What we do
The Cheltenham Child Contact Centre is a safe, neutral place where a child can enjoy uninterrupted contact with the parent seeking contact.
The Centre opens for supported contact every Saturday afternoon, 1-3 pm. Parents are usually offered 10-12 sessions at the Centre. These are often weekly or fortnightly and therefore cover a period of 4 to 5 months. Parents do not need to meet. The Centre can be involved in hand overs between parents at the centre between 1.00 and 3.00 on a Saturday. Other times are charged at £5.00 per handover.
Where parents don’t want to meet, a member of staff takes the child from one parent to the other. The Cheltenham Centre is a breathing space but it also offers all parents a stepping stone to sort out contact arrangements away from the centre. The Centre is run by trained staff and volunteers who are impartial and do not get involved in disputes between parents. They work to a confidentiality policy and are DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) checked.
During supported contact only, the Centre keeps a note of the dates and times families attend and no other notes of a family’s use of the centre are kept. If there is a safeguarding concern then this is actioned through the appropriate authorities.
The Centre has two large rooms with a variety of games, toys, books, craft activities for children of all ages. Drinks are available but the centre does not provide food. Supervised contact takes place in one room but during supported contact the whole building is available to be used.
There is ample car parking at the Centre and it is also on a bus route.
Referrals for Contact
The first step is for the parent seeking contact to complete the referral form on line at: www.nacccselfreferrals.org.uk.
[This is the website of the National Association of Child Contact Centres (NACCC) who deal with referrals are made to the Centre on our behalf]
There is more information about referrals and how to complete the form on the NACCC website, if you need additional support with this, please get in touch with us. Note that neither parents contact details will be seen by the other, unless they agree.
Each parent is then contacted by the NACCC to complete the referral process. Once we have the referral, we will make contact with both parents to start contact. There is a £20 registration fee for the parent seeking contact on completion of this form.
To make a referral please contact Pippa O’Connell on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01242 580812 to ask for the relevant referral forms. These will then be emailed to both parents. Completion of these forms and pre visits must be completed by both parents before contact can begin. A risk assessment will be carried out once the referrals forms have been received and you will be contacted to arrange pre visits.
Alternatively the forms can download these from this page on the website (see links for forms above). Contact Supervisors will be in the room with you, observing these sessions. These will be recorded on either a laptop or hand written.
Unless ordered by court, there will be a review conducted after 4 sessions to assess if supervised contact is still needed, the contact centre may recommend moving onto supported contact.
Please note, families cannot pay to have more supervised contact than needed.
This takes place during Supported Contact hours (Saturday 1.00-3.00). This is a service available for families needing extra support to make the transition between Supervised and Supported Contact. A worker will remain with the family throughout the supported contact session and be on hand to support. The worker will also be extra vigilant to keeping an eye and ear open to any areas of risks identified through the supervised contact process. The amount of sessions offered will be dependant on each individual circumstances and will be reviewed every 4 sessions. We anticipate most families will then move into supported contact, however this gives us the option to put a contact back into Supervised Contact should the staff feel this is necessary. Sometimes a signed agreement by both parents addressing risks may be put in place in order for this to take place.
Costs involved in contact
Supported Contact: There is no further charge for supported contact.
Supervised Contact: £45 for the first hour and £35 for any subsequent hours taken on the same day. This needs paying before the contact session can take place. This includes a report written. If no report is needed, the costs remain the same.
Monitored Contact: £25 per hour.
Escorted Contact with report: Charged at the same rate as Supervised contact.
Escorted Contact, no report: £25 per hour.
Handovers, outside of 1.00-3.00: £5.00 per family. Card and cash payments are accepted. Once contact moves from supervised contact to supported contact there is no further charge to pay. Please note that we need 24 hours notice to cancel a contact session or the first hour of contact is to be paid by the person who normally pays the contact fee.If contact only requires a handover service between parents outside of the time between 1.00 and 3.00, then these are charged at £5 a session.
Additional Information for Supervised and Support Contact
- Parents need to pre-visit the Centre before any contact takes place.
- Parents do not need to meet. We ask the parent coming for contact to be at the Centre 15 minutes before the beginning of the session. The parent bringing the child needs to arrive promptly for the start of the session. On handovers we can also work to ensure parents do not meet.
- The safety and well-being of each child using the Centre is the responsibility of the parent. A parent must always be in attendance. The parent bringing the child stays at the Centre until the other parent arrives, although parents do not need to meet.
- A child can only be taken out of the Centre if that has been stated on the referral form and/or agreed by both parents and Centre staff.
- Contact is primarily for the child and the parent having contact. This can be complicated by other persons being present.
- Other relatives can only take part in the contact if named on the referral forms and agreed by both parents. We very rarely allow other relatives during supervised contact. Please discuss this with staff at pre visit.
- Where parents choose to meet, it is vital that there are no arguments in front of the children.
- No-one under the influence of or carrying alcohol/drugs will be admitted. Abusive, aggressive or offensive behaviour or remarks will not be tolerated.
- Photos taken by the parent at the centre must not be included anyone other than their own child or children. Photos must be taken in discussion with the team leader and discussed at the pre visit and are unlikely to be allowed during supervised contact.
- Anyone displaying violence, bad language, intimidation or aggression inside or directly outside on the contact centre will automatically lose their place at the centre.
- Aggressive and intimidating conduct towards staff will not be tolerated and may lead to a place being withdrawn.