Whether or not the child is looked after, they should be able to stay in touch with their parents, their brothers and sisters, and other people who are important to them. The word used for staying in touch is contact. Even if the social worker doesn’t agree that the child is looked after, you could still ask them to help arrange contact. You should think about how to make sure that the child is safe and feels secure when they are having contact.
You may want to write down an agreement with the parents (or others) about contact. This agreement could state:
- What sort of contact there will be: face-to-face, telephone, greeting cards, email, Facebook, or any other form of contact;
- Where contact will take place;
- How often it will take place, on what days, at what time, and how long it will last;
- What will happen if you or the parents (or others) are late for contact;
- Who will be there;
- Whether the contact will be formally supervised;
- What you or the parents (or others) should do if you cannot keep to the arrangement;
- Whether the contact will be rearranged if it does not take place;
- How any changes to the arrangement will be discussed;
- How any disagreements about contact will be resolved;
- Whether the arrangement will be reviewed, and if so when;
- How you and the parents (or others) ought to behave in contact, for example not arguing in the contact meeting; and
- Anything that should not happen during contact, for example no one should be drunk or under the influence of drugs, or scare the children.
If you think it would not be safe for the child to have contact, you should talk to the social worker about it. You cannot make the decision for a child not to have contact with their parents.