In family law cases involving children’s issues there is commonly a concern by one parent about the other parent having access to the children. When such concerns appear to be based on evidence, often supervised access through a Children’s Contact Centre is suggested by the Court as a way to commence interaction between the non-concerned parent and child.
Supervised access is a common issue dealt with by the Family Law Courts as questions often arise as to the suitability of a parent to care for their child.
What are the benefits of using a Children’s Contact Centre?
A Children’s Contact Centre is a service provided for the safe and monitored access between a parent and their child. Where there are allegations or evidence in a children’s case such as:
- the inability of a parent to care for their child
- a history of family violence
- alleged drug or alcohol use and/or
- the inability of parents to communicate effectively at handover.
A Children’s Contact Centre is often recommended by the Family Court as a sensible tool to use in order to test whether contact is appropriate between parent and child.
In South Australia the Children’s Contact Centres are run by organisations such as Anglicare and Relationships Australia. Relationships Australia has five Children's Contact Centre branches throughout suburban Adelaide to cater for the ongoing demand of these services.
Children’s Contact Centres are known for their following benefits:
- They cease any contact between parents at handover (particularly beneficial if family violence is an issue).
- A qualified supervisor is present at all times to monitor the contact between parent and child.
- The supervisor can publish an impartial third-party report to the Court about their observations of the contact between parent and child.
- Sessions are formatted so as not to be too long or tiring for the child.
- Individual sessions are structured on weekly or fortnightly intervals to help the child become accustomed to routine.
- If the child shows signs of distress or anxiety the supervisor has the authority to conclude the visit immediately.
- Contact centres often focus on play-based interaction so the child is occupied with new toys, craft and games while interacting with the parent.
- Most contact centres provide both indoor and outdoor facilities.
- The fees associated with using a Contact Centre are generally minimal.
- Contact centres are a safe and monitored way to re-familiarise a child to a parent they may not have spent much time with.
For more information about Children’s Contact Centres please visit the Relationships Australia.