Draft bill’s contact clause is under fire

Proposals to improve contact arrangements between children and
parents would be implemented too long after a separation,
Barnardo’s has warned.

The children’s charity said the draft Children (Contact) and
Adoption Bill should focus more on preventive work and managing the
separation process rather than court sanctions.

The bill would give judges the authority to direct parents in a
contact case to parenting programmes and, where necessary, to
enforce contact orders.

Barnardo’s policy officer, Alan Coombe, said: “By the time adults
are in court, people have become entrenched. What is needed is a
systematic set of services that is available earlier in the

In cases of suspected domestic violence, contact should be
supervised while investigations take place, he added.

Research by Women’s Aid last year found that 29 children had been
killed in England and Wales as a result of contact arrangements
since 1994.

Examination of the draft bill by a joint parliamentary committee
begins this week.

  • To submit evidence write to ccabill@parliament.uk

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