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child contact support

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    Child Contact   

Avenue provides a range of services to help children spend quality time with the important people in their lives. Our Child Contact Centres are welcoming places where separated children, parents and families can enjoy time together. They are safe, child-friendly spaces with a range of toys, play and craft materials on offer, and trained workers on hand to ensure that children can relax and have fun.

Supported Contact and Supervised Contact takes place within one of our Child Contact centres. Supported Contact takes place without direct observation, but with the support of Child Contact workers. Supervised contact takes place with a Child Contact worker present who will observe and supervise the contact sessions. Reports for supervised or supported contact are provided on request.

Handover Contact allows children to spend time outwith the centre with their other parent, providing a safe place for the child to arrive and return to, where parents do not need to interact.

Message Box Contact provides indirect contact in the form of text, video and photographs and is facilitated through a Family Support Worker.

Every family that uses Avenue’s Child Contact services has a designated Family Support Worker who is the point-of-contact for the family throughout their time in Avenue’s Child Contact services. The Family Support Worker is there to answer any queries and to provide support that enables happy, healthy and safe child contact to take place.

 

    Sessions    

The type and frequency of the Child Contact is determined based on the individual circumstances of everyone involved, and is usually agreed between the parents or determined by the court or solicitors. It is also influenced by Avenue’s ability to deliver the service safely, and the best interests of the child.

Sessions that take place in the centre usually last 1 or 2 hours, while handover can be longer. Child Contact might take place weekly, fortnightly or monthly.

At the beginning of all Child Contact service provision, parents are asked to attend individual Pre-Contact sessions with a Family Support Worker during which Avenue can answer any queries the parents may have and clarify expectations.

The child will also visit the Child Contact centre at least once before Child Contact takes place.

Avenue has three Child Contact centres, located in Elgin, Peterhead and Aberdeen.

 

    Cost    

You may be able to get Legal Aid to help you to pay for Child Contact. You should speak to your solicitor or to Citizens Advice in the first instance about this.

Avenue is a charity and we work hard to keep our fees as low as we can so that anyone who needs our support can access our services. Please get in touch if you are not able to access Legal Aid, the child lives in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire or Moray, and you are on benefits or a low income. We will be happy to have a confidential conversation with you regarding an individualised payment plan.

Supported Child Contact

Set-up for Supported Child Contact and the associated Pre-Contact meetings costs £150.

A Supported Child Contact Session costs £50 per hour.

A Supported Child Contact Report costs £100.

Supervised Child Contact

Set-up for Supervised Child Contact and the associated Pre-Contact meetings costs £150.

A Supervised Child Contact Session costs £100 per hour (up to a maximum of 2 hours).

A Supervised Child Contact Report covering up to 6 Sessions costs £150. Additional sessions included in the report cost £25 each.

Child Contact Handover

Set-up for Child Contact Handover and the associated Pre-Contact meetings costs £150.

Each Child Contact Handover session costs £20.

Message Box Contact

Set-up for Message Box Child Contact and the associated Pre-Contact meetings is £150.

The monthly fee for Message Box Child Contact is £20, which includes a maximum of 2 messages per week from both parents and child(ren).

 

If you would like more information, or would like to refer yourself or someone you know to Child Contact services, please call our Service Administration team on 01224 587571, or email them at 

Our online referral forms can be completed here.    Self Referral        Professional Referral  

 

 

 

Tara’s Story

Tara and Andy share the same experience but have very different perspectives.  Here are their stories.

My partner and I broke up around three years ago. We’d split up before, but in the end I had to face up to it, it was never going to work.  He didn’t put up much objection, I think he was relieved really, although he’d never admit it. 

We managed to sort out contact arrangements for our two sons, now five and six, without too many arguments.  Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t easy, I was still hurt and angry about the relationship and why it didn’t work out.  But the boys loved their Dad so I was determined not to make it difficult for them.  

Then Andy, my ex, got engaged and I found out his partner was pregnant.  I knew he’d been seeing someone but had no idea it was serious and a baby!  He’d been seeing his new partner for months before telling me or the boys and he’d been seeing less and less of our sons, using work as an excuse. They were both finding it hard to understand why their Dad was always too busy.  It was heart-breaking to see their faces every time there was another cancellation and lame excuse.

Andy was putting his new family before his own sons.  I was so angry with him and didn’t think he deserved to see the boys, and definitely not with his new woman.  He was letting them down so often, it was better he stopped seeing them altogether.  He was so unreasonable and wanted everything his way and then the solicitors got involved.  

We ended up using a Contact Centre for the boys to see Andy.  After a while I could see they had missed their Dad and were much happier because they were seeing him more regularly.  I’m still not happy about how Andy handled everything, but after the boys met his new partner things started to settle down.  I’m not sure how the future will pan out, but I’m willing to meet Andy half way for the benefit of our sons.

 

Andy’s Story

My partner and I broke up around three years ago. We’d split up once before and managed to work things out, but in the end she left me, saying it hadn’t been working for ages and never would.  I tried to make her reconsider, it wasn’t just about us, we have two young sons.

We managed to sort out contact arrangements for our sons, now five and six, without too many arguments.  Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t easy, I was still hurt and angry that she’d left me but I love my children and wanted to see them as often as possible.    

About ten months ago I met someone.  I wasn’t sure if I was ready for anything serious but we got on really well and it was good to feel that way about someone again.  Stephanie, my new partner got pregnant after six months of us being together. I was surprised how happy I was as we hadn’t been together long and my previous breakup had been so hard. 

Tara, my ex, knew I’d been seeing someone but I’d put off telling her about the baby.  In the beginning, I didn’t tell her or the boys I was seeing someone because I didn’t know if it would go anywhere.  Then when Steph got pregnant she said we shouldn’t mention it to anyone for the first three months.  It all seemed reasonable, but in Steph’s third month, my Ex found out. 

She went nuts, accusing me of not being there for the boys, calling me a liar and then making it really difficult for me to see my sons.  After a couple of months of being stone walled, I got in touch with a solicitor.  I was keen to try family mediation but she refused so my only option was to see the boys at a contact centre. 

It was hard seeing the boys for just a couple of hours every fortnight. At first I was angry and even a bit embarrassed about having to use a contact centre, but the staff were all great and the boys really enjoyed coming.  At the end of the day it allowed time for the dust to settle, for the boys to understand I will always love them even though I’m having another baby.  Tara could see that our sons needed their Dad and that I was committed to being there for them no matter what.  It’s not been easy but the boys have met Steph and I now see them out-with the contact centre.