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 Separated Parents Information Programme (SPIP) 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: 

  1. Reducing barriers and resistance to agreeing arrangements and managing any risks so that these are safe 
  1. Promoting positive communication within families 
  1. Ensuring children’s wishes and feelings are heard and considered 
  1. 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  

Separated Parents Information Programme (SPIP)

We offer the Separated Parents Information Programme (SPIP) which is a group course designed to help separated parents become clear about what their children need most from them. Parents also learn how to manage communication and conflict and how to put this into practice. 

  • Learn what children need MOST after parents separate.
  • Develop practical skills to improve communication and reduce conflict.
  • Understand and reflect on the emotional impact of separation on parents.

We deliver the SPIP in partnership with Child First Family Mediation, Talk Listen Change and Action for Children. We deliver across Greater Manchester, Cumbria and Lancashire. If attending under a Cafcass referral then the programme is free and the referral is made by Cafcass. The SPIP is available for parents to attend outside of a Cafcass referral and the fee is £75 per parent. Sessions take place via video link. 

Contact Services

(accessed by parent or professional referral)

Indirect Contact Services

ProContact offers various indirect contact services designed to support the making or presentation of indirect contact between children and parents. They can also help parents with writing indirect contact or supporting their child to receive indirect contact.

Sessions can take place on video link or face to face in our centre in Bolton or Lancashire. These sessions are up to 30 minutes. The price is £50 per session and includes a summary report. 

Sessions are available as follows: 

  • Indirect contact support (session with child) 
  • Indirect contact support (session with lives with adult) 
  • Indirect contact support (session with other adult) 

Post-box is available for families where ProContact acts a third party to pass on cards, letters, videos, gift cards or emails between children and parents. This is where the exchange needs to be monitored, the content needs to be checked and addresses cannot be exchanged. The price is £30 per complete exchange and includes a summary report. 

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 2 hours. The price is £100 per session or £200 to include a summary report. 

Supervised Video Contact

We offer professionally supervised contact via video link to maintain contact when face to face contact is not possible. Summary reports of the sessions can be provided to support decisions about contact arrangements.

Staff can support parents with ideas about how to engage children in fun activities during the contact. Staff set up the links for the contact and use Zoom or MS Teams. Sessions take place on zoom or MS Teams. These sessions are up to 30 minutes. The price is £30 per session or £50 to include a summary report. 

Supported Contact - available soon

We provide a fortnightly service for supported contact. This takes place in a contact centre where children and parents can spend time together. Contact is facilitated by staff and volunteers who remain in the room. It enables children and members of their family to build and sustain positive relationships. Staff and volunteers are present but do not listen or observe individual children but rather have an overview of the whole group. A range of toys and activities are provided for all age ranges.

Staggered arrival and departure times are used to ensure 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 2 hours. The price is £40 per session to include an attendance record. 

Supported Handover - available soon

If the handover of children is difficult for children then we can provide a handover service where parents use our centre to collect and/or drop off children. We provide a neutral venue where parents can handover their children either face to face or through us before having unsupervised contact. Staggered arrival and departure times are used to ensure children do not witness conflict.

This service is fortnightly at various times on Saturdays. Sessions can take place face to face in our centre in Bolton or Wilpshire (Nr Blackburn). The price is £30 per weekend to include an attendance record. 

Co-Parenting Support

We help parents work together to reach an agreement about co-parenting. The Cafcass Parenting Plan is used to aid this work. Parents attend together to focus on the needs of their child/ren. Parents attend the Separated Parents Information Programme (SPIP) prior to having sessions working on their parenting plan. Sessions take place on zoom or MS Teams. The package of work is £325 which includes attendance at SPIP and two sessions and a written Parenting Plan.