Bayside Children’s Contact Service FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the Eligibility criteria to attend the Bayside Children’s Contact Service?

Below is the Eligibility Checklist to visit the the Bayside Children’s Contact Service (BCCS) –

1. The BCCS is not government subsidised. Therefore, Applicants must be willing and able to pay for visits, and associated costs, as set out in our Fee Schedule
2. Supervised Visits must be paid in full at least 24 hours prior to the visit commencing. Visits will be cancelled if payment has not been made within this time frame.
3. Court Reports must be paid in full before they can be released to the relevant recipients.
4. The BCCS cannot accept applications from parties who have any criminal charges pending. These must be cleared before making a application.
5. The BCCS cannot accept applications from parties who are on the Sex Offenders Register.

2. When and how frequently can I attend the service?

Times can be scheduled at a mutually beneficially time; weekdays or weekends, before nap-time or after-school. We are happy to work with you to make the arrangements that suit everyone involved, that are in the best interests of the child. If you would like to make a specific enquiry please call us on 03 8599 5433 or email bccs@familylife.com.au.

3. What is a Children’s Contact Service?

The aim of the Children’s Contact Service is to support and assist children in families where family separation has occurred. The Service offers supervised time and supervised changeover between children and the parent they do not live with, or extended family member, in a safe and supportive environment.

The Bayside CCS ensures that families receive the support they require to strengthen their parent/child relationships; improve and foster appropriate communication between the couple.
Families are able to use the Children’s Contact Service voluntarily or if the court has ordered that spend time with arrangements are supervised.  Contact Workers remain impartial with a focus on the child’s best interest at all times.

4. What is a Supervised visit?

When a child needs to have a safe, controlled environment in which to spend time with their other parent or significant other, the visit can be supervised by a Contact Worker. This form of supervision is utilised when there are safety and wellbeing concerns. These may include: family violence, child protection, mental health, substance abuse or to re-establish a relationship between the child/children involved and the “spends time with” (non-resident) parent.

Most families are Court Ordered to attend our Service, although self referrals are also welcome. Couples who have experienced an acrimonious separation and may not be able to manage their own arrangements safely and in a child focused manner are encouraged to utilise the Service where trained workers supervise time between children and their other parent, on site for a two hourly visit. Age appropriate games and activities are provided and families receive the support they require to strengthen their parent/child relationships; improve and foster appropriate communication between the couple and ultimately for the parents to self manage their own spend time arrangements.

5. Is this service for me?

• Do you feel the need to provide a safe and friendly environment for children to spend time with the “spends time with” (non-residential) parent?
• Are you experiencing parental conflict at changeover?
• Is the current location for the exchanges not ideal (police station, car park or fast food restaurant)?
• Do the “spend time” arrangements/changeovers need to take place in the presence of a qualified practitioner?
• Is support required to repair and develop the parent-child relationship?
• Is a neutral (independent third party) service required in the best interests of your child/children?
• Are Court Reports or individual Notes requested?

6. Why might a supervised visit be needed?

There are many reasons supervised visitation may be needed:
• domestic violence,
• sexual abuse,
• drug abuse,
• mental illness,
• risk of international abduction,
• general risk of child abduction,
• neglect,
• adoption,
• parental alienation,
• any other potentially dangerous family situations

7. What if I am already self-managing the exchanging with my ex-partner?

If you are self-managing already then you don’t need to use the service, unless your arrangements are not working and the children are being exposed to a high conflict situation between the parents or one parent is feeling unsafe.
This Service also supports parents who are in need of court reports to use in the Family Court or Federal Magistrates Courts.
Some parents may struggle to parent due to a lack of family supports or role models so the Service can assist with this too.

8. What’s involved?

Once applications have been received from both parents an Intake and Assessment interview with both parents separately is required, along with the signing of the Service Agreement prior to visits going ahead. This document outlines the expectations of the Service and the guidelines families are asked to adhere to. For safety reasons, separate entry and exit points are allocated to each parent for their use during visits.

Times can be scheduled at a mutually beneficially time; weekdays or weekends, before nap-time or after-school. We are happy to work with you to make the make arrangements that suit everyone involved.

The Service also encourages families to participate in the Post Separation Group “Stand By Me” where parents learn new skills in communicating with each other in a business like manner and most importantly to be child focused.

The Children’s Contact Service is also able to link families into other services, including counselling for children and parents, parenting programs and children’s groups.

9. How would I prepare for a visit?

Sometimes the “spends time with” parent or any party being supervised may feel resentful and nervous. Some feel angry at having to pay to see their children. Having a good attitude is important for making the most of the visit and preparation is key.
Here are some tips to help
• Bring food or babies milk bottles if there is a mealtime during visit or it is a long visit.
• Plan activities the child will like.
• Stay focused on the child.
• Plan to meet the child’s needs.
• Do not discuss the separation or differences.
• Do not speak negatively about the other parent or family.
• A positive attitude (from both parents) is key.
• Encourage the child to have fun.
• Say good bye quickly.
• Do not interrogate the child after visits.

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