Services for Separated Families

Services for Separated Families

  • Trained access workers
  • Supported handovers
  • Supervised access
  • Provision of factual contact reports
  • Parent mentoring
  • Section 32 assessments
  • Assessments of Contact
  • Parental capacity assessments

Our Vision for Children of Separated Parents

We beleve that it is central to children’s development, that they can grow up enjoying positive relationships with both of their parents. It’s widely recognised that contact with both parents is important for a child’s wellbeing and future development, following a family break-up, except in a very small number of circumstances.

For some separated parents, anger, hostility and fear make it difficult to manage contact and shared care arrangements. In some situations contact between a child and their non-residential parent ceases altogether. This can lead to confusion, insecurity and trauma for a child in the longer term.

 

What supports can separated parents access?

Aspire Plus provides attachment-trained child contact workers who will facilitate contact arrangements to occur with a minimum of stress, both for children and parents. If needed we can also help to re-establish a relationship between children and parents when there has been a period of limited or no contact.

 

Contact Support Services
  • A trained Child Contact Team, supervised by our in-house attachment trained social worker; Orla Ryan
  • Supervised contact visits to enable the child and visiting parent to enjoy quality time together
  • Parent mentoring in order to enhance the quality of contact
  • Supported handovers to enable the child to be transferred from one parent to the other at contact times without the parents meeting
Key Advantages of using a Child Contact Service

The advantages of using a Child Contact Service are that parents do not have to deal directly with each other; a relaxed, safe and neutral environment is provided for both children and parents; and that contact can be re-established with the support of a neutral third party.

 

How does the Child Contact Service work?

Initially, we will carry out an individual intake meeting with each parent. We will discuss parents’ hopes with regard to the long-term outcome of the involvement of a child contact worker.

Please remember we are an objective, independent service and will be seeking to understand the presenting issues. Our Child Contact Workers are not here to judge, our role is to help and guide non-resident parents to develop a positive relationship with their child(ren). The success of our work, depends on the willingness of parents to co-operate. We are obliged to follow any Court directions made in relation to contact and will work collaboratively with parents, ensuring that the focus at all times, is the best interest of the child(ren).

If the use of a Child Contact Worker has been recommended on foot of a Section 32 assessment, or on foot of the directions of a Judge, we will require a copy of the report or directions.

We are goal focused and where it is requested by the Court,  where possible, our team will work to support child contact to progress from supervised, to semi-supervised, supported and eventually, to individual contact without the involvement of a Child Contact Worker.

Section 32 Assessments (Child and Family Relationships Act 2015)

In the case of families who are separating, this can be a very distressing and upsetting time for children. When custody and access issues arise, the Court may order what is called a Section 32 assessment and report to be completed. In Aspire Plus, we provide a panel of experienced social workers for S.32 assessments. Please note, referrals for these assessments are accepted only from solicitors and the Courts.

 

Information for Parents

When a social worker is appointed, you will be offered an appointment to meet with her/him, in order to share information in relation to your family and the circumstances which have resulted in you being referred to our service. We will ask for your views about your child(ren). We will also meet your child(ren) in order to discuss their views and wishes. We will prepare a report for the Court and attend Court if necessary.

Our assessors will ensure that the voice of the child is heard and brought to the attention of the Court. Recommendations made will be based upon consideration of all information gathered during the course of our enquiries, where the best interest of the child is paramount.

Our panel of social workers have expertise in the completion of assessments of children and families.

Please note, referrals are accepted only from legal representatives and the courts.

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Here is a helpful link to access further information about what a Section 32 assessment is. For further details contact orla@aspireplus.ie

 

Referral Process

We accept referrals directly from parent’s legal representatives, by way of Court Orders.

When making a referral for a Section 32 report, the following requirements must be completed before a family can be allocated an assessor:

  • A brief joint letter of instruction, outlining the relevant background and the issues to be addressed
  • Copies of all relevant affadavits, previous assessments, and the most recent Court Order
  • Signed GDPR consent form
  • Completed parent/guardian questionnaire

At the point of referral, we will match an assessor from our panel, who is most suited to your requirements. We will ensure that the report is delivered within 8-12 weeks, depending on the nature of the assessment required.

Please note reports can only be released upon receipt of payment. A fee structure will be forwarded to you, following receipt of enquiry/referral.

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