Have you heard of a Child Contact Centre?
Did you know 200,000 children experience the separation of their parents every year?
Did you know 33% of children experience the separation of their parents before their 16th birthday?
Did you know 100,000 children lose contact with a parent every year?
Did you know that this can lead to lower academic performance, and cause the children to be more likely to manifest depressive symptoms; truancy; leave school or home prematurely; and place them at higher risk of involvement with drugs and crime as well as their potentially becoming teenage parents.
Voice of the Child is a nationally accredited Child Contact Centre, and our aim is to retain and encourage sustainable contact with the non-resident parent, providing a safe and secure environment where they can spend time together and build on their relationship.
We provide two principal levels of contact - Supervised Contact, where the child is considered to be at risk; and Supported Contact, where a safe and neutral place is provided to allow the parent and child to spend time together. Last year, we received approximately 350 enquiries for contact services from legal /child care professionals and of these, we received 228 contact referrals following the enquiries.
The outcomes of these referrals were as follows:
40 Supervised Contacts
57 Supported Contacts
131 families requesting Supervised Contact were signposted elsewhere due to funding limitations
We also maintain a waiting list for Supervised Contact - unfortunately at the moment we are unable to support these families due to a lack of funding, and a large proportion of these families can't afford the costs of Contact themselves. Consequently, in 85% of the families referred for Supervised Contact, contact does not take place. In 97% of these cases, it means that the father does not see his child. There are also many families who are unaware of Child Contact services.
Voice of the Child is the only nationally accredited Child Contact Centre in a 55 mile radius of Reading, Berkshire, which offers both levels of contact and we would love to be able to extend our support to even more families and their children by providing longer opening hours, and reducing the costs of Contact as much as possible, for as many as possible.
If you would like to find out more about our work, or to lend us your support, please do get in touch through www.voiceofthechild.org or follow us on Twitter at @voiceofthechild.