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Contact centre queries

(11 Posts)
mummyt2504 Wed 18-Sep-13 15:53:38

My ex has been granted supervised contact in a contact centre, which obviously means an official person will be overseeing my lb and ex.

However, I am finding it difficult to communicate with anyone that I would want to be in the room when contact takes place. My solicitor, CAFCASS, the law, etc say any case regarding children needs to be child-centre and what is in their best interests.

My lb is only 16 months old and has NEVER met his father due to ongoing alcohol and drug misuse and am told will probably not meet the officer beforehand due to busy schedules.

I know my child, and although very sociable, he constantly looks around to see if I am there and can become very upset when I am not (i.e. gone to the bathroom). He is going through a particularly clingy stage at the moment and am trying to break this habit but feel him too young to be left completely alone i.e. at playgroups. For no other reason would he be left completely alone, so I would want to sit in on the contact sessions. Not to intervene or comment, literally just to sit and be a comfort to my lb and ease him into a new and overwhelming situation.

I would not class myself as a clingy parent and love watching him toddle of and helping his independence. I just can't understand why for no other reason would he be left alone in a strange environment with strangers, yet for this I have and am being told to change my parenting. The only person benefiting from my presence will be my son, who has to come first.

I feel like I am going mad explaining this to people who assume that the father has had a role in his life and then we have split, not realising that has never ever met him before due to his own choices.

Just looking for any support/advice on the matter as I really don't see what is so unreasonable about this. (For example, you don't just dump your child in nursery; there is a lead-in and you wait for them to feel comfortable and that is when they are 3!!!!)

balia Wed 18-Sep-13 18:07:19

Has anyone said specifically that you can't be there?

Labro Thu 19-Sep-13 14:22:58

The difficulty here is that contact and contact centres aren't nurseries and they are not childcare. So, they have to operate on the premise that a child could reacte to the tension between parents and the sole purpose of supervised contact is to observe the parenting skills and interaction of the NRP. If you are in the same room, it alters the balance, you aren't going to ignore your child during that time, you have said he looks for you and can be clingy, so, for cafcass and courts, you are effectively trying to control the contact situation and thats not something they can allow to happen. Particularly as most cases in contact centres will eventually move to unsupervised, the father needs to prove to officials that he can cope when the child cries, needs changing, wants mum, is miserable etc etc - with you as a '3rd person in the room' there is no way to observe these things objectively.

starlight1234 Thu 19-Sep-13 20:47:59

My Ex saw my son in a contact centre for a while..I got his mother there..simply as my son was about 18mnths old and at least she would be able to change a nappy an hopefully care for my son..It was unusual though I think...I did get to visit the centre with my son a week before contact so he was at least familiar with the environment..

mummyt2504 Thu 26-Sep-13 16:26:19

For no other reason would I leave him alone though. He's not even at nursery and if you choose to take them on the 2 year placement, you don't just drop them off and go - there's a gradual handover.

The people running the facility were really rude and as the courts and the law say that everything should be 'child focused', I don't see how worrying about the NRP behaviour with the child can be more important.

I said my child is not clingy, but will look to me for reassurance to continue. I have actually studied parts of child development and am not prepared for his social skills and separation anxiety to be compromised when I'm putting such good work in with the rest of his social life.

Surely if NRP cared about their kids, they would not want to disrupt their development? I want to be in the room to settle him in and if it takes 2 sessions, or 10 for my son to feel comfortable then it should be down to that, not some barely qualified social worker to dictate what my child can and cannot handle.

It is of no benefit to myself to be in the room, I am only there to appease my son and I'm by no means a clingy parent, but people seem to forget that I separated with my ex when I was 8 weeks pregnant. He is a stranger to my son, the workers he will have only met about once before (due to their busy schedules) and will be in an environment he has only been in once before on a pre-visit.

There is no court order stating I CANNOT be in the room, or any information on any websites saying that I CANNOT, and I really don't see the problem given his age, when I would just drop him off like that with one of my friends?!

Finding this absolutely bizarre as although the headings are about being 'child-focused', it seems completely transparent that it is for the benefit of the NRP, whether myself or my child like it or not and am becoming more and more driven to campaign about this, so if any wants to join me, please message me.

I am not saying NRP shouldn't see their children; it is that the children should be the priority, not the needs of the NRP.

Labro Fri 27-Sep-13 20:44:30

Unfortunately thats the reality of family courts.

WithConfidence Sat 28-Sep-13 10:17:06

I think the problem is they mean child centred in the long term. So, in their eyes, it is good for the child to have a relationship with both parents and a bit of short term pain/distress is worth it to get there.

TheWinterOne Sat 28-Sep-13 13:36:46

Unfortunately, I don't think they will allow you in the room with your son when he's with your ex. The whole point of a contact centre is for him to be supervised by a professional to see how he interacts with your child and if he's capable. They need to see from an outside perspective that he able to do it on his own and how your son reacts to him without you there.

I understand your concern but with you present it pretty much defeats the reasoning of a contact centre.

You should be able to stay near by though - in a separate room so you won't be too far away.

balia Sat 28-Sep-13 14:46:08

The thing is, it is difficult to entirely separate the 'needs' of a parent and child; your DS needs you to be healthy and happy enough to take care of him, so your needs are important too. He would be better off with a relationship with his Dad, so starting to establish that, obviously in a safe, supervised environment is really important. It may seem that this is 'for' the NRP, but the experts - the people who have overseen this kind of situation hundreds of times before - know that it is easier to do this without you in there. I'd listen, if I were you, because you don't want the court thinking that the problem with the process is that you are against contact completely.

gruffalosmother Sun 29-Sep-13 21:10:25

it depends on the contact centre. I think they could let you for first couple times. I go into room to drop / collect my dd as I don't like idea of randomer taking her off and don't want her to think mummy hates daddy. the staff are fine about this , have you spoken to.them about your concerns?

gruffalosmother Mon 30-Sep-13 08:49:39

also wanted to say that if a child becomes upset then they will come and get you and will stop contact. you may find your lo cries for a few mins but the stops once distracted . its all a really unnatural situation so I understand why you are worried. def speak to contact centre about your worries before hand. good luck.

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