Interrelate's Children's Contact Service offers safe, neutral, flexible, and child-focused time for children and their families to spend time together. The aim of Interrelate Children's Contact Service is to support children to connect and build positive relationships with family members who they do not live with or are not connecting with outside our service.

Preparation before visit

  • Speak to your child or children about the upcoming visit. Remember to keep conversation positive to assist your children to feel comfortable about the situation.
  • Please confirm your attendance a day or two before arriving.
  • We know starting visits can bring about all sort of emotions. Try to think about things that help you stay calm. For example, deep breathing, music, exercise.
  • Make sure you know where to go and plan and how to get there.
  • Think about what time you need to arrive and what time you will need to leave home.
  • If you are dropping children off for their visit, think about what you can do during the time they are there. If you are feeling overwhelmed, it can help to keep busy. Please avoid the area where the visit is taking place unless you have prior arrangements to support your children.
  • Make sure you know where to park your car.
  • Plan and prepare what to take with you. Toys, foods, drinks, sunscreen, nappies, hat etc. 

As families start to build trust and feel confident that visits are progressing well or are moderate to low-risk, some families move their visits to be in the community. Other families may decide to visit each other in the community from the start.

An Interrelate Contact worker will attend the visit to support children, to observe and to monitor interaction. To facilitate community visits, we assess locations for accessibility, risks and distance. We talk to the adults involved and seek their feedback about community visits.

Unlike the Contact centre we do not carry toys to a community visit. It is up to the visiting parent or adult to bring equipment, food, and supplies much like you would do for a day out at a picnic. You might also like to arrange to visit a place that provides entertainment such as a ten-pin bowling centre, an animal park, or a movie theatre. In these cases the visiting adult will also be responsible for costs of entry including that of staff.

When you feel safe to do so, staff encourage parents to support children in the exchange by being present when children move from spending time between parents and other significant adults. This can greatly reduce stress for children because they are most comfortable with familiar people in their lives.

Staff record observations in a report. The information in the report is factual and contains details about what the staff see and hear. For example, we observe the play between adults and children, information about food and whether the children's needs are being met, as well as the observations about children's safety.

When the visit is coming to an end, our staff will let children and the visiting parent know it is time to start packing up and get ready to say goodbye.

Things to do during community visits

It can help children to prepare for a visit when they are aware if what they are going to do during the time they spend with you.
We encourage adults to involve children in deciding what activities they would enjoy next time they see you.
Please note, only give children realistic choices, for example:

- Is it a place staff can supervise a visit? (check with the coordinator prior to asking children)
- Can you financially afford the outing? - remember, you will need to include Interrelate staff into any activities costs
- Are you able to get to the location and do you have enough time to do the activity in the allocated time you have?

Some ideas include:

  • Go to a parks or picnic area
  • Go shopping, maybe get an ice cream
  • Visit other family you have not seen for a while
  • Visit activity places such as, putt putt golf, ten-pin bowling or the movies
  • Go somewhere to play sport

Click here for a short checklist to help prepare for your session