Types of Contact -
This is when the child has direct, face-to-face contact with their parent. This could include the child visiting their parents home, going on a day out in a public place or overnight staying contact. Direct contact can be arranged for any amount of time from a few hours for lunch to staying contact over half of school holidays. It can also be supervised or unsupervised, depending on the child’s needs and any safeguarding issues.
Indirect contact can include Skype sessions/FaceTime, telephone conversations or letter writing. It can be closely monitored or can be as and when needed, especially in the case of older children. Indirect contact can be used as an alternative to direct contact, or can work alongside direct contact to increase communication. It may be appropriate to use indirect contact in long distance cases or where contact needs to be built up gradually.
In some circumstances, it may be necessary for contact with a child to be supervised by someone else such as a friend or relative. This may be because the child needs additional care due to being very young or having a disability or where there are safeguarding issues. Supervised contact allows the contact to be monitored as closely as is required but means the contact can still take place if there are any concerns. Supervised contact can also be used when the relationship between the child and the applicant needs to be developed until unsupervised contact is suitable.
Contact centres are sometimes recommended for structured contact between a parent (or other party) and a child. This is sometimes used if the child is at risk during the contact, if the child is young and has not seen the party in a long time. A contact centre can be a temporary solution until normal contact is resumed, or as a regular appointment. It provides a comfortable and secure environment for contact to take place with professional and independent staff on hand. We can help you decide if a contact centre is appropriate for your situation and if you decide it is, we will help you make a referral to a contact centre to move contact arrangements forward.