Supervised Contact Policies & Guidelines

The Adelaide Resolutions Centre provides a safe, neutral and child-focused venue for facilitated visits and handovers to occur between children and their parents and other significant persons in the child's life (for convenience in this guideline referred to as 'parents'). The Consultants at The Adelaide Resolutions Centre assist parents who are experiencing conflict to manage these arrangements. The Consultants work with families to encourage positive interaction between children and their parents, and to support the strengthening of these relationships. Over time, and where possible, parents are encouraged to move to self-management of their arrangements for spending time with the child.

 

Principles Underpinning these Policies and Guidelines

The guideline is based on the principle that The Adelaide Resolutions Centre has the best interests of the child as their paramount consideration (Section 60CA Family Law Act).

The Adelaide Resolutions Centre wishes to implement the commencement and/or maintenance of a meaningful relationship between a child and his or her parent and other people significant to the child's care, except when it would be contrary to the child's best interests (s 60B Family Law Act) by facilitating the child spending time with his or her parent.

It is the goal of The Adelaide Resolutions Centre to provide a neutral environment focused on the child and not the dispute of the parents before the Court.

 

Matters to be Considered when Attending The Adelaide Resolutions Centre

The Consultant’s at The Adelaide Resolutions Centre must consider during the period of the service:

  • Any actual physical or emotional harm suffered by the child as a result of time spent with the parent under a parenting order or parenting plan

  • Any views expressed by the child having regard to the child's age and state of maturity

  • Whether the continuation/type of service provided is in the child's best interests, and

  • Whether the parenting orders made for supervision are/are not meeting the best interests of the child or whether they require variation.

 

Where appropriate the Consultant should:

  • Communicate views and recommendations including any recommendations to relist the matter before the Court to the Independent Children's Lawyer if such a lawyer has been appointed, and/or the parents using the service, and their lawyers, if any

  • Consider requesting the Independent Children's Lawyer to confer with the child to ascertain the child's view

  • Terminate the provision of service should the Consultant deem it necessary for the child/ren’s wellbeing or in the event that the parent/s attending the practice fail to comply with The Adelaide Resolutions Centre’s behaviour policies.

  • Comply with any mandatory reporting requirements to the relevant statutory authority.

  • The priority of a Children's Contact Service is the safety and well-being of children, parents and staff. As Children's Contact Services are child-focused, the safety and well-being of children is the paramount concern.

 

The Adelaide Resolutions Centre will maintain screening and assessment procedures including separate face-to-face interviews with all parents prior to acceptance into the service.

Each party involved in the Supervised Contact service at The Adelaide Resolutions Centre is expected to engage with the Service in a cooperative, respectful manner and adhere to The Adelaide Resolutions Centre’s behaviour policies.

The Adelaide Resolutions Centre may decline to offer a position to a parent or may withdraw the service once commenced if these requirements are not met.

 

Conditions of Service

The Adelaide Resolutions Centre reserves the right to decline a referral if use of the service will pose an unacceptable risk to a child, staff or other service users.

An intake with each parent is required to assess the capacity of The Adelaide Resolutions Centre to perform the service as ordered or requested. The procedures for intake include separate interviews with each parent.

At or prior to the intake, the following documents and information should be provided by the parents or their legal representatives:

  • A copy of the current parenting order (including any consent order) made by the Court or any parenting plan

  • A copy of the current Family Violence Order (if applicable)

  • A Family Report or other documents if ordered by the Court to be disclosed to The Adelaide Resolutions Centre

  • Any information that may impact on the provision of the service; this may include information about a child or parent's health condition, and

  • Each parent must complete and sign the client registration form and consent form prior to the commencement of the service.

 

The Adelaide Resolutions Centre operates a zero-tolerance policy in regards to inappropriate behaviour / language. Persons attending the practice are asked not to cause any disturbance or upset to their own children or others on the premises. This includes the use of aggressive / intimidating behaviours or inappropriate language. If service users behave in a way considered by the Family Therapist/Consultant to be unacceptable they may be asked to leave. Services may be suspended or revoked at the Family Therapist/Consultant’s discretion should such behaviour occur.

Adults should be on time at the beginning and end of each session to avoid upsetting the child/ren and where required, to comply with any order that is in place. If staggered times of arrival/departure are agreed, they must be adhered to.

If anyone is unable to attend, they should contact The Adelaide Resolutions Centre as soon as possible and if appropriate, also inform all parties e.g. solicitor.

The welfare of the children is paramount and as a result there may be times when the Centre Co-ordinator deems that contact cannot take place if the child is too upset, even if a court order permitting contact exists.

The Centre under no circumstances permits verbal or audio recordings to be made of staff or service users in line with our use of media policy. If recordings are made, this will result in immediate suspension from the use of the Centre.

If anyone arrives for contact at The Adelaide Resolutions Centre under the influence of alcohol or drugs they will be asked to leave and that contact cannot continue. No alcohol or drugs are permitted on the premises (this includes cigarettes).

Arrangements for bringing the child/ren to and from The Adelaide Resolutions Centre are the responsibility of the adult they live with. Under no circumstances will The Adelaide Resolutions Centre accept unaccompanied children for contact.

While at The Adelaide Resolutions Centre, the child/ren must be under the supervision and control of a parent or other agreed person at all times to ensure their safety.

 

Risk Assessment

In assessing risk the Children's Contact Service will consider:

  • Proven or alleged incidents of violence towards the child or other persons

  • Proven or alleged sexual abuse

  • Abductions or fears of abduction

  • The existence of a relationship between the parent spending time with the child

  • The mental health of the parent to be supervised

  • Alcohol and/or other drug use

  • The needs of the individual child

  • The level of understanding that the parent to be supervised has of the needs of their child and in particular his/her knowledge and understanding of their own child, and

  • The cooperation and attitude of both parents.

 

The degree of vigilance will help determine:

  • How many supervisors are required

  • Whether the parent and child should always be within the hearing distance of the supervisor

  • Whether the parent and child should always be within sight of the supervisor

  • Whether visits can be offsite (if the Service has provision for this)

  • Whether a parent can feed an infant or change a nappy

  • Whether extra restrictions are put into place

  • The frequency and length of visits, and

  • Whether more than one family can be supervised by one worker.

 

The Consultant of  The Adelaide Resolutions Centre shall assess and identify on a regular and ongoing basis the nature and extent of any risk and the family's supervision needs, taking into account the safety needs of the child, the child's need for time with the visiting parent, and the effect of interrupting parent/child visits.

The Adelaide Resolutions Centre will suspend or withdraw a supervised visit if the Consultant determines the risk factors present jeopardise the safety of any person.

Grounds for suspension or termination of a service may include:

  • One or both parents fail to comply with the reasonable instructions of the Consultant

  • Inappropriate conduct by a parent during the term of service

  • One or both parents fail to make payments within a reasonable time frame or if the outstanding account becomes greater than $500

  • Angry or threatening behaviour

  • Behaviour which appears to be affected by substance use or abuse, or

  • A child's refusal to have a visit after presentation in accordance with a Court order.

 

For more information on Children’s Contact Services, please visit the family court website:

http://www.familycourt.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/fcoaweb/reports-and-publications/publications/family+violence/a-guideline-for-family-law-courts-and-childrens-contact-services

 

*please note that not all of the guidelines on the family court website are relevant to The Adelaide Resolutions Centre. The Adelaide Resolutions Centre is not a contact centre but a private family therapy practice with qualified Family Therapists/Consultants who are able to undertake Supervised Contact services which may be reportable to the court.