It is the first and only such purpose-built facility on the Tablelands.
The contact centre is a child-focused, safe space where children and parents experiencing separation can connect to establish or maintain relationships.
Parents or other family members can be involved in visitation with children at the Better Together centre.
Families engaged with the Family Law Court or who may have parenting agreements in place can also benefit from accessing the centre.
Changeover of care for children between parents can also be arranged on a regular basis.
The centre is staffed by professional social workers who are trained in observing family dynamics and ensuring both the child and parent’s care, privacy and security.
The services provided by the centre include supervised visits for children with their non-residential parent (both on and off-site); overseeing changeovers between parents sharing the care of their children; Family Law court reports and further referrals to appropriate services. At all times, the child’s wellbeing and safety is prioritised.
CEO John Russell said, “There is a great need for a contact centre.
“Family breakdown is common and undoubtedly a great stressor on anyone.
“There are many families who have been in the unfortunate position of performing changeovers and drop-offs for their children in public car-parks or fast-food restaurants as they are unable to find a neutral party or a place with appropriate facilities on the Tablelands.
“By providing an organised and calm environment for all parties, we can focus on the wellbeing of the child, which is ultimately the goal for all parents during this process.”
Better Together has funded the initiative privately at its Mabel St community hub, converting an existing building utilized as a meeting room into cosy welcoming and private age-appropriate rooms where parents and children can enjoy their time together. Art and craft activities will be available for children in these rooms.
It has also invested in substantial landscaping, building secure facilities and play areas with outdoor areas for vegetable gardens.
The safety and security of the Centre’s clients is top-of-mind for Better Together.
It has a comprehensive security system and safety measures in place with 24/7 monitoring.
Mr Russell explained, “This is to ensure that all children and their caregivers can engage in visitations and changeovers while having peace of mind that they are safe.”
To access the Centre, parents and care-givers can self-refer, bearing in mind that both parties of the family unit must agree to contact the Centre. The Centre also accepts referrals from the Family Law Court, solicitors and support services.
While Better Together has funded the establishment of the centre, there are fees associated with the provision of professional staff and services.
Mr Russell emphasised that the confidentiality and privacy of all families will be respected.
“We know we live in a close community.
“You can rest assured that our staff are trained in maintaining professional discretion at all times and we have strong organisational policies and processes in place guarding your privacy.”
Better Together Children’s Contact Centre will open its doors on Thursday, October 7. Please call 4091 3850 for more information, email: email@example.com or reach out on Better Together’s website and social media sites on Facebook and Instagram.