What happens at a child contact centre

How do I get a referral?

Most referrals are made through the court or social work department, but some centres accept self-referrals. If you think that we can help you and want to refer yourself, please get in touch with your nearest child contact centre to discuss your arrangements.

Please note that child contact centres have the right to refuse a referral or cancel a service once it has begun.

How long does referral take?

It depends. The length of the referral process depends on parental co-operation, the judicial process and the availability of a place at the centre. There is no set time for how long the process takes from the point at which you make initial arrangements to the contact taking place.

What kind of people run child contact centres?

You’ll be in safe hands. Child contact centres are run by a management committee and trained staff, both paid and volunteers. The management committee consists of qualified people with relevant backgrounds and might include sheriffs, social workers, teachers, solicitors and doctors. All staff members are trained to deal with child protection issues, health and safety, conflict management, confidentiality and domestic abuse.

How old do children have to be to use the centre?

There is no age limit. Although many of the children who use the centres are younger, some might be 16 or older, and other young people may have learning difficulties. They all need to use a safe venue to meet their non-resident parents, and that is what child contact centres provide.

When are child contact centres open?

Opening times vary from centre to centre. You can find out about opening hours by checking with your local child contact centre.

How much does the service cost?

Some centres make an administrative charge for the intake process, and for each supported in-centre and handover contact to help with the overall costs of keeping the centre open. There is also a fee for each requested attendance report. Charges vary from centre to centre. There is a charge for each supervised contact and for each requested report.