An evaluation of the child contact service at the Togher Family Centre; the voices of the parents and experience of social workers

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Kennedy, Karina
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Community-Academic Research Links, University College Cork
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This study is concerned with detailing the experiences of parents and social workers using the child contact service at Togher Family Centre. A child contact service provides a safe, friendly and neutral place where children can spend time with their parent(s). The aim of the service is to provide a child-centred environment where parents and children can develop a positive relationship through play and age appropriate activities. A mixed method of qualitative research tools were employed. Undertaken in collaboration with Togher Family Centre staff, qualitative questionnaires were distributed to all parents attending the service, service users were requested to complete the questionnaires and return to the researcher. Four Child and Family Agency social workers participated in semi structured interviews. Using thematic analysis to interpret the data collated. A number of key findings emerged. All respondents both service users and social workers were satisfied with the service provision, highlighting the staff and elements of the facility as the most significant components of their positive experience. The study also identified the valuable resource the service provides to social workers with regard children in care cases. A number of reasons were outlined to why this was so noteworthy. There were a number of implications regarding the effectiveness of the research. The study was limited due to a number of reasons. There is a dearth of literature regarding child contact provision in Ireland and the international context. Also the lack of response form services users made it challenging to deduce the overall experience of service users. However TFC have received an insight into the experiences of their stakeholders and obtained a number of suggestions as to how they might improve their service provision.
Child contact service , Family centres , Child contact provision
Kennedy, K. (2014) An evaluation of the child contact service at the Togher Family Centre; the voices of the parents and experience of social workers. Cork: Community-Academic Research Links, University College Cork.
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©2014, Karina Kennedy.