Family Buddies is a privately operated Child Contact Services (CCS) provider, and an affiliated member of the Australian Children’s Contact Services Association Inc.
Family Buddies delivers specialist family services designed to provide a safe setting for children to spend time with the parent they do not live with, and/or to facilitate changeover and change back of children between parents at a neutral and family-friendly venue.
Facilitated changeover permits spend time arrangements to occur without the parents having to have direct contact with each other.
As a privately-operated service we also provide supervised visitation in public areas, for example, parks, playgrounds, play café’s and shopping centres. Most sessions range between 3 to 4 hours. However, we can tailor the session to meet the age and needs of the child/ren.
Our primary objective is to provide the practical means by which children can continue to know both parents and have contact with each parent when the parents are unable to ‘self-manage.’ A majority of clients that use our services are involved, or have been involved, in a parenting dispute in Court.
Our services may also be used as part of an early intervention strategy alongside family mediation (known as ”family dispute resolution”) before either parent starts a court case.
Other key objectives of Family Buddies are:
A family may turn to Family Buddies when a court orders a parent to have supervised contact with a Children’s Contact Services (CCS) provider such as Family Buddies, or the parents both agree to use a CCS such as Family Buddies.
However, Family Buddies must first assess whether the family is “suitable” to use our services.
Parents are taken through an intake process that involves a separate interview with each parent and the identification of any risk factors associated with their situation. Risk factors may include drug or alcohol use, history of violence including family violence, capacity to take responsibility for behaviours, presence or absence of family ties and supports, and the health needs of family members.
Family Buddies may consider a family unsuitable for the service in some circumstances, for example, if:
- there are significant safety concerns for the child, either parent or our staff;
- there are no options to mitigate any risks;
- a parent is unable to take responsibility for their past behaviours, such as family violence;
- a parent is extremely critical of the other parent; or
- a parent is currently the subject of a criminal proceeding that is directly related to the child/ren.