Parental separation can be challenging for the whole family

Parental conflict is very stressful for children. Conflict between separated parents can occur over topics such as time spent with children, communication and parental decisions. It is usually considered in a child’s best interests to see both parents and this can support them to feel secure and happy.

ProContact was established in 1999 and became part of CANW in 2014 and is a regional leader in contact services. ProContact operates across North and West England, offering a range of services for families to help make informed decisions about safe and sustainable contact arrangements. 

We can help children see their parents post separation by supporting parents to reduce their conflict and focus on the needs of their children. We work with families during court proceedings or where there has been a break down in contact arrangements. We help parents to learn about what children need most from them, how to communicate better and how to ensure there is a sustainable child arrangement. This can include enabling contact between children and parents to re-establish their relationship. 

ProContact enables and promotes contact for children and their family and supports parents to improve co-parenting and to reduce conflict.

How to access ProContact

There are two ways to access contact services.

This can be through a Cafcass referral where Cafcass fund sessions or through a contact services referral where parents usually fund sessions.

Cafcass commission ProContact to deliver Improving Child and Family Arrangements (ICFA) across the North and West of England and Planning Together for Children (PTC) across North West.



For contact services these referrals can be made by solicitors, Social Workers and parents. Sessions can be arranged for either weekdays or weekends depending on availability.  

CAFCASS Services

(accessed only by CAFCASS referral)

Improving Child and Family Arrangements (ICFA)

ICFA can only accessed through a referral by Cafcass, parents cannot self-refer. Some families need help agreeing safe, beneficial and sustainable child arrangements because they find it difficult to organise this on their own. 

ICFA work has four expected key outcomes for families: 

  • Reducing barriers and resistance to agreeing arrangements and managing any risks so that these are safe 
  • Promoting positive communication within families 
  • Ensuring children’s wishes and feelings are heard and considered 
  • Helping families agree a Parenting Plan to avoid future issues arising 

ICFA work is a short intervention and can include: 

  • Direct work with parents together or individually to help resolve parental conflict, support learning about good co-parenting and prepare them for their child/ren having contact 
  • Direct work with child/ren to prepare them for contact 
  • Observation of the parent spending time with the child/ren in a contact centre, the home, the community, or any other suitable settings 

We are the leading provider of ICFA for the North and West of England and deliver most of the work with families. We work in partnership with other organisations who deliver the work across the region. Further details about ICFA can be found on the Cafcass website Home – Cafcass – Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service  

Planning Together for Children (PTC)

Planning Together for Children is a course that supports parents to think about the needs of their children first when they are working out how they can parent together, as they are separating and/or they are living apart. It supports parents to think carefully about what is in the children’s best interests and to do their best to work together to protect children against some of the harmful effects of parental conflict.

  • Planning Together for Children encourages parents to think about how they can communicate and work together to agree parenting arrangements without the need for more court hearings.
  • The course helps parents, or those who care for children, to understand how disagreements and arguments can affect children.
  • Parents may be ordered, or directed, to complete Planning Together for Children by a family court. The course is free and parents cannot refer themselves to the Planning Together for Children course.
  • CANW supports parents in Cumbria, Greater Manchester and Lancashire to complete the course.
  • For more information please visit the Cafcass website or view factsheet (link at the bottom of the webpage ‘PTC Factsheet’)


What does Planning Together for Children involve?

• The first stage is for parents to complete an e-learning course online, in their own time (taking up to two hours). This focuses on topics such as what happens if parents go to court, understanding and managing emotion, how separation affects children, and looking at things from a child’s point of view.

• Once complete, parents must take part in a workshop with other parents for more learning and discussion. These workshops are delivered online. They cover topics such as understanding the impact of conflict on children, how separation affects children, and communicating in positive ways with each other.

• Finally, the course introduces parents to an interactive online parenting plan. The plan encourages agreement over sharing the care and support of children.

Contact Services

(accessed by parent or professional referral)

Supervised Contact

If there is no one to support the child arrangements then professional supervised contact may be suitable. This may be when there are risks, there has been a long gap in contact, when a child is reluctant or when parents cannot find a solution themselves.

We offer professionally supervised contact at our centres that are accredited by NACCC Summary reports of the sessions can be provided to support decisions about contact arrangements. Staggered arrival and departure times can be put in place to ensure that children do not witness conflict. Sessions can take place face to face in our centre in Bolton or Wilpshire (Nr Blackburn). These sessions are up to 90 minutes. The price is £125 per session or £225 to include a summary report. 

Supported Contact

This service relaunches on Saturday 22nd July 2023.

This is a fortnightly service which takes place at our Bolton centre. The session runs from 09.00-10.45 with the visiting parent arriving at 08.45 and leaving at 11.00.

The price is £40 per session which includes an attendance record. 

Supported Contact supports children and parents to spend time together within a contact centre. Staff are present but do not listen or observe individual children but rather have an overview of the whole group. Direct observations are not made and reports are not written. Staff are present to ensure the comfort of those engaging in the service. A range of toys and activities are provided for all age ranges.

Supported Handover

This service relaunches on Saturday 22nd July 2023.

This is a fortnightly service which takes place at our Bolton centre. There are two options with handovers 09.00-10.45 or 09.00-14.00 with the visiting parent arriving at 08.45 and leaving at 11.00 or 14.15.

The price is £30 per session which includes an attendance record. 

Supported Handover supports children and parents when an independent handover is difficult. Parents can handover their children either face to face or through staff before unsupervised contact takes place. Direct observations are not made and reports are not written.