Making a referral to our child contact service is easy. We accept referrals from Cafcass, solicitors representing a parent who’s requesting contact, individuals, social services and other appropriate agencies.
The information we gather from referral forms helps us deliver a service that meets the needs of each child and family member. It also helps us safeguard children and work in line with recognised national standards.
The referral process for child contact at our centre is slightly different depending on who’s making the referral.
Completing the Referral Forms
The referral forms are detailed and cover important information that’s needed to draw up a contract. The more factual information we’re given, the easier it is to make appropriate arrangements for visiting families.
A risk assessment is required with all referrals. In the case of self referrals, the risk assessment is completed by our contact coordinator. Referrals made by professionals include a risk assessment. Any other existing risk assessments or reports that could contribute towards positive contact are welcomed.
All completed referrals are sent to our contact co-ordinator where they are screened and dealt with appropriately.
Allocating Contact Workers
The case will then be allocated to 2 appropriately qualified contact workers – one who will take the lead. Having a named contact worker helps to give continuity and stability to contact sessions. In most cases, 2 contact workers wont be needed, but they are allocated so that if the lead contact worker is not available, children and relatives are familiar with the covering worker.
Service Agreement Meeting
Once the contact co-ordinator has made in-house arrangements (usually no longer than 24 hours), the referrer will be contacted to arrange either a service agreement meeting (for referrals from professionals) or a contact agreement meeting. Service agreement meetings are used to discuss and establish a contact agreement. It isn’t always possible for these meetings to take place in person, but it is beneficial if they do, and that any parent(s)/relative(s) involved in contact are also present.
Contact agreements help to ensure that safe, meaningful contacts take place. It acts as a guide for parents, contact workers, social worker and carers about how the contact session will be conducted and what is expected of each person. All contacts must have an agreement that is signed by all parties.
We encourage parents and relatives to visit the centre prior to initial contact, so if they haven’t already done so, this meeting provides the perfect opportunity.
In addition to any information disclosed on the referral form, the agreement will also include:
- Details of advice and support to be provided
- Contact times, dates and durations
- Programmes of work undertaken previously and during contact
- People involved in previous contact sessions
- Type of report required
- Policies and procedure for reviewing and summarising contact
- Contact centre rules