Access Programme

The supervised access/contact programme at the Bessborough Centre is an internationally accredited service having gained NACCC accreditation in 2014. This unique service provides a state-of-the-art child contact centre to support children to have contact with their parents, siblings and other family members. The programme also facilitates private access referrals and arrangements as well as referrals from the Social Services.

What is the Access Programme?

When parents separate, access visits with children may be a problem or there may be concerns about access visits. The Supervised Access Programme offers separated families a way to deal with some of these problems. Particularly access needs to be supervised when there is a perceived or potential risk to the child.

The programme provides a setting where visits and exchanges can take place under the supervision of trained staff. This programme also facilitates court directed supervised access where a social services’ risk assessment indicates that this is necessary to ensure the well-being and safety of a child while having contact with a parent or relative.

The programme conducted is NACCC accredited and is led by qualified professionals in a neutral and pleasant environment. Our experienced staff are under the supervision of senior management including a Senior Clinical Psychologist.

The aims of the programme are to:

  • Ensure the safety and welfare of children during access.
  • Enable children to maintain relationships with their family through safe and professionally monitored contact visits.
  • To provide assessment reports on the quality and progression of access visits when Court directed.
  • Support the Social Services in their statutory duty towards children while they are in the care of the HSE and under Court direction.
  • Act therapeutically to promote and strengthen family relationships.
  • To progress the access from supervised in the Centre to unsupervised in the community. To achieve this goal access will be offered on a sessional basis (6 sessions a minimum) and reviewed regularly.

Children and parents are welcomed into safe, welcoming and neutral surroundings at the Bessborough family access centre. The visits are very discreet and private while professionally directed supervision and observations are conducted and confidential reports provided.


Referrals to the programme at the moment are through Social Workers.

Each adult participant must complete an intake interview and agree to follow the Centre policies and procedures before using the service. All services are pre-arranged.

Currently, the Bessborough Access Programme provides three access rooms equipped with toys and materials to support and encourage positive and meaningful interaction. Observation rooms, whereby contact sessions are monitored through the use of a one-way mirror and microphone system, are also available along with an enclosed outdoor play area. If appropriate access may be supervised in other settings.

Other Services

Services such as Parenting Capacity Assessments, Psychometric Assessments and Risk Assessments may be availed of while attending the programme at the Bessborough Centre.

Are there Costs Involved?

The Supervised Access Programme is provided by the Bessborough Centre which is a not-for-profit organisation. A service level agreement is in place with Tusla for the provision of services. Reports can be prepared for the parties and legal counsel upon request at an additional fee.

Staff Team

The staff team includes Psychologists, Psychotherapists, social care professionals and social workers.

For more information please contact Jonathan Horgan at 

You can download our Supervised Access PDF