December 13 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
The reopening of a contact centre in King’s Lynn has sparked a national campaign to save units which help to reunite estranged parents with their children.
The Child Contact Centre Campaign was launched at the official opening of the King’s Lynn centre after retired family court adviser Peter Barker said the need for such facilities was being “completely overlooked”.
Mr Barker organised for separated mums and dads to be able to arrange access visits for their children at the North Lynn Discovery Centre, in Columbia Way, after the previous King’s Lynn Child Contact Centre (CCC) was forced to close.
He then urged his union, the National Association of Probation Officers (NAPO), to take up the cause nationally.
“I’ve seen this individual crisis with our contact centre having closed,” he said.
“It is something that happens all over the country, so I said ‘we need to do something’.”
Mr Barker, who used to work for the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS), arranged for the Discovery Centre to be used between 10am and 1pm on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month.
The closure of the previous CCC meant families were having to go to Peterborough and Norwich for visits.
He recruited approximately 15 volunteers, who are required to keep parents separate and ensure a child’s safe transfer.
“Everyone has done brilliantly to get this funding to get the King’s Lynn CCC open but this isn’t a good way to go,” Mr Barker said. “We need to have centres properly funded by government.”
Mr Barker previously said a CCC “gives children who are extremely disadvantaged a chance”.
He said those who use CCCs are often aged between one and eight and have experienced conflict between their parents at a vulnerable stage of their lives.
“This can help restore the relationships with their parents and help them to grow,” Mr Barker said.
He also said it could help mums and dads who are not on speaking terms to have a more civil and constructive relationship for the benefit of the child.
For more details, contact the CCC on 07805 466916 or email@example.com