Everything you need to know about Child Contact Centres

Select to Highlight: People | Institutions |

child-contact-centresA child contact centre is a place co-parents can bring their children for change-overs or visitation.

It serves as a neutral and safe environment for separated families.

Child contact centres provide rooms with toys and games for visitation. They also have trained staff for the supervision of visitation.

Staff can also help facilitate change-overs if needed.

If the situation requires, staff can completely handle the change-over process, removing the need for co-parents to meet.

Who can use a child contact centre?

A court may sometimes order change-overs and visitations to be supervised. This could be due to a history of violence between separated families. In cases such as these a court will usually order visitation and change-overs to be supervised by a child contact centre.

Co-parents can also use child contact centres voluntarily, without a court order.

Co-parents can use child contact centres regardless of whether they have been married or not.

How long can you use a child contact centre for?

If a court makes an order for supervised change-overs or visitation then you must do so for the specified time period. If you are using the services voluntarily, the centre will advise you on whether they think the relationship between parties has improved enough to not require the use of a child contact centre.

You should also note that there may be a significant waiting period before services become available as demand is fairly high.

Where can you find a child contact centre?

Child contact centres are run by a number of organisations. Many of them are government funded and can subsidise fees 1.

Child contact centres can be found in Bankstown, Blacktown, Fairfield, Liverpool, Macquarie, Newcastle, Penrith, Sydney and other major city centres. It may be useful to contact other centres if your first choice has a long waiting period. 2.

Fees for child contact centres

Child contact centre fees are usually split between co-parents unless a court has ordered that one party pay all the fees. Some child contact centres charge as little as $10 per hour to use their facilities 3.

Other centres will charge around $15 an hour for supervised visits or $10 per change-over 4.

Please be aware that some services require additional fees for initial assessment. If you do seek the services of a government funded child contact centre and you are suffering financial trouble then you may be eligible for subsidised fees.

It is advised that you speak with your service about your financial situation during your initial consultation.

Benefits of using a child contact centre

Using a child contact centre can benefit all parties involved. For the co-parents, it can help to avoid arguments during the change-over process as it is supervised and the co-parents do not necessarily need to make contact with each other.

This is particularly helpful if the co-parents are not on speaking terms or if there is a history of domestic violence.

For the child, it allows a peaceful transition in a situation that can be daunting.

The toys and games provided create a fun environment for the child to enjoy their visitation and their safety is protected by qualified staff. The child’s well-being should be the primary concern and a child contact centre can provide the services to achieve this.

  1. Family Relationship Centres,  http://www.familyrelationships.gov.au.
  2. Catholic Care, http://www.catholiccare.org/contact-us; Axia Solutions, http://www.axiasolutions.com.au/Contactcentre.html; Macquarie Legal, http://www.macquarielegal.org.au/CWCS.html; Relationships Australia, http://www.nsw.relationships.com.au/contact-us/ccs.aspx.
  3. Axia Solutions, http://www.axiasolutions.com.au/Contactcentre.html.
  4. Sydney CCS fees policy,  http://www.catholiccare.org/families/post-separation/sydney-childrens-contact-service.

Tony Ko

Online Legal Information Author at Family Law Express
Tony is currently studying law and business at the University of Western Sydney. He has a keen interest in civil liability and hopes to work in the area upon graduation.
Tony Ko
Categories: Child Contact Centres, Shared Parenting
Tags: , , , , , , ,