It’s Child Contact Centre Awareness Week in Scotland and in Europe. For those who are unaware of what a child contact centre does, Pauline Nimmo addresses some common myths and truths to shed more light.
Child Contact Centres are full of junkies, paedophiles and alcoholics.
CCC are not full of ‘junkies, paedophiles and alcoholics’ as it has been put on many occasions. Yes, there are parents who have issues with substance misuse, but anyone not able to spend time with their child in a safe and appropriate manner are not permitted to use the centre. We do not accept schedule 1 offenders if they are on the register.
All child contact sessions are supervised.
CCC are not all on a supervised basis and although supervised contacts take place at some centres that is completely different to the ‘supported’ contact offered where the venue is managed and the contact is supported by trained staff.
Child Contact Centres are statutory agencies and are part of the court system.
CCC are not part of the court and are their own gatekeepers, they have the right to refuse a case and are not answerable to the court. They will confirm factual information only and will not give an opinion on a case as they are an impartial service.
A welcoming, neutral and safe environment is provided
The centres aim to generate a welcoming, neutral and safe environment for children to spend time with a parent/grandparent/sibling that they would not see otherwise or have had difficulty in spending time with due to parental or family conflict.
Centres can be an important stepping stone for families
Families in conflict and young inexperienced parents often find that centres are an excellent stepping stone, providing them with the extra support they need. It is also useful in helping to form a relationship and bond between estranged parents and children.
Meaningful, positive contact sessions are facilitated by the centres
Child contact centres are instrumental in facilitating and supporting thousands of meaningful and positive contact sessions with parents and children each year. Centres are heavily relied upon by the courts and solicitors, although they do not receive any financial support from the justice department or the government.
The purpose of Child Contact Centre Awareness Week is to increase exposure of what we do and raise awareness for funding. Many centres have waiting lists which mean children have to wait to see their parents.