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Although the importance of contact between children in care and their parents, when safe, is accepted, there is limited research about supervised face‐to‐face contact. There is no literature that has systematically critiqued how supervised contact can be best delivered. The aim of this systematic review was to evaluate the evidence for interventions aimed at improving the quality of contact visits between parents and their children who are in out‐of‐home care. Twelve studies were included in this review. Each study was graded and assigned scores according to the presence or absence of each of seven criteria. The studies demonstrated key similarities in the types of interventions provided, although delivery varied across group, individual and educational interventions. Parents reported improved capacity to manage their emotions and parents' satisfaction with the programmes was high. Although there was a lack of large scale, methodologically rigorous studies with long‐term follow‐up, some promising findings were identified: the literature indicates individual family support and group programmes have the potential to improve parent–child relationships and the quality of contact visits. This review suggests that future studies build on current evidence by addressing their methodological limitations and evaluating interventions that can be tailored to meet the needs of individual families.


Institute of Child Protection Studies

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Journal Article

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