A Guide to Best Practice in Supervised Child Contact

When the relationship of parents breaks down, it is not only the adults who suffer and wherever possible the child should have the opportunity to remain in contact with both parents. Coram's Guide to Best Practice in Supervised Child Contact is aimed at helping professionals plan and manage contact between parents and children in complex cases.

This guide draws on Coram’s vast experience and learning in professional social supervision of children’s contact with parents, siblings and other family members from whom they have been separated due to a breakdown in their parents relationship. It is intended both as a guidance manual to enable and support agencies, professionals and others to understand, assess, plan and effectively manage supervised contact in the most complex and intractable cases, and as a ‘starter pack’ for agencies wanting to establish a supervised contact resource or improve already existing resources.

Key Findings

  • Social workers need to take account of the consequences for both child and parent of different types of contact setting. If contact is to take place at the foster home, they need to acknowledge the difficulties that parents may experience and help them understand the benefits for the children.
  • Social workers need to work with children, carers and parents to identify who might be best to communicate with the child about contact; decisions about telephone or indirect contact should be determined by the wishes of the child.
  • Social services should help parents deal with practical and emotional barriers to contact by helping with transport arrangements and by offering encouragement and support.