New Contact Centres Announced
Commonwealth Attorney-General Phillip Ruddock has announced the funding of 9 new children’s contact centres and 8 new parenting order programs.
This funding is welcomed. Properly run contact centres can help reduce or remove conflict between parents, and increase safety. They allow children to see their parents, on a supervised basis, when there are either allegations or findings of child abuse of various kinds or domestic violence, or provide a changeover venue, so that parents can swap the kids between them without having to come into contact with each other.
Parenting order programs allow the courts to send parents who contravene parenting orders (and their ex’es) to be sent to be educated about their obligations under the orders and the benefits to the children in having the orders work.
When acting for clients who have to go to a contact centre to see their kids, the complaint often made by these parents are the restrictive conditions and the lack of time that they can their children.
However, these parents have it easy. The demand for these services has been huge. Some years ago, for example, there was only 1 in the whole of Sydney, and none between Sydney and Brisbane. The one in Sydney, near Parramatta, was only able to accommodate parents and their children for supervised contact for 26 weeks. After that……..no more supervision.
In Brisbane, there was only 1 on the outer southside, for which some parents would drive hours….just to see their kids. The alternatives at times meant that parents just did not get to see their kids, or courts (and parents) had to look at unpalatable alternatives to help maintain that relationship, versus maintaining safety.
Now the centre that provided that 1 service provides 3 services in Brisbane and another on the Gold Coast, and still the demand is greater than the supply…
The new children’s contact centres will be at: