In some circumstances parents are restricted to supervised contact with their children following a divorce or separation. This blog explains what supervised contact is and why you may have been asked to do it.
Supervised contact is used when it has been determined by a court that a child is at risk of suffering harm during contact with a parent or parents. The court will usually refer the case to a CAFCASS (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) officer, local authority or another child contact centre. However, in exceptional circumstances you can self-refer to a child contact centre.
Supervised contact ensures the physical and emotional safety of a child. It also aims to assist in building and sustaining positive relationships between a child and their parent or parents. This is carried out by supervisors who trained to intervene immediately and firmly, if necessary, and work professionally in a planned way with vulnerable children and their parents. Supervised contact requires the following:
- Individual supervision of contact with the supervisor in constant sight and sound of the child
- The supervisor and the centre having access to all relevant court papers and transcripts of any judgements in order to supervise effectively
- All contact to be closely observed and recorded in a manner appropriate to the purpose of protecting children and working in a planned way with parents.
- A venue that provides privacy and confidentiality to each child and family and is structured to provide maximum safety to all concerned and maximum stimulation for children.
- Contact is time limited with a planned aim to regularly access and review progress and the possibility of safer future outcomes.
The level of supervision may be reduced in a planned way after a professional assessment has been made. Some families, after being assessed, may move from constant supervision to an immediate level of supervision, escorted outings, supported or unrestricted contact, while other will always need the security of full supervision.
Supervised contact is provided by a variety of agencies, both in the voluntary sector and by the local authorities. Facilities will therefore vary, and different models will be offered.
If you have any questions regarding supervised contact please contact us in London (West Drayton) on 01895 449288 or in Hertfordshire (St Albans) on 01727 840900 or by email via our contact page.