Guidelines & Agreements for contact centre users
- All correspondence concerning contact should be sent to the Contact Centre Co-ordinator at the correspondence address.
- The Centres can only provide Supported Contact and not Supervised Contact.
- Contact is for one family member and children unless otherwise stated on the referral form. Other visitors may attend only with the agreement of the resident parent/guardian or if stated in the Child Arrangements Order.
Please note that we may be able to accommodate a maximum of three visitors per family in any session but this is at the discretion of the Co-ordinator and the Centre Team Leader and permission must be sought in advance.
- A minimum donation of £1.00 is requested from the visitor at each visit. Donations from the resident parent will also be gratefully received. Refreshments are available at reasonable prices. We aim to provide a service that benefits the whole family but we are a Registered Charity with very limited funds.
- Users of the centres are reminded of our policy of strict confidentiality. All clients are treated with friendly, impartial courtesy.
- We ask all clients to be punctual: visiting parent to arrive a minimum of 15 minutes before contact visit start time; resident parent to arrive at the contact visit start time – not early. We will cancel individual visits if either party is late and does not contact us on the Centre’s mobile phone to inform us. Where there are regular late arrivals we will consider cancelling all future visits. In addition: visiting parent to wait for a minimum of 10 minutes after their children have left the Centre before leaving the Contact Room; resident parent to leave the building and the area promptly.
- VOLUNTEERS ONLY may take photographs using the client’s camera or mobile phone (which may be switched on for this purpose). There will be no photography by users of the centres (cameras or mobile phones). Photographs taken in the Contact Centre should not be used on social networking sites eg Facebook.
- The use of all video/audio equipment and mobile phones is strictly forbidden. Mobile phones must be TURNED OFF during contact.
- We reserve the right to refuse admittance to clients who have been drinking, are under the influence of illegal substances or are likely to disturb other users.
- We reserve the right to refuse admittance to clients who do not have a reasonable level of hygiene.
- We do not provide reports of any type but can provide an attendance record.
- We reserve the right to stop contact if we feel that the child is distressed or that the behaviour of any participant is inappropriate in any way.
- Volunteers are not permitted to accompany children to the toilet. Visiting parents are responsible for the supervision and safety of their children whilst at the Centre, and under no circumstances can children be left at the Centre if a family member is not in the building.
- Use of the Centre should be seen as a ‘stepping stone’, a short-term facility only; we will review contact when the family have had approximately 10 visits. Our aim is to encourage families to progress towards making their own arrangements outside of the Centre.
- Resident parents and children will be required to make a pre-visit to the Centre prior to contact starting. A separate pre-visit will also be arranged for visiting parents.
- Resident parents who want to wait in the Waiting Room at the Stevenage Centre during any visits must seek the Co-ordinator’s or Team Leader’s permission. This may not always be possible. Unfortunately, we do not have a Waiting Room at the Letchworth Centre.
- Contact Centre staff and volunteers should not be expected to negotiate or pass messages between parents and do not offer counselling or mediation services.
- Please inform the Co-ordinator of any changes to the Contact arrangements or if you no longer require the use of one of our Contact Centres. This is important as it gives us the opportunity to allocate the space to another family.
- We reserve the right to exclude any person or family who refuses to abide by any of our rules.
As contact visits are valuable for children, we hope that your family’s time with us will be happy and positive. To help ensure that this is the case we recommend that you follow the guidelines below:
- DO NOT talk about the other partner/family members or past experiences with them in a negative way in front of the children.
- DO NOT ask the children lots of questions regarding former partner/family members or make the child feel that they are being interrogated about their home life or their visits in the Centre.
- DO NOT use inappropriate language in the Centre (particularly as other parents and children are present) or in your telephone conversations with staff.
If you feel distressed about any issue and wish to talk it over with someone then speak to a volunteer at a time when the children are not present. This helps to ensure that they enjoy their visit and will be happy to return.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR CO-OPERATION.
Fees can be reduced or waived for families who are unable to afford them. Concessions will be considered on an individual basis. Please contact us if you would like further details.