Helping children to keep in touch with family

Our Post Box service helps keep children in touch with parents or other family members who they don’t see or see infrequently. It removes the need for individual family members to share their postal or email addresses, land-line or mobile telephone numbers with all correspondence between the child and other family members being sent via RSB’s Post Box. This can be letters, cards, emails, photographs or texts.

Who can use the service

The service is primarily for parents and other family members where it is felt that there is a significant risk of personal details being misused by others. It may be useful in cases where interdicts are in place which prevent parents having face to face or other contact with each other or in cases where there is significant family conflict, lack of trust or communication breakdown.

The service can be used for a short period as a temporary measure to bridge the gap while more permanent contact arrangements are being worked out or for a longer period, where felt necessary.

How it works

All potential users will have either a face-to-face meeting or a telephone appointment with the Family Support Worker to discuss the use of the Post Box service and to set in place arrangements for use. Users do not have to meet each other in order to set up the service. Arrangements will be made on an individual basis for each family and particularly to suit the child’s individual needs and level of understanding. Depending on the age of the child, they may decide that they do not wish to take part and their wishes will be taken into account. Similarly, a child may wish to stop Post box contact at any time and this would be discussed with the Resident parent. Once agreed, a Post Box Arrangements Schedule will be drawn up.

All users will be given a postal/email/text number, as appropriate, to which they should address their correspondence, as per the Schedule. In the case of electronic correspondence, only messages from the pre-arranged email addresses or mobile phone numbers will be accepted. Depending on the age of the child, correspondence may have to be sent adult to adult. RSB will open and check all correspondence for appropriateness and to ensure that it adheres to the Schedule before passing it on.

Anything which RSB staff believes could cause the child to worry or become distressed will be discussed with the resident parent before it is forwarded to the child.

In certain circumstances, correspondence may be returned to the sender. In such circumstances, RSB will provide a reason for the return of the correspondence and the Family Support Worker may offer a meeting to discuss this further.

What the Post Box cannot provide

Post Box contact is for sharing information and keeping in touch. It cannot be used for the exchanging of gifts or money. We cannot store correspondence or photos. Any which are not accepted by the recipient will be returned to the sender.

RSB’s Post Box is not for urgent communications and families should ensure that they have other means of passing information in the case of emergencies.

Using the Service

Referrals will be accepted from the courts, solicitors and social workers. Referrals may also be accepted from health professionals and other relevant statutory and voluntary agencies. However, RSB will only provide the service if it is felt that family members are at risk by sharing contact details or it would cause significant distress to do so.

If you are interested in using this service, speak to you solicitor or contact us directly to discuss.

This service is free to users but we do ask clients to contribute towards the service they receive, if they can afford to do so. See our fees and contributions page.

RSB will not undertake the Post Box service for families where a court has decided that there should be no contact or we are advised by solicitors or social workers that contact is not appropriate.