Contact with parents

How to plan and manage family time contact with a child’s birth parents.

Contact refers to any kind of communication between a child and their birth parents. Some kinship carers have informal contact arrangements. Others have a legal agreement.

Changing contact arrangements

You can change contact arrangements for children. This is if you deem those changes to be in the best interests of the child or children in your care. Contact doesn’t have to be face-to-face, and could be via letter, phone or video call.

If you arrange the contact through a court order, you will need to follow the legal process to make changes. You may need to have another court hearing.

Help with contact supervision

If you feel contact needs supervision but can't do it yourself, there are several options:

  • You could ask a trusted person to supervise. This might be another family member or a safe adult known to the child.
  • You could use a contact centre or family centre. They may also be able to provide a contact supervisor. There is usually a cost associated with this. The family members involved would need to arrange the payment.

Permission from birth parents

A kinship carer with a Special Guardianship Order can make most decisions. They can do so without the parents. There are three things that they cannot do without permission. They need permission from parents to:

  • Change the child’s surname
  • Take the child out of the country for more than three months
  • Put the child up for adoption

Changing a child's school

A kinship carer with a Special Guardianship Order can decide which school children attend.

Mediation

A mediator is a person who is not on anyone’s side. They can help keep discussions focussed on what is best for the child. Mediators don’t make any decisions. Rather they try to help the adults involved come to an agreement between themselves. This approach can be useful in situations of conflict and disagreement.

Support with family time contact

The kinship team offers support. They can help with guidance, training, planning and arranging family time contact. They can also help with mediation.

We can help if you have any concerns or want to talk through your decisions. 

Help is offered whether you have a formal contact order in place or not. But, we're unable to:

  • make decisions on your behalf
  • enforce contact arrangements or agreements
  • supervise contact
  • pay for contact venues
Contact the kinship support team