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

Whilist we understand face to face connection is very important in supporting the growth of relationships, this is not always possible. Online visits are a great way to spend time together for people who are not able to see each other in person. This may occur due to COVID-19 or when children or adults are feeling unwell and do not want to spread germs. In other situations, physical distance and travel make meeting up in person difficult. In these situations, we will send adults a Zoom video link to join an online meeting. You will need to have a stable internet connection and a compatible device such as a mobile phone, IPad, tablet, latptop or computer. Online visits may work for some or all, of  your family connections.

Preparation before visit

  • Speak to your child/ren about the upcoming visit. Remember to keep conversation positive to assist your child/ren to feel comfortable about the situation.
  • Please confirm your attendance a day or two before your scheduled online call.
  • We know starting visits can bring about all sorts of emotions so think about things that will help you stay calm. For example, deep breathing, music, exercise.
  • Check your email to make sure you have received the online invite.
  • Ensure your device has plenty of battery or is plugged into power as required for the duration of the visit.
  • We understand that internet connection issues can occur, however please do a check of your internet connection about one hour prior to your visit. This gives you time to phone our service to let staff know what is happening. We can do checks by trying to do a test online video connection or arrange another option such as rescheduling or arranging a phone call instead.
  • Make sure you are on time and have the volume and audio settings turned on.
  • Set up the space- have the device in a place where the visiting parent or person can see and talk to the children. Have activities and other items set up that will encourage communication and interaction. Some ideas include:

A favourite toy, a school photo, a photo of the child doing something they enjoy, an artwork they have made, an object they like etc.

  • A board game; children can throw a dice and move pieces for the parent online
  • Enjoy a picnic lunch together online
  • Do an activity together at the same time, i.e. making paper planes
  • Staff can assist you with other ideas

During the visit

Staff will also be present for online visits though they may not always be visible.If required,staff can speak privately to children or adults in a virtual private room.  Sometimes it is hard for children to think of things to do or talk about. It can help if adults assist their children by getting things ready before the visit starts (see above).

Remember, if you are visiting with younger children who cannot talk fluently, much of your visit will be observing them play and talking to them about what they are doing.
The adult that the children live with may or may not be present for the session. This depends on the suitability and safety for the children to be in the room or environment alone, as well as how comfortable children feel about chatting online. We ask that when the stay with adult is present in the room with the child/ren they encourage interaction with the visiting parent or adult and are supportive of the online visits.

Staff will let everyone know when the visit is coming to an end so that there is an opportunity to say goodbye.

With face-to-face interactions, staff record observations in a report after the visit has finished. 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 child/ren's needs are being met along with the child/ren's safety.