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Child Contact Centre Reopens

Services for separated families at Milli's, which closed in January, are resuming - but with a plea for more volunteers to keep them running.

The child contact centre shut after 23 years, blaming new regulations from the Jersey Care Commission.

The charity says that the standards being imposed made it 'impossible to do any work'.

"The situation is untenable as the regulations enforce an operating structure upon us that effectively makes us a government service, disrupting the separation and independence that is necessary for the operation of a child contact centre."

The Jersey Care Commission - which regulates and inspects services - refuted that.  In a statement in January it said;

"All of the providers of care were consulted prior to the implementation of the new standards and we have met with Milli’s to develop with them the standards they are required to meet, which we believe are achievable and appropriate. The new standards are required in supervised and supported centres.  Our priority in implementing standards for children's social care services is the safety and wellbeing of the children involved. "

Milli's Separated Families Centre  provides a place where parents who have split up can have contact with their child when there is no other workable option.

Its website described it as offering 'warm comfortable atmosphere for both children and parents, where parenting is child centred.'

Bosses now say they will trial the new standards for a six month period.

"The volume of supportive messages we have received over the recent weeks proves that there is a great need for a Child Contact Centre.

It is an unfortunate fact that the standards will negatively affect our work but for the sake of the children and those that need the service the volunteers will, as they always have, go above and beyond while we attempt to continue our work to these standards."

Co-ordinator Denise Carrol believes the new requirements remain too onerous, and says she will need to find more volunteers:

"If during that six months, my volunteers decide 'No, I've had enough, I am just going to walk away', I am going to be left with no volunteers.  Without volunteers the service will not function.  And the more volunteers we have, the easier the increased workload will be for everybody."

Anyone able to offer their time on a Sunday morning every three weeks should contact the centre.

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