What are Children's Contact Visits?
Children's Contact Visits are often times (but not always) court ordered child contact arrangements for the parent that does not have custody. The court requires the presence of an independent observer - usually provided by a children's contact service - to be present at visits and provide a report to parents and the court. The court then uses these reports to determine whether continued independent observation of the visiting parent is necessary.
What is the difference between community based and
centre based children's contact visits?
Community Based Visits
Community based visits are held in every-day locations. Community based visits are considered to be more beneficial for a majority of families as the visits are held in a more natural and often times more familiar location to the child.
Holding Hands Family Services provides both parents with separate meeting points to ensure the safety of the child and family. Staggered departure and arrival times further reduces the risk of conflict between parents.
Visit reports provides parents and the court with confidence in the visiting parents capacity to manage their children in settings that, upon success within children's contact visits, the family will return to.
Centre Based Visits
Centre based visits are held in a centre. Separate entries are provided for parents and the visit is usually conducted in a single room.
Contact Centres are appropriate for more 'high-risk families or where families may be benefit from government funding.
Government funded contact centres usually have long waiting lists and may only be offered for a short period.
Visit Reports may not necessarily reflect the visiting parents capacity or confidence to manage a visit in a community setting.
Introducing Our Newcastle Management Team
Day-to-day operations of our Service is managed by our Service Manager, Jakki Schwartz. Jakki has over 10 years experience in children's contact services and over 15 years experience in the Social Work Sector.
Client Services Co-ordinator
Having started as a Contact Worker, Clare now holds the position of Client Services Co-ordinator - a role for which she is uniquely suited. Clare represents Holding Hands to various stakeholders in the Family Law and Welfare sectors.
Senior Contact Worker
Lauren is our Senior Contact Worker for the Newcastle and Central Coast areas after achieving some great outcomes with families in the area as a Contact Worker
Our Intake Process
Our intake process begins when parents complete and submit their referral forms. From there, parents undertake a thorough Intake Assessment with a Senior Contact Worker who will assess the families suitability to use our service. The intake assessment will also highlight each families unique requirements.
The intake assessment is also used by the service to allocate an appropriate Contact Worker who will then meet your child for the first time at a Child Familiarisation Session. This session is at the heart of our #alwayschildfocused approach.
Contact Arrangements throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic
Throughout the COVID-19 lockdown in early to mid 2020, Holding Hands Family Services became the first children's contact service to offer online contact visits in order to provide consistency for children involved in contact arrangements.
Since the initial lockdown period, our management team continues to monitor government health alerts to make necessary modifications to contact arrangement to ensure the ongoing safety of our families during this pandemic.
Our Contact Visits
Our Service operates community based contact visits for families that successfully pass through our intake process. Community visits allow the visiting parent to spend time with their child in everyday locations.
Locations are assessed by our team as appropriate for contact visits based on the age of the child/ren and the suitability of the activities offered at that location. The service also considers the availability of separate, safe meeting points. The Service also provides families with an appropriate inclement weather location.
We understand adjusting to changes after separation is a difficult and challenging time. Holding Hands is here to help provide ongoing support to assist parents to strengthen their relationship with their children after the change of separation.
Our Post-Separation Specialists support parents with practical guidance, parenting skills and techniques to navigate the complexities of life after separation.