Sydney Children's Contact Service (CCS) provides facilitated changeover, changeback and supervised contact visits for children and their separated parents.
Situated in a spacious inner-city childcare centre, Sydney CCS provides a safe, child-focused and neutral environment for children and parents. Through the supervised on-site visits or the facilitated changeover of children between their parents, the service aims to give children the opportunity to build a positive relationship with their parents.
The Sydney CCS is a federally funded service operated by CatholicCare Sydney, which also offers a range of other family services including:
* family dispute resolution
* individual and relationship counselling
* men's counselling and groups
* post separation parenting groups
* parenting skills and relationship education programs
* Parentline 24 hour professional phone counselling (1300 130 052 www.parentline.org.au)
Who can use the CCS?
The CCS is for children up to 12 years of age, although slightly older children may use the service with their siblings.
The service is intended to assist separated families who may have been affected by issues including:
• conflict between the parents
• a long period of separation between children and one of their parents
• safety concerns for children spending time with a parent
• disputes about parental arrangements
• court orders relating to the above or other issues.
The CCS will at times have a primary focus on the "best interests" of children and aim to work in accordance with the principles of the Family Law Act to protect the rights of children to have a safe and positive relationship with their parents.
How does the service work?
Both parents need to return application forms to the Coordinator so that intake assessments can be held separately. The CCS Service Agreement and fees are discussed at this interview. Parents attend a free 3-hour post-separation parenting seminar “Building Connections” and families assessed as suitable for our services will be offered one of the following services when a vacancy becomes available. Please note that waiting times can vary due to high demand from both court ordered and voluntary clients.
Supervised changeover and change-back can help children to move between their parents for off-site, unsupervised contact. Contact workers facilitate and supervise the transition between parents to avoid conflict for the children.
Supervised visits occur at our welcoming, child-friendly site with staff supervising children's visits (usally 2-hour duration) with their "spends time with" parent. Age appropriate games and equipment; and caring, qualified staff help to make a friendly and child-focused place for children and parents to share visits.
For both of these services, contact workers observe parent-child interactions, and observational notes are made. These services are offered on weekends subject to availability.
Families wishing to use the service may self-refer, be court-ordered (e.g. Family Court, Federal Magistrates Court) or be referred by other agencies or legal representatives (e.g. Family Dispute Resolution Services, Legal Aid, or other services)
What does it cost?
Fees for the intake assessment, supervised contact visits or changeovers are payable by each parent unless a court order has directed one parent to pay all fees. The CCS Coordinator will inform applicants about the current fee rates on enquiry.
Costs are also payable for any files subpoenaed for court proceedings
This service receives funding from the Federal Attorney - Generals Department and is administered through FaHCSIA.
For further enquiries or to request a CCS application form please contact:
Sydney Children's Contact Service
Ph. 02 9390 5366
Fax: 02 9390 5394