NETWORKING: Helping practitioners and service users connect with like-minded people: meeting the needs of separated families
History: Experiences within her own family meant that Mary Lower, a Nottingham magistrate, realised how vital it was for the emotional well-being of children to keep in touch with both parents after family breakdown. Her work as a magistrate put her in a position where she became aware of the lack of informal venues where children could meet the parent no longer sharing their home. She responded by establishing a child contact centre in Nottingham.
The Nottingham Access Centre opened in 1985. The idea spread through the network of the United Reformed Church and beyond. Following two national workshops on child contact, a steering group was formed with representatives from probation, the church, the voluntary sector, and other centres.
Although the National Association of Child Contact Centres has grown substantially, the ethos behind child contact centres has remained the same. Without the phenomenal number of volunteers who are willing to give up time at weekends to enable children to meet with their non-resident parent, this growth of centres would not have been possible.
NACCC now has 350 member centres. Much has been achieved, and child contact centres are now an important part of many communities. NACCC will continue with its efforts to ensure child contact centres, and the people working in them, gain greater recognition and support for their invaluable work.
Members: The more important are 283 full members (operational child contact centres) 447 affiliate members (referrers such as Cafcass, solicitors) and 13 commercial full members (operational for-profit child contact centres).
Fees: Full members £80-£200 dependent upon income affiliate members £30 commercial associate members £450.
Mission: To promote safe child contact within a national framework of centres.
● To develop the national framework of child contact centres.
● To support members to deliver safe child contact to standards that command public confidence.
● To facilitate opportunities that will empower NACCC and its member centres to engage directly with local, regional, national and international existing and potential partners to share good practice.
● To inform and influence policy makers and service providers in order to achieve better outcomes for children and their families.
● To ensure that NACCC has the financial, physical and human resources needed to deliver the quality of services needed by our members.
Regional Groups: NACCC covers England, Wales and Northern Ireland, works within eight regions and has two regional support managers. Within this structure, there are special interest groups, including geographical ones in Northern Ireland and Wales.
Good Practice Examples:
● NACCC’s accreditation process ensures that child contact centres meet the national standards, whereby all policies and procedures are in place to make sure centres are safe for child contact to take place.
● NACCC’s protocols established with Cafcass and the judiciary encourage appropriate referrals.
Upcoming events: NACCC AGM and annual conference: 15 September, Nottingham.
Get in contact
See www.naccc.org.uk or contact NACCC chief executive Yvonne Kee, at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com Details of membership, including costs, plus support for setting up a centre can be found on their website