As a Church we are very grateful to Kirsty Cummins, the Co-ordinator of The New Dawn Child Contact Centre, for doing everything in her power to enable the families who have been using our premises for contact to continue doing so. While we have been in lockdown, she has been working from home to try and keep things going.
Kirsty says, “When we informed the families that we were having to close the centre, we asked the resident parents to consider allowing their children to have indirect access during this time.
Some families have agreed to move forward to make their own arrangements and the government have confirmed that children are allowed to travel between parents where such agreements are in place.
Some families have posted Easter Eggs and others are keeping in touch by phone or text messages!
A few days later we were notified that The Judiciary had issued guidance to families in these situations, stating:
“Where a child does not get to spend time with the other parent, the courts will expect alternative arrangements to be made to establish and maintain regular contact between the child and the other parent within the Stay at Home Rules, for example remotely – by Face-Time, WhatsApp, Face-Time, Skype, Zoom or other video connection or, if that is not possible, by telephone.”
Some of our families have agreed to allow their child to talk to the visiting parent via Zoom meetings and our umbrella organisation, The National Association of Child Contact Centres have produced a letter of agreement setting out the way this new type of contact will work This is all very new to me, so I am now having a Zoom meeting with each parent to go through the letter of agreement and to make sure the technology doesn’t fail!
As this is (so far) proving successful, I will be offering this to all families and will continue to encourage everyone to try to keep contact going by some means during this time.”
On behalf of the church, and the families that use the NDCCC, we would like to say a very BIG THANK YOU to Kirsty for all her single-handed efforts to keep things going under very difficult circumstances. We think she’s a star!!! Eds.