During European Child Contact Centre Awareness Week, 22-28 April 2013, Centres throughout Scotland will be opening their doors to family support professionals, local politicians and potential volunteers.
The central concept of a Child Contact Centre is to offer a safe, friendly, neutral, child-centred environment for children to meet with their non-resident parent or other family member (e.g. grandparent). Last year, just over 2000 children in Scotland visited a Child Contact Centre affiliated to Relationships Scotland (RS), up from just under 1400 in 2010.
According to research findings by Joan Hunt and Ceridwen Roberts ‘most children want contact and see their non-resident parent as an important figure that is still part of their family. The loss of contact is painful and even where there is contact a substantial minority of children want more.’
Some parents find it very difficult to agree to share their children’s time with their ex-partner and Child Contact Centres enable this to happen. Contact arrangements can lead to the reduction of ongoing parental conflict, prevention of more serious conflict, improved communication between the non-resident parent and his or her children and in many cases the parents will begin to work together in the best interests of their children.
There are currently forty five Relationships Scotland affiliated Child Contact Centres throughout Scotland, including the Western Isles and Orkney. Thirty seven of these Centres offer both Supported Contact and Supervised Contact services. The other eight Centres either offer either Supported Contact services or Supervised Contact services.
We have a selection of short films explaining Supported Contact and Supervised Contact on our YouTube channel. We’ll also have a wide range of blog posts from professionals and parents going live during European Child Contact Centre Awareness Week.
Media enquiries about how a Child Contact Centre is managed, who attends them and how they help are always welcome. Please contact the Scottish Child Contact Centre Development Officer by email, firstname.lastname@example.org , or call 0845 119 2020.