dad and son playing

Our Services

What is family time?

Family time is when a child or children spends time with a parent or relative who no longer lives with them. Our Centre provides family time in safe and neutral surroundings, using play areas filled with a range of toys and games to make it as relaxed as possible. Family time can be either supervised (both inside and outside the Centre), maintaining, supported, handover (collection and return venue only) and indirect.

Our priority is to ensure family time is enjoyable for children and enables them to spend time with the non-resident parent away from any conflict.

What is Improving Child and Family Arrangement Service (ICFA)?

This is the name of the service designed by CAFCASS, to help families agree safe, beneficial and sustainable child arrangements when they are finding it difficult to do so on their own.  The ICFA work is short term, for private law cases only, and a referral can only be made by CAFCASS if it is Court ordered.  Please talk to your Family Court Adviser for more information, or see the leaflet below.

ICFA factsheet April 2021

What is supervised family time?

Supervised family time means that someone will always be in sight and sound of the child/ren and will monitor conversations and provide assistance or intervention if necessary.  This can take place inside or outside the Centre.  A written summary of each session will be provided to both parties.  This is a short term service and can be offered weekly, fortnightly or four-weekly for a maximum of two hours.

What is maintaining family time?

Maintaining family time is for longer term supervised and supported contact arrangements, in which Court proceedings have ended.  This is to support an existing relationship between the parent and the child (not introductory work), and where the child wants to continue to maintain contact with their parent.  We can facilitate this up to six times a year and for a maximum of two hour sessions on each occasion.  This will only take place within the Centre and not in the community.

What is supported family time?

Supported family time will take place within the Centre but a worker is not always in sight and sound of the children.

What is handover?

Our handover service is a pick up and/or drop off collection venue in order facilitate unsupervised family time.

What is our indirect/letterbox service?

This is a checking and sending service for cards, letters, emails and parcels between children and non-resident parent or relative.  We are also able to provide a supported letterbox service, whereby the child is brought to the Centre and the worker reads through the correspondence with them.

Please see our Frequently Asked Questions for current price list


Making a referral

Referrals can be made to us by parents and any other professionals involved.

  • The majority of people who have attended are happy they came and say that they felt it was helpful. Here are some quotes from people who have previously attended the course:

    I’m sure my son will be missing coming there and throwing balls all over the room as well. Thank you for making it easy and supporting everyone during this process 

    My daughter is 2 1/2 ish, never once have I seen my daughter look anything other than comfortable. Staff made what could of been uncomfortable a very easy process. Nothing negative to say. My worker was fabulous with my daughter and myself. Professional staff but also human.

    I found the atmosphere at Families Forward warm and welcoming. All the staff worked sensitively and helped contact move on to where me and my ex partner have put our differences aside and we know make our own arrangements for contact. I recommend Families Forward to any parent who finds it difficult to see their children no matter how hard it may seem.

    I opted for a couple of supervised sessions instead of the supported that had been ordered. I felt the worker had a great balance between engaging and taking a back seat. I think (the service) is spot on and I was very happy with the Covid protocol

    The biggest thank you ever for everything that you have done. You knew what to sat ay the right time. I have been guided and kept sane at times and learnt to take focus. You are all a credit to the Centre.

    I was very happy with Families Forward. My worker was great with my child

    I believe that the service Families Forward offers is 5 stars. I have been to many centres and this one by far was the best for my child. The staff were approachable, they listened to concerns, they acted in a professional manner and were very welcoming. The children’s safety and welfare was always put first.

    The service is amazing and I can’t tell you how much it helped me. Only wish you had a greater influence in Court

    “Everything was brilliant and the people were very friendly – it comes highly recommended, for sure!