Foyle Child Contact Centre facilitates families engaged in private law cases and referrals are usually made by the solicitor representing the contact parent – the court and Court Children’s Officer are sometimes involved in the process also.
The referral process:-
We do not deal with cases involving child abuse which require specialist, supervised contact in controlled environments
The referral form will be completed by the referring solicitor with additional information being added by the other party’s solicitor (e.g. need for interpreter, medical etc.)
The Coordinator will be contacted to ensure a place is available – telephone 078 4107 2907 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The referral should state any details relating to the contact order and any exclusion orders
The referral form will be sent to the Coordinator (email/post)
The client will be given the Coordinator’s contact details in order that a pre-contact visit can be arranged
NO FORM, NO PLACE
The parties are invited, separately, to view the centre to help alleviate the anxiety the process can cause
The parties will be given information on FCCC and the Northern Ireland Network of Child Contact Centres
The parties will be asked to read and sign an Agreement to use the centre which clearly states the roles and responsibilities of all involved (insert Agreement form here)
The parties will be given information on the policies and procedures of the centre
The centre will only facilitate contact in line with the agreed conditions on the order (e.g. grandparents/siblings etc)
Any changes to contact must be negotiated through solicitors – the centre cannot take responsibility for parties changing arrangements
The centre staff note arrival and departure times only – unless concerns arise regarding the welfare of a child
This service is to help children to retain and build the relationship with the parent they do not live with – this process is child centred and, unfortunately, angry adults often forget the impact of separation, conflict, domestic violence and substance abuse on children.
We, at FCCC, try to provide as natural an environment as possible with lots of play based activities that help children and adults communicate and interact in a positive manner.
However, current research does indicate that children should not be forced into contact against their wishes and if there is reluctance from the child, or the child does not settle, then alternatives should be sought (Birchall, Gore 2007)
Alternatives can be discussed between solicitors, with the advice of the Court Children’s Officer and the court.
At a meeting in 2007, The Recorder, Judge Philpott stated that those involved in contact cases, whether solicitors or parents, should recognise that solutions must be found that are in the best interests of the children involved and not the adults.