the Evaluation of the Child Contact Centre Pilot Services and our Policy Recommendations in Response to the Evaluation from 9.30am to 11am in the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin Castle. Speakers include: The Hon. Mr. Justice Michael White of the High Court and Chair of the Courts Family Law Committee; Dr. Stephanie Holt of the School of Social Work & Social Policy, Trinity College Dublin; and Karen Kiernan, CEO of One Family.
All are welcome to attend but as a limited number of places are available, RSVP is essential. If you wish to attend, please RSVP by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01 662 9212 by Wednesday 26 March.