A service aimed at supporting separated families to arrange contact with children has been inundated since its launch in the centre of Newcastle upon Tyne.
Since becoming a Registered Child Contact Centre in the middle of 2016, Children North East has supported 34 families and 38 children to enjoy quality time together and helped parents to build positive relationships with their children during family separation.
Tracey Welsh, Families and Parenting Service Manager at Children North East, said: “With the UK having one of the highest rates of family breakdown, it’s often relationships between children and non-resident parents that suffer the most.  Thanks to money we receive from Players of Peoples Postcode Lottery we have been able to pilot a new support service that tries to improve children’s contact with separated parents. Our Child Contact Centre has proved a lifeline to non-resident parents who still need contact with their children whilst dealing with the physical and emotional impact of becoming a separated family.
Parents come to us for all sorts of reasons, as a result of Court Directives to seeking a new way to set up contact after informal routes haven’t worked out.  Parents see the service we provide as a means to ensuring their children’s safety as well as building a healthy relationship between the child and the non-resident parent and establishing a more binding routine.  The Child Contact Centre is only one element of the many services we provide for families and children and is all part of the Children North East approach to providing holistic family support.”
Using both traditional and modern methods of contact, families have been able to use the centre in person and via Skype, enabling families to keep in contact throughout the world.
A non-resident parent who has used the service said: “On a personal note I would like to thank you for your kind words, professionalism and support. I would dearly like to take contact forward under your guidance and supervision as I have absolute confidence that a great outcome for [child] will be achieved.”
The Centre is part of a national framework of similar centres and operates under guidance from the NACCC – National Association of Child Contact Centres.  Referrals to the centre are made by social workers, solicitors and parents.